Introduction to Gift Cards

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how can small businesses can increase sales with gift cards

Gift cards can increase revenues for your small businesses. You got that right! According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), in 2020, 65% of consumers spent more than the value of their gift card when redeeming it, resulting in increased revenue for businesses. Gift cards for small businesses are a great way to boost sales, retain existing customers while attracting new ones. They provide an easy way to attract new customers, secure upfront revenue, and foster stronger relationships with existing customers. If you’re a stakeholder for a small business and wondering if adding a gift card program for a small business would make sense, you’ve come to the right resource. This article will provide a deep dive into how gift cards can accelerate growth for small businesses.

Table of contents

5 Major Benefits of Gift Cards for Small Businesses

Gift cards offer many benefits to small businesses, including increased sales, customer acquisition, and increased brand awareness. They also improve cash flow, reduce profits and provide valuable data for marketing activities. Implementing a gift card program can be a strategic move to accelerate growth and attract new customers. Here are seven major benefits of gift cards for small businesses.

  1. Attract New Customers:

    Offering gift cards as a gifting option can help you attract new customers to your business who might not otherwise discover your products or services.
  2. Increase Brand Awareness:

    Gift cards serve as miniature advertisements for your business, helping to increase visibility and brand awareness among current and potential customers.
  3. Increase Customer Loyalty:

    Gift cards incentivize recipients to return to your store to use up their credit, fostering long-term relationships. Studies show that loyalty programs, including gift card incentives, can have a significant impact on customer loyalty and business success, with 66% of consumers more likely to shop at participating stores ( National Retail Federation ).
  4. Upsell Opportunities:

    When customers use their gift cards, they may be more willing to purchase additional items, resulting in increased sales and higher transaction values.
  5. Low-Cost Marketing:

    Gift cards are a cost-effective marketing tool that allows small businesses to promote their brand and offerings without having to run expensive advertising campaigns.

Tips for Implementing Gift Card Programs

For small businesses, launching a gift card program can open doors to new opportunities and revenue streams. However, managing the process requires strategic thinking and attention to detail. In this section, we’ll explore practical tips and strategies to help small businesses successfully implement gift card programs and reach their full potential.

  1. Clear Communication:

    Clearly communicate the terms of your gift card program to customers, including expiration dates, fees, and redemption rules, to avoid misunderstandings and disputes.
  2. User-Friendly Technology:

    Invest in user-friendly technology, such as point-of-sale systems or online platforms that allow customers and employees to easily purchase, redeem and track gift cards.
  3. Use an All-in-One Loyalty Platform for Business:

    An all-in-one loyalty network for your business makes it easy to keep customers returning. These platforms handle everything: tracking purchases, giving rewards, and keeping customers happy. Small businesses using this platform ensure customer loyalty, leading to more sales and long-term success.
  4. Education and Training:

    Trains staff to effectively facilitate and process gift card transactions, including answering common customer questions and resolving any problems.
  5. Visible Display:

    Display gift cards prominently in store and online to increase visibility and encourage impulse purchases. Use eye-catching signage and displays to grab attention and keep customers interested.
  6. Personalization Options:

    Customize rewards and incentives to meet each customer’s specific preferences and previous purchases, creating personalized experiences that suit their individual tastes. Improve the gifting process by offering gift card personalization options, such as: by choosing designs, adding personal messages and choosing packaging. These personalization options ensure that each gift is individually tailored to the recipient's tastes and preferences, making the experience even more special and memorable.
gift card
  1. Marketing and Advertising:

    Promote your gift card program through multiple channels, including social media, email marketing, and in-store signage, to reach a broader audience and generate customer interest and loyalty.
  2. Special Occasions and Events:

    Leverage special occasions and events such as holidays, birthdays or anniversaries, valentine’s day gift ideas to launch targeted promotions or themed gift card offers that match customer preferences and purchasing behavior.
  3. Customer Feedback:

    Ask customers for feedback on their experiences with your gift card program and use this information to make informed decisions and make improvements to improve the overall customer experience.
  4. Compliance and Regulation:

    Ensure compliance with laws and industry standards for gift card programs, including state laws regarding expiration dates, fees, and unused balances, to avoid potential legal issues or liability.
  5. Continuous Assessment and Optimization:

    Regularly assess the performance of your gift card program and identify areas for optimization or improvement based on sales data, customer feedback, and industry trends to maximize efficiency and profitability.

Strategies To Increase Sales With Gift Cards

Launching a gift card program is one thing, but ensuring it works well once launched is another. Even if a company offers gift cards, sometimes few people use them or are not interested in them. For what? Customers may not know how to use gift cards or when they expire. You may not even receive email reminders to use them.

Here’s how small businesses can make the most of their gift card program.

