3 Proven Ways to Sell More Gift Cards Even When You’re Not Amazon

By Ari
August 04, 2018
7 Minutes Read

When you’re a small eCommerce store, sometimes it feels like Amazon is breathing down your neck.

It doesn’t matter if you sell sports apparel, beeswax candles or coffee beans – Amazon sells it too. Along with 562,382,291 other products.

It feels like a tremendous challenge to compete: to get customers to buy your products and even more so, your gift cards.
After all, why would someone buy your store’s gift card when they could give their loved one a larger, more versatile range of choices by gifting them an Amazon gift card?

We’ll tell you why. And we’ll tell you how to tell your customers, too.

It’s not pie-in-the-sky. We’ve seen it happen for stores who know how to do it right.
One of the most recent examples we witnessed was a client in the health and wellness field whose gift card sales have risen to 30% of their monthly revenue!

1. Highlight the more personalized, meaningful nature of your gift cards

If you try to be everything to everybody, you’ll end up being nothing to nobody.
Diffusion naturally decreases your intensity and impact.

Take a lightbulb into the woods at night and try to light up the whole area. Not going to work.
The light will be so diffused that it won’t make a difference once you’re a meter or so away.
Take the same light power, however, and focus it into a laser pointer. You can have the same light going 20 kilometers!

Amazon is convenient.
Amazon is massive.
The mention of Amazon’s name does not usually conjure up nuanced emotions.

That’s where your store is different. It can – and probably does – mean something emotionally to your customers.
There is a personality and an experience that comes with your brand which goes way beyond the physical products you sell.

Red Bull, for example, is not just a way to get a straight shot of caffeine.
More people probably associate Red Bull with its brand personality – extreme sports and adventure – than they do with the energy drink itself.
That hierarchy is reflected on their website.
The homepage is all adventure stories; you have to look pretty hard to find anything about their company or products.

When corporations buy gift cards for tens of thousands of employees, they might prefer a generalized gift card – because you have a better shot at making the majority of people happy when there’s a huge range of choice, even if it is rather impersonal.

But when someone buys a gift for her best friend? Or for her mom? Or for her significant other? She doesn’t want to be general! She wants her gift to shout “I love you and I invested time and thought into this gift for you!”

That’s where you come in. Here’s what to do:
a. Remind your gift givers of the impact of a personalized gift

That argument we made to you just now about how gift givers want beloved recipients to feel how much they’re loved, understood and invested in? Use that same argument in your marketing – your emails, your on-site copy, everywhere!

Don’t bash Amazon (we know you might like to – but it won’t earn you points with shoppers.) Just talk about how much gifts that are tailored to your recipient enhance the recipient’s appreciation one hundredfold.

In addition, if you have invested in any sort of social effort (or have become a full blown socialpreneur) your customer and his gift recipient would be happy to know what your brand believes in and how it donates.
Make sure to emphasize your brand’s cause and how much of the gift will go toward it.

And while you’re doing that…

b. Tell them exactly who your gift card is great for

“This is THE gift card for the chocolate lover in your life.”
“This is THE gift card for the sports fanatic in your life.”
“You can’t buy a better gift for someone who loves to pamper herself!”

Kinguin did a great job of this during holiday season with this video:

Once you give a concrete example of who would be over the moon to receive your gift card, the wheels start turning in your gift givers’ minds.
Chocolate lover… oh, wow – that would be so perfect for Amy (or Marge, or Hershel).

c. Make sure your gift cards express your brand personality

Whether your card is digital or physical, it will have an appearance and imagery that accompany it.
Take advantage of that. Don’t just stick your logo on it and call it a day; use images, text and a delivery experience that expresses the velvety sweetness of chocolate, the feeling of sinking into a bubble bath in fragrances of lavender and chamomile or the roar of the fans in a crowded stadium.

Now that gift card is HOT!

2. Make your gift cards a better buy

You can offer special discounts on your gift cards that may not be comparable or available on a big marketplace like Amazon. (Even when Amazon has them, they’re not particularly easy to find.
Note their Discounted Gift Cards listing page – which only appears to have gift cards at full price. Because of that, when they do offer gift card deals, people go beserk.)

Discounted Gift Cards usually drive greater ROI than discounted products.
Gift Cards have big margins to start with, and they have great upsell potential. 72% of customers spend over the value of their Gift Card (on full price, full margin items!). Try offering these two types of gift card deals and see which one works better for your store:

a. Offer gift cards for less than their market value, like a $100 gift card for $85.

This is a great draw for a gift giver with a big heart but a tight budget. And it’s not only gift givers who will be attracted to discounted gift cards.
Plenty of customers who are eyeing your products will be happy to buy your gift cards to save money on their own purchases.

If your best friend was aching for a massage (or you were yearning for a sit in a sauna), wouldn’t this be irresistable?

And wouldn’t this be a tempting purchase for the fishing fanatic in your life? (Everyone has one of those, don’t they?)

b. Offer BOGO deals as another incentive for purchasing your gift cards.

This is perfect for the customer buying gifts for multiple people. You can even frame your offer that way: “Have a lot of people you care about? Purchase three gift cards… and get six!”

3. Keep your gift cards in sight and top of mind

There’s a lot of stuff happening on Amazon’s site. So much, in fact, that it’s a little dizzying.
Not a lot of marketing or site real estate is invested into their gift cards – understandably so.

That’s an opportunity for you. Take it.

Use as many channels as possible to remind customers about the existence of your gift cards:

a. Ensure that gift cards stand out on your website

Feature gift cards in your top navigation bar. Mention them on the homepage. When a holiday rolls around, post a special banner.

The more customers can see it, the more likely it is to sell. Below, you can see The Miami Heat store lists gift card sales as a horizontal menu item, announcing gift cards to the world right on the home page.

Similarly, iKippah includes gifts right smack dab in the middle of their horizontal menu – even before they offer their “About” page! Talk about getting down to business!

b. Feature it in your online promotions

When you send out online newsletters to your mailing list, make a pitch for your gift cards.
Keep alive the awareness that you have gift cards on your social channels, too. Post graphics of your physical gift cards since images are infinitely more effective, even on Twitter!

c. Embrace omni-channel

Sometimes it’s hard to separate the digital world from the physical world.
As a retailer, that just creates more opportunities for you.
Point of Sale is a great sales position for digital products – including your gift cards.
Place your digital gift cards in a viewable spot in your brick-and-mortar location… and see outstanding results.

All together now

Each of the above three steps can generate results on its own. If you follow all three, you’ll be a gift card sales powerhouse!

To recap:

  • Offer promotional discounts on gift cards.
  • Remind your customers about them on every channel you own.
  • And do that reminding in a way that clearly shows how your gift card will be THE best, THE most personal and THE most appreciated gift for their loved one.


Go for it!