21 Ways To Use Gift Cards In Your Store

The addition of Gift Cards to LightSpeed happened early on as the developers recognized that this was one of those ‘killer’ features that would allow their users to compete against large stores with more expensive systems. And yet, many of my clients don’t take advantage of this powerful feature.

I have to take a little bit of credit for the Gift Card feature. It was September of 2007 when I was managing a retail store and using LightSpeed to do it. We needed to have Gift Cards that Xmas and having something that integrated into LightSpeed was a major requirement. That was back in the days when LightSpeed was small. They were also called, Xsilva, back then instead of being named after the software that they produced. It was also a time when, on any given day, Dax Dasilva, the CEO and original developer of LightSpeed might just answer the phone himself. I explained to him the need for gift cards and how it would be great if we could get our own cards printed and use them with the system. Low and behold, we had the Gift Card feature in time for the holidays and that, children, is the story of how Dax saved Xmas. Well, it sure helped anyways.

Today, any store that uses LightSpeed can print their own gift cards and LightSpeed will track each one as it is sold and remember how much is stored on it. All you need to do is print cards with a special set of barcodes on the back and you can begin using them out of the box.

Did you know…

  • 93% of consumers said they intend to purchase Gift Cards within the next year
  • Birthdays and Winter Holidays are the top occasions for Gift Card giving
  • Gift Cards topped the wish lists of consumers polled by the National Retail Federation
  • 33% of Retailers believe Gift Cards are more effective than cash
  • 70% of Gift Card recipients spend 1.5 to 1.9 times the value of the card
  • Merchants who convert from paper certificates to Gift Cards sell 30-40% more
  • 15% of Gift Cards are never redeemed –this can pay for your program alone

Clients often ask me about how Gift Cards work with Web Store. While it’s not currently possible to redeem a Gift Card online, it is certainly possible to sell one online. Simply create Gift Card products of different denominations and set them to display on your Web Store. When the Web Order downloads into LightSpeed, simply sell a gift card like normal and mail it out.

It is no mistake that all the “big box” players incorporate gift cards into every aspect of their business. They make gift cards part of all newspaper ads, television and radio campaigns, in-store promotions, direct mail and email marketing campaigns, etc. They make their gift card programs part of their company culture and that is why gift cards are one of their more successful and cost-effective customer acquisition and retention tools.

Contact our office to order your gift cards today!

And without further ado, here are 21 ways to use Gift Cards in your store:

  1. Create a variety of card designs for different occasions, Standard Gift Card, Birthday, Holiday and Merchandise Return cards are a good start.
  2. Utilize card presenters/holders to present your cards in a professional manner and promote an additional sale. Strengthen your brand with custom holders, designed specifically for your business.
  3. Provide incentives all employees to sell Gift Cards.
  4. Create programs, like “Gift Card with Purchase” to drive additional visits.
  5. Utilize ReportMaster to evaluate sales and redemption rates.
  6. Never allow a gift card user to “turn in “ a card that has no monetary value on it. Add value to that card for an amount to be used on the next visit. It allows that consumer to hold the card and will drive an additional visit.
  7. Run a gift card sale during your slow month. Offer to buy one card for $50+ for someone else and get an additional $10 card for personal use. Do the same with the $100 card sale, but make the second card a $25 card.
  8. Promote your gift cards in all advertising-radio, TV, print, email marketing, text messages.
  9. Contact local organizations, schools, athletic associations – offer your gift cards loaded with $5 or $10 to be given to athletes or students who excel. You can also offer your gift card as an auction item at an organization’s event. To do this in LightSpeed, sell it to yourself and use the resulting Invoice as an expense against your taxable income.
  10. Display your gift card marketing kit (acrylic signage, displays, gift card presenters) at the locations where your customers will see them the most – this will help elicit impulse purchases and they will be more likely to purchase as gifts if they see them.
  11. Thank your customers with a promotional value loaded on the card as they checkout. This could be any amount ($5, $10) you feel worth it to entice them to come back again because they have an inherent reason (promo dollars to use) to come back to your business rather than choosing a competitor.
  12. If a new customer has been referred to you by an existing customer, thank the original customer by sending them a thank you card with a $5 or $10 Gift Card to use on their next visit. They may not have had short-term plans to come and purchase but here you are giving them a reason to return, and they will be even more likely to refer more of their friends to you especially if you send them one each time. They may come use five of them in one shot but in the meantime you have had 5 new full-paying customers who will now refer their friends. We can create your thank you mailer for you as well… just ask!
  13. Use your gift cards as promotional networking business cards with a pre-loaded $5 or $10 value on them. You could thank a vendor, contractor, business associate, etc. with a small gift card that they will appreciate and use. You are giving them a reason to choose your store and a reason to remain loyal!
  14. Use your cards as name badges for your staff. You want your customers to see them and they are always asking the staff for information. Make it your “Do you want fries with that?” question.
  15. Surprise a different loyalty member each month (one who spends a lot) by mailing them a gift card that is worth shopping dollars. Did you know that you can use the Intelligence Tool in LightSpeed to find your top customers?
  16. Spotlight an employee of the month who sells the most gift cards by giving them value on a card.
  17. Sell your cards for the holidays (Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, for example) at a discount. For example: Buy a Card for $90 and we’ll load $100 on it! You get the prepaid funds to deposit and the customer gets a great deal on a gift for someone.
  18. Did you know that you can print labels for customers with barcodes on them? Stick one to the back of a gift card and tell them to use it for your VIP club. Scanning the barcode will automatically bring up their customer information in LightSpeed the next time they come in and you can use Customer Categories to set discount levels for VIP customers.
  19. Use gift cards for merchandise returns. Unlike a credit on account, the amount is correctly recorded as a liability and won’t mess up your accounting.
  20. Implement a Mystery Card Program – Gift Card with Purchase program, but do not disclose the amount on the bonus card. Ex. Mystery Card value is between $5 and $500. Must redeem card to find out how much is on it.
  21. Gift Card Lottery – Fill a large jar with preloaded gift cards near the register to promote gift card sales. Preload all of the cards – the majority with $25 and a few with $50, $75, $100 and $500. Customers can pay $25 to select a card from the jar. To help promote the program stickers can be placed on the back of the cards with employee names. Each time a card with an employee’s name is drawn the employee receives a bonus.