Building an omnichannel system means creating a seamless shopping experience for customers, no matter what, where and how they buy. Being just a small piece of the whole system, Gift Card is often overlooked. However, as more and more customers choose gift cards for holiday gifting, you are missing out many income streams and precious opportunities to understand your customers better if you can’t streamline the gift card process for them.
Need for Seamless Gift Card Process
Gift Cards is still the most popular choice for holiday season gifting over the current years because they’re easy to purchase and allow the recipients to choose what they want. The gift givers no longer have to spend hours thinking what they should buy and then disappointingly find out that the recipients don’t want or need it.
Young customers (aged 18 - 35), the main group of retail now, also state that they spend more and more on gift cards. When buying gifts for others, they emphasize that they want the gifts to be “meaningful and relevant”. A gift card realize this wish as they can leave the choice of gift to the recipient’s taste and discretion. Also, for a generation communicating through the Internet mainly, gift cards are very convenient as they can purchase it online and send it via email immediately to the recipients.
The demand for gift cards grows and so does the demand for a seamless gift card process. It is important for both gift givers and recipients to know that they can purchase and redeem their gift cards both online and in stores. In short, they need a omnichannel experience with gift card.
Bring Omnichannel to Gift Cards
Despite such need, The 2017 Merchant Gift Card E-Commerce Evaluation Report shows that the vast majority of merchants hasn’t streamlined the process of buying and redeeming gift cards in all of their available channels for the customers yet.
One of the major blocks preventing merchants from going omnichannel is technology. Most merchants still think of omnichannel systems as “expensive and complicated”.
Luckily, with the recent advances in retail technology for both online and offline sales, this ideal is now within reach for merchants at reasonable cost. For online, if you own a Magento webstore, you can install Gift Cards extension to start selling e-gift cards. If you use Magento Enterprise Edition, there are 3 kinds of gift card integrated already in it, including virtual gift cards sent by email, physical gift cards, and a combination of the two. Each gift card has a unique code, which can be redeemed by only one customer during checkout.
For physical stores, a Magento POS system integrated with your Gift Card extension on Magento is what you need to ensure that your customers can purchase and redeem their gift cards easily online or in person up to their preferences.
Last but not least, merchants need a report on gift card sales and redemption with the data from all channels synchronized fully. Based on that, they can track the performance of the gift cards, understand the customer behavior toward gift cards and take actions to make the most out of this profitable piece.
Benefits of omnichannel Gift Cards
Provide a seamless flow for transacting with gift cards and it’s very likely that you see a rise in the number of sales. Most customers buy more than one gift card and the happy news for merchants is they don’t ask for a promotion of gift cards. According to the survey by RGCA, 61% spend more than USD 50 on gift cards during holiday season.
It’s not only about gift card sales - the in-store sales of other items may benefit from that too. 73% of the customers will do some shopping for themselves, too and spend more than USD 20 in addition to gift cards. And the recipients tend to redeem gift cards at store so they can experience the item first, which is in fact an anchor of brick-and-mortar foot traffic. A gift card is like an invitation for the customer to visit the store in person.
Another benefit is those gift cards are an excellent and trackable source of information - merchants can use such data to understand customers better, influence their behaviors and spend patterns to drive sales.
Gift cards can be just one piece of your puzzle but if you integrate this piece rightly and fully on all the channels, it may become your winning point. If your customers can have a positive experience with gift cards (it’s a gift after all!), you stand a good chance of increasing your revenue and understanding your customers better.