Did you know that gift cards are the second-most given gift by consumers in the United States?
Gift cards are also the most-wanted gift by women (but not by men).
Why are they so popular? They shift the burden of having to select a gift that the recipient might not like. Instead, the person can buy whatever they want, and even pool two or three cards together to buy one item that`s even more expensive.
Why not just give cash?
A gift card creates a perception that you can get something for free.
Giving a gift card keeps up the perception that a gift is being given, because a gift card is restricted: you can only use it at a specific store.
Cash, on the other hand, can be used to buy gas, food or other “common,” non-luxury items. Outside of Mafia-related circles, giving cash is just not as socially acceptable.
Types of Gift Cards:
Physical Gift Cards (Credit Card Sized or Paper Based)
This is a gift card that has to be mailed or delivered to the end user. For less than a dollar, you can package a gift card in a nice envelope and use first class mail to send a card to a recipient.
I recommend offering overnight or second day options as well. Make sure that the checkout process lets people know how fast gift cards are turned around and shipped — this will make a big difference in people`s purchasing decisions.
If your site is based in a few major metropolitan areas, you can also offer same-day courier delivery via bicycle messenger, and allow people to order until 10 am on December 24.
Online Gift Card (one-time code)
An online gift card doesn`t need to be physically mailed, saving a tremendous amount of expense. But even better, the code is emailed to the recipient, allowing for instant access.
The end user then has a code that can only be used once, and gives them a specific dollar amount credit with the store.
If you want to offer Gift Cards this holiday season, now is the time to get your site set up, tested and ready. Don`t wait until the last minute (leave that to your customers instead).