Are retailers missing marketing opportunities with gift cards?
While confirming past studies about the popularity of gift cards, research from Listrak finds one major shortcoming for retailers is that they’re failing to collect the information necessary to contact gift card buyers and recipients.
According to an online survey of 2,069 adult consumers last December by Harris Poll on behalf of Listrak:
- Thirty-six percent would find it helpful if the person who gives them a gift card provides the retailer with the recipient’s e-mail address so they can learn more about the brand, receive news of discounts and new products, etc.;
- Sixty-six percent would find it helpful (29 percent very helpful) to receive a reminder from a retailer that they have not yet spent a gift card they received;
- Forty-three percent would find it helpful to receive an e-mail or text from a retailer when a recipient spends a gift card they gave.
However, according to the study, only 14 percent of those surveyed have been asked to give the recipient’s e-mail address and only seven percent the recipient’s mobile number when purchasing a gift card.
The study also suggests that gift cards can be used more widely as a marketing vehicle. Of those who have ever purchased a gift card, 26 percent have taken advantage of a “gift card with purchase” incentive to get a gift card for someone else, and even more — 34 percent — have taken advantage of the same incentive to get a gift card for themselves.
Gift card recipients are also often new customers to a store that could receive special messaging or treatment when they come in. In the survey, 58 percent agreed (23 percent strongly agree) that they like to seek out new retailers to purchase gift cards from based on the recipient’s interests and/or tastes. Some use gift cards to introduce their favorite stores to recipients.
Finally, the study identified the opportunity to make gift cards more of a year-round event. More than three quarters (77 percent) of respondents who have ever purchased a gift card agreed (35 percent strongly) that they like to purchase gift cards for occasions other than the winter holidays.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are retailers falling short when it comes to promoting and improving the gift card experience for customers? Where do you see the greatest opportunities for retailers to use gift cards to drive incremental sales?