  1. Advertising Campaigns:

    Design eye-catching images and messages for your promotions.Use targeted advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Offer incentives such as ”Discount offer”.
  1. Participation in Social Networks:

    Post regularly about your gift card offers on social media platforms. Such as:- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It might help drive customer engagement through contests, surveys, and giveaways.Respond promptly to customer inquiries and comments. Learn more about,How to sell more gift cards by using Social Media Click Here.
  2. Seasonal Promotions:

    Create themed gift card designs for holidays and special occasions such as: Gift Cards for Christmas. Announce seasonal promotions via email newsletters and social media posts. Offer limited-time discounts or bonuses to encourage gift card purchases.
  1. Upselling Opportunities:

    Train your staff to sell additional products or services to customers who redeem gift cards. Offer special offers or discounts to customers who use gift cards on high-margin items. Display complementary products near gift card redemption areas.
  2. Hyper-Personalization:

    Work with a graphic designer to create customizable gift card designs that offer customers the ability to add personalized messages, enhancing their loyalty experiences. Additionally, provide packaging options tailored to suit different occasions or preferences. Customers can choose premium packaging options for special events like birthdays or weddings, further enhancing the gift-giving experience.
hyper personalization
  1. Rewards Programs:

    Integrate the use of gift cards into existing loyalty programs. Offer exclusive benefits or discounts to customers who frequently use gift cards. Clearly communicate the benefits of the rewards program to customers.
  2. Targeted Email Marketing:

    Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to segment your audience. Tailor marketing campaigns to specific audiences based on their interests and previous purchases. Use personalized email marketing and Phone calls to reach specific customer segments.

    For example, Imagine you run a clothing store. With CRM software, you can group customers who have bought women’s clothes before. Send them personalized emails about the new dresses and offer them special discounts. For those who haven’t purchased in a while, you can do this.” Follow up with “Call, remind them of the offer and suggest items they might like.” “This approach retains customers and encourages repeat purchases.

  3. Employee Training:

    Provide comprehensive training to effectively promote gift card sales.Emphasize the importance of excellent customer service in gift card transactions.Conduct role-playing exercises to simulate various customer scenarios.
  4. Comments and Analysis:

    Implement systems to collect and analyze sales data and customer feedback.Use analytics tools to track the performance of your gift card strategies. Regularly review feedback and analytics to identify areas for improvement and optimization.
  5. Cold Reach Outs:

    Cold communication like emails or phone calls helps small businesses promote gift cards to new customers. Personalized messages emphasize the convenience of gift cards, increase sales and increase awareness.

    For Example: Imagine you own a Shopify store that sells customizable gifts, including gift cards. To attract more corporate clients, reach out to companies via email or LinkedIn. Explain how your gift cards give your employees the flexibility to choose their own gifts - ideal for holiday rewards or recognition programs. Special discounts for bulk purchases are also mentioned. These personalized messages help spread the word about your gift cards and attract new corporate customers.

  6. Influencer Marketing:

    Collaborate with social media influencers to promote your gift card program. Find influencers in your niche with a large audience and connect with your target customers. Work together to create engaging content that highlights the benefits of your eGift cards. Encourage influencers to share their experiences and offer exclusive discounts to increase engagement and sales. Leveraging the social reach of influencers can help expand your small business's audience and attract new customers.
  7. Co-Marketing:

    Reach out to complementary local businesses to explore collaboration opportunities. Plan joint promotions or events that offer exclusive discounts to gift card holders. Promote collaborations through social media and email marketing. Getting more about how to increase sales using gift cards Click here.

How to Boost Customer Engagement with Gift Cards?

Gift cards aren’t just about purchases, they’re also great for driving customer loyalty. In this section, we’ll explore simple but effective strategies to get the most out of gift cards and keep customers coming back.

  1. Reward Repeat Purchases:

    Offer incentives or discounts to customers who regularly use their gift cards for purchases, encouraging repeat visits and building loyalty.
  2. Exclusive Offers and Benefits:

    Offers exclusive offers or benefits such as bonus points or special discounts to customers who participate in a loyalty program related to the use of a gift card.
  3. Referral Programs:

    Encourage existing customers to refer their friends and family by offering rewards or bonuses for successful referrals with gift cards.

    [Read more: How do I set up an eCommerce referral program? ]

  4. Tiered Reward Systems:

    Implement tiered reward systems that provide increasing benefits or privileges depending on the amount of money spent or frequency of gift card use, encouraging customers to reach higher tiers and remain loyal.
  5. Surprise and Delight Initiatives:

    Surprise loyal customers with unexpected rewards or gifts as an expression of gratitude for their continued support and patronage, strengthening emotional bonds and loyalty.
  6. Social Recognition:

    Recognize and reward loyal customers publicly on social media or other marketing channels, demonstrating their loyalty and encouraging others to follow suit.
  7. Feedback and Engagement:

    Solicit feedback from loyal customers about their experiences with your gift card program and use this information to improve and refine your offering by showing that their opinions and satisfaction are valued.
  8. Community Engagement:

    Get involved in your local community by sponsoring events or participating in charitable initiatives, and offer your loyal customers the opportunity to get involved and support important causes through the purchase of gift cards.


Incorporating a well-planned gift card program into your marketing strategy can provide significant benefits to small businesses by increasing sales and increasing customer loyalty. By leveraging the benefits of gift cards and implementing strategic initiatives, small businesses can unlock new doors to success and growth.

99 minds offers companies an easy-to-use platform to create personalized loyalty and advertising campaigns. With customizable gift cards, multi-channel delivery options, and comprehensive lifecycle management, businesses can easily manage and grow their gift card programs. The platform supports multiple currencies and locations, streamlining operations and driving customer loyalty. Whether you’re looking to attract new customers or retain existing ones, 99 Minds offers the tools to help build better brands and maintain lasting customer relationships. Book a Demo for more information.