How to triple your holiday gift card sales

Monday, November 29, 2021
Source: First Data

These stats make it easy to see why gift cards are good for business. They’re an easy, near-failsafe gift option, and they’re all but guaranteed to boost sales by attracting repeat and even new customers in the new year. But so many business owners overlook them as a strong revenue driver and customer acquisition tool. This holiday season, do more than just pull them out when someone asks — supercharge your gift card program. Let’s dive into how you can increase gift card sales with some of the following tactics:

  • Overpromote instead of under

  • Increase visibility

  • Focus on design and packaging

  • Offer e-gift cards with multiple delivery options

  • Sell experiences instead of dollar amounts

  • Promote through giveaways

  • Hold limited-time promotions

  • Create a goal and incentivize staff

Send gift card-focused email marketing

Don’t just mention that you offer gift certificates — dedicate a whole email newsletter (or a few!) to advertising them. Remember who and what people are struggling to shop for:

  • Teacher and bus driver gifts

  • Office gift exchanges

  • In-laws

  • Mail carriers, garbage collectors and other neighborhood service providers

  • Extended family members

  • The friend who has everything

Display gift certificates prominently

Don’t wait for your customers to ask if you sell gift cards — they should stand out front and center at the checkout or hostess area. Add eye-catching signage and make a fun gift card display to grab customers’ attention. If you’re a retailer, merchandise them with other small stocking stuffers, or if your business is a spa or salon, surround them with travel-size toiletries or accessories. This encourages customers to pick up a treat or two to accompany the gift.

Restaurateurs should keep a postcard in their bill folders advertising gift cards. Then it’s the last thing diners see as they’re paying, prompting them to grab one on their way out.

Don’t overlook packaging

Offer gift certificate “wrapping.” Sell your gift cards with festive envelopes, ribbons or even a mini ornament. Customers will be relieved to not have to do any additional wrapping (especially those shopping last minute), and it makes a great first impression of your business to the gift recipient.

Many ecommerce platforms also offer the option to design custom gift cards for those purchased online. Give shoppers a few template options, and add themed card designs for different holidays and special occasions.

69% of consumers believe the design is important when buying gift cards

Sell gift cards online

Online shoppers need to be able to spot where and how to purchase gift cards as soon as they land on your website, so catch their attention with a banner across the top of all pages. Give customers multiple gift card delivery options: ship by mail, print at home or email directly to the recipient. Once USPS shipping deadlines have passed, dedicate a large chunk of your website’s homepage to promoting last-minute e-gift cards.

If you sell merchandise online, it’s important to choose a point of sale (POS) that integrates with your ecommerce platform and syncs gift card data, so customers can redeem them in store or online, no matter where they were purchased.

Sell experiences

Some argue that gift cards aren’t the most personal of presents, but there’s a way to fix that. Instead of only offering dollar-amount gift certificates, create vouchers for specific services or products, like good for one manicure and pedicure, prix fixe meal for two or new coat of their choosing from a particular brand.

Host a social media giveaway

Promote gift cards on your social media channels by hosting a giveaway. Require people to like the post and tag a friend in the comments as their entry. This will help you engage your existing loyal customer base and pick up new followers at the same time! Learn more about how small businesses can grow their Instagram following.

Offer a gift card promotion

Host a week- or month-long “one to give, one to keep” promotion. Give away, for example, a $20 voucher for every $100 purchased in gift cards. Heavily advertise the end date to create a sense of urgency; chances are your customers won’t want to pass up such a great deal that they’ll stock up whether they have a recipient in mind or not. Train staff to let customers know about the promo, in addition to advertising online and through email marketing.

55% of consumers have bought a gift card based on a cash back or buy one, get one promotion

Incorporate staff incentives

Train your staff to work gift card sales into their everyday upsell strategy, then hold competitions to see who can sell the most in a week. Reward the winner with a gift card of their own. Or, create a contest that gives team members one entry into a larger prize giveaway for every $50 worth of holiday gift cards they sell.

In addition to pushing sales associates to offer gift cards during the checkout process, make sure they also know to promote them as the perfect gift option for customers who are struggling to make a decision while holiday shopping.

The bottom line

Remind customers that when they buy a gift card from you, they’re supporting a local business. Most major retail stores make it extremely easy to purchase and use gift cards online, so to compete with them, you need to make both the purchasing and redemption processes as simple and clear as possible. As much as gift givers may want to support your small business, if gift cards are difficult to find, buy, load or redeem, you’re going to lose shoppers to businesses who make the experience easier.

Heartland Gift is the tool that will help set your brand apart. Our gift card solution lets you add holiday flair with card personalization options, boost customer loyalty with reloading capabilities and make the redemption process easier for everyone with a card-not-present option. This allows customers to use their phone number as an identifier. Learn more and get set up quickly!


Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us