Promoting gift cards is important. After all, as with any product in your store, if you don’t let people know it exists, they won’t think to buy it. Simply having gift cards in your catalog isn’t enough - you need to actively promote them year-round.
That being said, it likely won’t attract customers if the only promotion you feel you can do is simply “We have gift cards!”. You want to find unique promotion ideas that actually engage customers and build awareness at the same time.
And of course, it’s always good to know which promotional strategies work, right? Today we’re going to look at 3 real-life examples of gift card promotion from top Shopify brands.
#1 - The Nutr - 25% off plus free gift card
Looking for the best plant-based milk? Ditch the grocery store, and get yourself a Nutr machine. The Nutr is a super simple device you can use to create a range of different plant-based milks right in your own kitchen. And of course, if you have someone in your life that’s crazy for oat milk, or goes through almond milk like it’s water, The Nutr makes the perfect gift.
They decided to promote their gift cards over Black Friday weekend, maximizing their increased traffic to draw attention to gift cards. The offer was a combination of discounting and gift cards - 25% off orders, plus a free gift card.
So - why does this work?
First of all, it promoted gift cards at the exact right time - the weeks before the holiday season. It’s not enough to start gift card promotion when customers are already buying gifts, you ideally want them to consider gift cards from the moment they start thinking of ideas. They not only promoted early enough, but at a time where they’d have the most amount of attention on their site - Black Friday weekend.
Second, this offer gave customers a double hit of that bargain-hunting dopamine. They not only got money off a Nutr machine, they also got a bonus item. This encourages customers to engage with the deal even more than if The Nutr had offered a discount alone.
Lastly, it’s going to bring customers back to spend the gift card. Even if they don’t give the gift card to someone else, there’s a guaranteed second order in the future.
#2 - Curie - Spend $[x] Get gift card worth $[y]
Get ready to smell good and feel good with Curie’s natural body products. Founded by Sarah Moret, they’ve quickly gained a cult following for their range of deodorants, body washes, and more. Tired of chemical based bodycare, Sarah took matters into her own hands developing products that used plant-based ingredients and were completely aluminum free.
Of course, body care products are a classic gift and if you want a loved one to choose the exact right products for their needs then a gift card is the way forward.
Their offer was also launched over Black Friday weekend, focused on new customer acquisition and AOV. Their gift card promotion was simple - spend over $30 on products, receive a gift card. The offer scaled depending on how much the customer spent, so if they spent $30 they’d receive a $5 gift card, but if they spent $80 they’d receive a $20 gift card. And the results speak for themselves - Curie saw an 18% lift in AOV, and 106% increase in new customers compared to their last promotion.
So - why does this work?
As with The Nutr, Curie chose to promote gift cards ahead of the holiday season on a weekend where they’d be guaranteed increased traffic. That being said, this strategy won’t just work on BFCM - it simply illustrates the value in promoting ahead of a key sales period. For example, if your brand focuses on gift buying over Valentine’s Day, you could run a similar promotion during January as a sort of “beat the January blues” offer.
This offer also doesn’t rely on discounting any products, which can be valuable if you choose to run the promotion at a different time of year BFCM. This means that it can minimize the impact of a short-term hit on profits of individual orders. You also won’t be devaluing products, instead encouraging a higher AOV.
And finally, as with The Nutr, this offer encourages retention. It not only brings in more new customers and makes them aware of your gift cards, but those customers will also return to place a second order. They’ll get to discover how great your products are, then have a chance to return and buy more at a “discounted” price.
#3 - Pretzels.com - Buy one gift card, get one free
If you’re serious about your snacking, then you need to head over to Pretzels.com. With over 45 flavors of pretzel and more being added all the time, they’ll be able to satisfy any savory or sweet craving. From classic cinnamon sugar, to bourbon bacon jam, to birthday cake and beyond. Everyone loves getting something delicious as a gift, but with so many flavors to choose from a gift card is definitely the best option.
As for how they chose to promote their gift cards, they did so at the end of April - not near a specific holiday - for National Pretzel Day. Their offer was something we’re all familiar with - buy one, get one free. So customers could essentially get two gift cards at half price - one to use themselves, and one to give to a friend to spread the pretzel love. Over the promotional period, we witnessed a huge uptick in the number of gift card orders being processed by Pretzels.com indicating that their customers were loving their promotion.
So - why does this work?
Both our previous examples had promotions which ran over Black Friday weekend, and here we have a perfect example of how to promote gift cards year-round. Pretzels.com aligned their promotion with something relevant to their brand, National Pretzel Day. This gave them ample opportunity to promote across different channels, in a way that makes sense to their customers rather than just a “random” promotion for no reason.
The other major benefit of this offer is the opportunity to acquire more than one customer. The original customer may be an existing one, but there is the potential that they or the person they give their free gift card to may be brand new. You don’t just have one customer with one gift card to spend, you have two. Much the same as the customer gets a 2-for-1 deal, you do too!
It can be tricky figuring out how to promote gift cards. They’re not quite the same as promoting a product, and they’re largely situational. However, by running interesting promotions involving gift cards, you can not only promote awareness of them, but also encourage customers to actually get experience using them. In the long run, customers will have a stronger memory of your gift cards so when it comes time for them to purchase a gift those gift cards will be at the front of their minds.