The holiday season is here! It’s during this time that consumers start to look online for Christmas and New Year gifts for friends, family and even themselves. But shopping for gifts is easier said than done.
What should I gift them?
Would they like this gift?
Will I get the size/style right?
Will they need to return/ exchange this gift?
If you’ve ever asked yourself even one of these questions, you’re not different from your customers. And so, it’s time to make gifting simpler for them by introducing the ability of giving gifts that people actually want, from your Shopify store - Gift cards.
A thing that was previously considered impersonal, gift cards are now a go-to choice for gifting across all demographics. In fact, a study found that digital gift card sales increased by more than 100% in the month of December last year.
In this article, we’re going to start from scratch and handhold you till you’re ready to get hands on with this must-have ecommerce store addition. We’ll start by explaining what gift cards are, why your consumers want them, share examples of brands using gift cards and how to set them up on your Shopify store!
What are gift cards?
A gift card, also known as a gift voucher, is a type of prepaid stored-value money card that usually gets issued by a retailer (online or offline) to be used as an alternative to cash for making purchases from the brand.
Simply put, if you’re gifting someone a gift card worth INR 1000 for Christmas from brand ABC, they can use it to make a purchase worth the amount on that brand’s online store or at a physical retail store.
Note: Shopify gift cards is a feature that is now available on all Shopify plans. You can read more about it here.
The growth of gift cards in India
A concept that was often considered too ‘impersonal’ by Indian consumers, the demand for gift cards now is growing dramatically.
According to a study shared on Indian Retailer on online shopping patterns, consumers' gifting patterns have been shifting towards virtual gift cards. The gift card spending patterns also show that 69% of gift cards get redeemed during the first 30-40 days of their receipt.
Apart from making gifting easier for consumers, Times of India also reported retailers using gift cards to get assured business. The biggest of names in the industry like Shoppers Stop, Hidesign, Flipkart, Pepperfry and many others have started to use gift cards extensively in their sales strategy. They’re combining different sales strategies with gift cards, using tactics like offering additional discounts to motivate buyers to choose gift cards as gifts.
In fact, digital gift cards contribute 55% to business orders across various industries. And that itself is an indicator that your consumers are looking to buy gift cards!
A lot of brands on Shopify have already taken note of this and have gotten a headstart with gift cards in their stores!
Examples of stores using gift cards in India
Gift cards are great because they help your customers overcome the obstacle of not knowing the giftee's personal tastes or preferences.
Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to ask your colleague for their clothing size, for example?
To demonstrate how handy gift cards can be and how they can have applications across industries and markets, here are some examples of brands in India who have all included gift cards in their online stores:
- Headphone Zone
- Blue Tokai
- Speaking Herbs
- Disguise Cosmetics
- Heads Up For Tails
2. Headphone Zone
3. Blue Tokai
5. Speaking Herbs
6. Disguise Cosmetics
10. Heads Up For Tails
Gift cards can be used in many different ways across all categories, as you can see from the examples above.
So if we have convinced you to give your customers the option of gift vouchers instead of guessing their way through choices this holiday season, let’s look into how you can set up gift cards on your Shopify store.
How to set up gift cards on your Shopify store?
Before you can sell gift cards, you need to activate the gift card feature through your Shopify store admin.
- Log into your Shopify admin
- Go to Products > Gift cards
- Click ‘Add gift card’ product
By following the steps above, your first gift card gets created immediately, but its status is set as ‘draft’ by default. You can then make changes like giving the gift card a name, assign the amounts that people can pick from, and add a custom design and more before publishing them on your storefront.
Here’s a detailed video tutorial on how to set up gift cards on your Shopify store:
You can also follow the step-by-step guide we have created to set up, add, edit or remove gift cards here.
Now that you have gift cards set up on your Shopify store, let us tell you one more thing - just completing the setup is not enough. If you want online shoppers to buy gift cards from you, you need to market them proactively.
And we have some quick-to-execute ideas for you.
Gift card marketing ideas
The following gift card marketing ideas come from brands running successful businesses in India. Browse through them all and use the strategies that seem the best suited for you!
- Give your gift cards a unique, seasonal design
- Make them noticeable on your store
- Promote them in your email marketing campaigns
- Use social media to promote them organically
- Promote them in your email marketing campaigns
- Use SMS marketing to let subscribers know about it
- Use WhatsApp broadcast marketing
- Run ads on social media
- Run ads on the search engine
- Make them a part of your content marketing strategy
- Cross-sell gift cards across your store
- Promote them in your physical stores
Give your gift cards a unique, seasonal design
If you want people to give gift cards this season, make sure they feel festive enough. Instead of making your gift cards look plain and jaded, give them a custom design that matches your brand so that when a recipient receives them, they get a ‘branded experience’.
