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GUEST COMMENT Five eGift card tactics for retailers to drive Christmas shopping revenue

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GUEST COMMENT Five eGift card tactics for retailers to drive Christmas shopping revenue
GUEST COMMENT Five eGift card tactics for retailers to drive Christmas shopping revenue
by David Stone

 

The gift voucher, gift card and stored value solutions market is big business in the UK, worth around £4bn per year according to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association. This billion pound market is currently moving into the digital sphere, with the eGift card concept arriving in the UK following rapid adoption by retailers in the US.

 

CashStar continues to study the impact eGift cards have had on the US market. Recent research we conducted found that more than 98 million Americans (42%) have given or received an eGift card. For the upcoming Christmas holiday, 17% of US gift card purchasers plan to give an eGift card. These percentages indicate a substantial proportion of the population and retailers should be aware of the massive potential in revenue that could be gained from implementing an eGift card campaign.

 

Compared to buyers of plastic gift cards, eGifters purchase four times more gift cards, each of which have face values up to 50% higher than the average plastic card purchases, resulting in an average of six times higher spend than plastic gift card purchasers. With online shopping increasing around 3.3% per year and a 79% growth in purchases via mobile from 2011 to 2012, the eGift card market is one of the key areas UK retailers can harness for growth.

 

Here are five top tips for driving incremental revenue with eGifting.

Deliver in an instant

In the US, our research has found that 128 million consumers will shop elsewhere if they are made to wait more than a day to receive their gift card. eGift cards can be delivered in seconds and retailers that offer them can capitalise on consumer procrastination by undertaking marketing campaigns focussed on this advantage. Coming up to Christmas we noticed our retail clients using headlines such as ‘Last-minute gifts’ and ‘Never too late’ to promote eGift cards, which proved to be hugely successful as they offer customers the eleventh-hour solution they’re looking for, particularly when shipping a physical gift or plastic card would not arrive in time.

Get personal

Customers love to personalise their gifts, especially gift cards. It takes away the impersonal perception that often comes with giving or receiving a gift card. By offering personalisation, such as letting consumers upload photos and videos and add unique messages to their eGift cards, retailers are capturing the vast number of consumers who would continue shopping elsewhere in search of ways to add a personal touch.

Go mobile

With the rise of tablet and smart phone shopping, your eGift card solution should not neglect mobile. Look for an eGift card solution that is optimised for mobile purchases, meaning the user interface is designed for small screens and ease of purchase with minimal clicks. Of the more than 250 retailers we work with in the US, those whose eGift Card web site is optimised for mobile have seen 3,700% more sales from mobile devices this year than retailers whose sites are not mobile-optimised.  Mobile also offers exciting opportunities to drive in-store traffic and accelerate redemption once a gift card is purchased. For example, Apple’s Passbook app, which is now in place on over 200m iPhones and iPod Touches worldwide, notifies users when they are in the proximity of a retailer for which they have an eGift card.

Be fast, easy and convenient

Our research has shown that over half of consumers will abandon their order if they are faced with too many screens or forms. Customers shop online for convenience and this must always be remembered by retailers. Keeping your eGift card buying process to a maximum of one to two screens will reduce drop-off rates substantially. Retailers must be able to offer consumers the ability to make a purchase wherever it is most convenient for them, be it online, in store or on mobile. Redemption of eGift cards should also be easy and retailers should consider implementing an infrastructure which supports mobile gift card redemption in stores for a more seamless cross-channel experience.

Promote eGifting

In the US, we have witnessed that persistent placement of eGift card promotion drives growth. In the run up to Christmas, in particular, retailers can create a sense of urgency that will drive demand for instant eGift cards. For example, targeted campaigns on social media with messages like “ONLY five days to go...” and “Have your gift delivered INSTANTLY” allow retailers to make sales that they would otherwise lose if the purchase relied on impossible or expensive physical delivery by a certain date.

David Stone is chief executive of CashStar
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