Making Your List? Check Your Gift Card Strategy Twice.

By Caitlin King

December 18, 2014

With Black Friday and Cyber Week behind us and Christmas only a week away, many retailers are focused on driving key promotions before shipping deadlines expire.

The United States Post Office will be delivering packages seven days a week, through Christmas Day, to make sure those presents find their way under the tree. Despite the herculean efforts of retailers and distributors to meet customers’ last minute needs, many consumers will continue to push the limit and wait to make purchases until it’s too late. To diminish the effects of foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores and pricey shipping upgrades for those last-minute shoppers, ecommerce retailers can turn to gift card promotion.

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are poised to spend more than $31 billion dollars on gift cards this year — with gift cards topping the list as the most requested gift for the eighth consecutive year. This year, electronic gift cards are increasing in popularity, allowing gift givers to immediately provide recipients with their gift via e-mail. Bankrate.com reports that fifty-nine percent of the gift cards surveyed this year are now offered in digital form. Coupled with the dramatic jump in mobile commerce during Cyber Week this year (the busiest in history), prominent digital gift card offerings and promotions become more important than ever.

So what can retailers do?

Drawing attention to gift cards on your website can be as simple as a change in navigation. Providing a link to your gift card page in a visible location on your site helps direct shoppers to a product category with universal appeal. Even a subtle change in font style or color to your typical ‘Gift Card’ icon or text can provide shoppers with a streamlined experience and eliminate frustration, particularly for those visitors who may not frequent your site during other times of the year.

If gift card offers are part of your online marketing efforts, highlight these same promotions on site for visitors who click through an e-mail, a paid search ad or an affiliate website to provide a consistent user experience. And as Christmas edges closer, remind your customers with a banner or a lightbox that it’s not too late to shop for a gift card online and send before the opening of presents begins. Finally, once the holidays have passed, be sure to prompt customers with messaging to redeem those shiny new gift cards for online merchandise in the New Year!

Gift Card illustration courtesy of Shutterstock.

Caitlin King, a former Client Success Manager at Monetate, helped her clients grow their personalization efforts and strategy on a daily basis. When she is not catching up on the latest trends in online marketing and ecommerce, you can find her running, baking or somewhere in between.

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