Here’s how Suta has designed their gift card:
Similarly, you can give your gift card design a more seasonal design. For instance, during Christmas, your gift cards could have a Christmas tree or Santa made on them.
Here’s an example of how Starbucks designs their gift cards for different occasions:
Make them noticeable on your store
You can promote them using an announcement bar or make them a part of your main navigation menu. The idea is to make them as visible as possible, so that exploring gift cards while searching for gifts on your store comes more naturally. This is an especially effective marketing strategy to implement during the festive season.
Here’s how Blue Tokai has made gift cards noticeable - by making them a part of the main navigation menu:
Use social media to promote them organically
Social media influences 71% of online purchase decisions. Use your brand accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other channels to promote the availability of gift cards on your store.
For example, you can create a carousel sharing the benefits of giving gift cards to your family. Or you can create a short video to post as an Instagram Reel showing how happy people are when they receive gift vouchers of their favourite brands.
But remember, you need to do this consistently over a period of time and not just at the last minute. Organic marketing takes time to be noticed, so start early!
Promote them in your email marketing campaigns
As an ecommerce store, we’re sure you’re sending out regular newsletters to promote discounts, deals, offers and new products on email. Give your gift cards a place in your email content as well, promoting them during the holiday season. Ensure you add them visibly with a section dedicated to them so that they don’t go unnoticed.
You could even set up a separate email marketing campaign for it!
Here’s how Roxy promotes their gift cards:
Use SMS marketing to let subscribers know about it
With an average 98% open rate on SMS campaigns, it’s a channel you don’t want to miss while promoting gift cards. Create a separate SMS marketing campaign that is focused on promoting the benefits of your gift cards, or combine a discount with it to encourage their purchase.
This Christmas, give your friends and family the gifts they really want with our GIFT CARDS. Also get an exclusive 10% off on purchases made via gift vouchers. Get them here: shop.link/giftcards
Use WhatsApp broadcast marketing
Similar to SMS, WhatsApp is becoming a leading channel for brands to promote their deals and discounts. Don’t leave out your gift cards from the strategy and create a WhatsApp broadcast marketing campaign to promote them.
This Christmas, give your friends and family the gift they really want (and love) with our GIFT CARDS. 🎄
Get an exclusive 10% off on purchases made via gift vouchers until December 31, 2021. 🎁
Get them here: shop.link/giftcards
Run ads on social media
There are thousands of posts being made on social media every day. While organic strategies are great, we also recommend running a few ads to promote your gift cards so that you can get them noticed faster.
You can use the social media posts you make for organic reach as ads. Simply boost the post to help it reach more people that match your audience.
Run ads on the search engine
About 68% of online shopping journeys start from the search engine. Getting your gift cards to rank immediately is nearly impossible, owing to the number of businesses now focusing on SEO. But you can become a part of the search results by running search ads on your gift card pages. Don’t forget to use a compelling copy to drive traffic to your store!
Here’s how some businesses are promoting their gift cards on search engines:
Make them a part of your content marketing strategy
If you’re a DTC brand that has been leveraging content marketing to educate buyers and help them make informed purchase decisions, it’s time to bring in gift cards too. The number of searches around ‘christmas gift ideas’ and ‘new year gift ideas’ increase during this period; to cash in on the same, create content that addresses these queries, smartly placing your gift cards as the best choice this season!
Cross-sell gift cards across your store
A number of online shoppers will come to your store seeking specific products for themselves. But that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce them to your gift cards. Place gift cards as product recommendations on your product page and cart page, with a clever message like ‘while you’re at it, give your loved ones a little something too’.
Promote them in your physical stores
This is the one season a lot of us like to step out as well to buy decor and gift items. If you have a physical or a popup store, make sure you promote your gift cards there as well. You can create banners or encourage your salespeople to let walk-ins know about the gift cards available on your online store.
In fact, go one step further and let them purchase gift cards from your online store while they’re at the physical one!
Should you enable gift cards on your Shopify store?
Consumer purchase behaviour has evolved dramatically over the years. The pandemic for instance has emphasised on the importance of making meaningful purchases, and gifting is a part of the same.
This is why we believe gift cards are a must in your holiday marketing strategy!
Don’t wait, and help your customers give meaningful gifts this season with gift cards.