Friday, December 28, 2007

Gift card sales key... think tactics thru carefully

ad #1
(actual size = 2 x 2.5 inches)

ad #2
(actual size = 2.25 x 2.5)

The news accounts that retailers are banking on the combination of heavily discounted prices and purchases made via gift cards to make the holiday retail season successful is not new for 2007. While gift cards have become increasingly important to post-Christmas sales over the last few years, post-holiday discounting to boost profits and reduce inventories have become traditional staples of retailing.

Since gift cards play such an important role, many retailers are attempting to get the word out that their store is where to use the gift card (if it is a generic gift card like those from Visa and MasterCard) or now is the time to use the gift card to a particular store (since sales from gift cards are not put on the books until the cards are redeemed).

Here are two interesting promotional items regarding gift cards – both in today’s (12-28-07) newspaper.

1. Advertisements to promote the purchase of gift cards have been often seen on television, radio, newspapers, etc. during the 2007 holiday shopping season. It is easy to understand why since consumers have bought gift cards in huge (and perhaps record) numbers. However, the ad (see ad #1 above) in a twelve page insert the 12-28-07 newspaper seemed a bit late – and quite small. Promoting gift cards would seem to be more of a pre-holiday item.

2. Businesses also seek to give consumers reason to redeem gift cards soon after Christmas by using the cards at post-holiday sales. An advertisement (see ad #2 above) in an eight-page newspaper insert (on 12-28-07) told shoppers to “make your JCPenney gift card go further” by using it with the bonus coupons in the insert. It was interesting to note that this tiny notice was located on the bottom left corner of the last page of the insert… which gave key information to the consumer very late – if they saw it at all. This might have been page one material.

The upward trend for gift cards shows no indication of slowing. The properly timed implementation of carefully developed tactics related to gift cards can improve a business’ bottom line.