Written by: Pravin Kamble

Ways to Incorporate Gift Cards Into Your Customer Retention Strategy

Retailers love giving gift cards to their customers, and rightly so. From increasing the average order value to improving brand awareness, it does a lot.

Boosting customer loyalty with gift cards is a sure-shot possibility. All you have to do is to have a deep understanding of your customers. Knowing their likes, dislikes, preferences, and purchasing behaviors ensures that you get the most out of a customer retention program. With competitions increasing every single day, breaking through the noise clutter is difficult. You must have a trick or two up your sleeve to retain customers. Why should they stay with your brand? This is the question you must find answer for. One of the best ways to retain customers is through gift card-based customer engagement tactics.

Retention Strategies With E-gift Cards:

Customer retention with gift cards, in other words, is the increase of customer loyalty, using gift cards. Let’s look at some of the best ways to incorporate gift cards into your customer retention strategy.

Offer Gift Cards for Loyalty Programs’ Members:

If you don’t offer a loyalty program for your eCommerce store yet, you are missing out on a lot. Loyalty rewards through gift cards are one of the easiest ways to make sure that your customers keep coming back to your store. Encourage your existing customers to rope in new customers by offering them incentives to do so. This is exactly what loyalty programs do. If there are offers on your gift card, it must be extra special for loyalty program members.

Give Great Deals for Gift Card Holders:

Gift cards, by themselves, are a great option for businesses to use as an incentive. Even if you don’t have a loyalty program in place, you can still use gift cards to increase customer retention. The simple act of offering a $20 off on a gift card value of $100 might look like bad economics at play. But the truth is that you end up attracting a customer who might have never taken up on your gift cards, if not for the offer.

Here’s why the $20 off on a $100 gift card isn’t going to affect you

  • The customers will look at gift cards as a viable option
  • Since customers will be paying in advance, your cashflow will improve
  • You will have the ability to reach out to a new audience and since the gift card comes from a loved one, there is more trust associated with your brand
  • The unspent balance on the gift card goes to you, based on the local laws and regulations
  • Gift card recipients will spend more than the value on the gift card
  • It will result in goodwill when the gift card is received for free

Resolve Complaints With Gift Cards:

It wouldn’t be too surprising to encounter customers who aren’t happy with your brand’s experience at all. It will not only result in losing a customer, but you might also end up getting exposed to social media posts and comments that tarnish your reputation. While an empathetic ear is extremely important, the only way to assuage someone’s temper would be to compensate them. The best way to do that is by offering a refund in the form of gift cards. This way, instead of letting them vent on a public portal, you get a chance to make things right. It reduces the chances of the customer leaving you for your competitor.

Win Back Inactive Customers:

If you have budget earmarked for reactivating old customers, one of the best strategies for gift card-driven retention is to offer them for free. Send them an email, or get in touch with them on social media using a personal handle, and not that of the company. Some of these customers might have forgotten about your brand, or are currently looking for solutions similar to the ones you offer. All they require is that light push, and you might have the customer again for pennies on the dollar.

Tiered Loyalty Programs:

You have different types of loyalty programs based on dissimilar characteristics. The customers get to move to the next tier by purchasing certain amount of gift cards. With each tier that they pass, the offers on the gift cards gets more interesting. This is a simple way to increase the value of gift cards on the customers’ minds while increasing the order value.

Social Media Promotions:

Leveraging social media will be one of the most effective gift-card retention tactics that you can use. You can find your audience in at least one or two social media sites. It is also an excellent way to create curiosity about your brand and the gift card program.

Let’s look at enhancing customer loyalty with gift cards using social media

  • Create user generated content that speaks about your gift cards and how customers can participate in it to get free gift cards
  • Invest in paid ads where you highlight the features of gift cards and how it can benefit the recipient
  • Collaborate with influencers to get connected to a new set of audience
  • Create a series of video content for different channels and content types
  • Start giveaways and contests to spread the word about your gift card program. Offer creative incentives to get the gift card of a reasonable value for free.

Do remember that unless your contests or giveaways offer something substantial, you will not be able to attract the right attention. There are multi-faceted benefits from gift cards, so it would be unwise to only look at its monetary value when creating a customer retention social media campaign surrounding it.

Leverage a Gift Card Software:

Setting up a gift card program for your eCommerce store by yourself can be an exhausting process. It can cost you thousands of dollars, not to mention a lot of effort and time. You can save yourself the trouble by using gift card programs for customer retention.

Here’s what a gift card software can do

  • It helps you get started within a few months. Having a drag-and-drop interface makes it easy
  • Personalize your gift cards and even automate how they are sent out
  • You can connect your gift cards to your promotional campaigns
  • It allows for seamless integration, because of which you can gather data from multiple touchpoints
  • It can offer omnichannel support, meaning that it also enhances the experience for your customers
  • They come with fraud prevention mechanisms such as custom code generation, redemption limits, card assignment mechanism, etc
  • They offer proper analytics dashboards with tracking and reporting capabilities

All the above features in your gift card marketing software can supercharge your customer retention strategy. 99minds is one of the best ways to offer loyalty rewards through gift cards.

Partner With Complementary Brands:

If you were to partner with a brand that attracts the same kind of audience, but offers different products or services, you can do a lot. Find out ways to offer attractive offers to your partner brand’s customers and vice versa. You will be able to reach out to their audience without spending a lot. It can even reduce your customer acquisition cost. It is a win-win scenario for both brands involved, including the customers.

Wrapping Up:

Gift cards and long-term customer relationships go together, especially if you have the right retention strategy. There are several ways to retain customers, but using gift cards for customer loyalty or including gift cards in customer retention plans shouldn’t be a surprise.

If you want to incorporate a gift card program into your eCommerce store, the 99minds team would be happy to help you out. Get in touch with us and we will assist in creating the perfect customer retention strategy usign gift cards.