8 Clever Gift Card Marketing Ideas to Maximize Sales

  • By Matthew Davis
  • Nov 10, 2023
  • Customer Engagement
gift card marketing guide

Looking for a sales boost this holiday shopping season? Consider these gift card marketing strategies (at checkout, on your website, and via your email list).

Here’s why:

Gift cards are a powerful revenue generator for retailers. Especially during the holiday season, when gift card sales spike by about 115%.

So where to start? If you want to capitalize on holiday gift certificate sales, you need a solid marketing plan. Gift card marketing tactics like pre-season campaigns, social media promotions, and in-store displays can help you generate a sales lift.

Fortunately, there are tons of easy ways to advertise gift cards to your customers.

Need some inspiration? We’ve got 8 effective gift certificate promotion ideas for the holiday season (as well as a quick guide to selling gift cards in FTx POS).

Why You Should Sell Gift Cards

During the holiday shopping season, gift cards are in-demand, and customers love them for their convenience. Gift cards help holiday shoppers stay on budget, while giving a personalized gift.

Aside from their demand and convenience, however, retailers also can reap these benefits of effective gift card promotions:

  • Cash Flow – Gift cards guarantee real revenue, and it’s upfront. Not to mention, the majority of gift cards aren’t fully redeemed. On average, about 10-19% of a gift card’s value is never redeemed by shoppers.
  • Sales Driver – Gift cards help you get new and returning customers through the door. And generally, more than half will spend over the card’s balance. Another study showed that, on average, shoppers spend 59% over the card’s value.
  • Convenience – Shoppers love gift certificates, because they’re super convenient. One survey found shoppers prefer gift cards because the recipient can choose their own gift and that they’re easy to buy.

But gift cards don’t sell themselves. You have to have an effective gift certificate marketing strategy in place to generate interest and drive real sales during the holidays.

Sell More Gift Cards. FTx POS includes tools to help you manage, sell, and market gift cards. Watch a demo now!

Gift Card Marketing Ideas That Work

During the holiday season, advertise your gift certificates everywhere and be strategic. Bathroom signage, at the bottom of receipts, on social media, through your loyalty program – there are numerous channels you can use to get the word out.

Customers are busy this time of year. Strategically reminding them that you offer gift cards (and that they’re super easy to buy) will help you drive sales all season long.

Use these gift certificate marketing ideas to help maximize the effect:

1. Strategic Signage

Whether you’re using digital signage or traditional printed displays, use your signs to encourage gift card sales. You don’t have to go crazy with the design. A message at the register as simple as “Gift Cards Available Here” can be effective.

Start by following these digital signage design tips:

  • Keep it legible and easy to read – don’t try to say too much!
  • Use high-contrast colors – red and white is perfect for the holidays.
  • Incorporate your branding – your logo is enough, but also tie any message back to your brand voice. Subway uses signage that says, “A gift in really good taste” to reinforce their brand voice.
  • Use a call to action to encourage the sale.

As far as placements for signs, display your signs at the register. Keep them at eye level if possible, and you can also strategically place them on customer-facing displays.

2. Design to Sell

Rather than using the same gift cards all year long, consider a holiday-themed design. To create eye-catching looks, consider these card design tips:

  • Incorporate branded elements like your logo
  • Keep it uncluttered
  • Choose a dark background with high-contrast elements
  • Think about a two-sided design

If you can make it artful and vivid, shoppers may feel more comfortable giving your card as a gift. And generally, plastic cards perform better. Some estimates suggest they outsell paper gift certificates by 35-50%.

3. Display Your Cards

I know what you’re thinking: How can I attractively display a gift card? But here’s the thing: Product placement matters.

According to one study of grocery shoppers, 38 percent purchased an item they weren’t considering, because it was prominently displayed.

With gift cards, try these tricks:

  • Use a display rack at the register – super easy and effective.
  • Create an endcap display with signage. Here’s a great example of a retail holiday gift card display.
  • Consider the packaging of your gift cards. A premium package makes the gift more memorable and enticing to gift givers. It also offers a chance to add messaging.

Bottom line, point of sale merchandising works. Combing thoughtful signs with a display can help to drive sales and make it easier for customers to buy a gift card.

4. Start Marketing Gift Cards Early

Don’t wait to get the word out. According to the National Retail Federation, 46% of shoppers started holiday shopping before November last year. And the survey also found that 39% plan to shop earlier than they normally do in 2023.

Start your gift card marketing ASAP. Here are some ideas:

  • Try an email marketing campaign to generate awareness in early November
  • Use social media to help build awareness, and start your marketing after Halloween
  • Incorporate your in-store signage a week or two before Black Friday
  • Update your receipt marketing messages in early November
  • Then, as Black Friday approaches, you can start email and push campaigns to drive sales

By the time the holiday shopping season is in full swing, your regular customers should be aware of your gift card promotions. Then, you can start with some in-store upselling at the register to remind them and drive sales.

5. Employee Incentives for Gift Card Sales

As the holidays approach, start to incorporate upselling at the register. Encourage employees to suggest a gift card purchase to your customers.

This will help you generate awareness, as well as drive sales. And it doesn’t have to be pushy. An informative, “just a reminder, that we offer holiday gift cards,” is enough to keep it top of mind for customers.

One tip that really works: Entice your employees with upselling incentives. With FTx POS, you can add a gift card prompt to the check-out screen. This will provide your employees with a pitch to share with shoppers.

Within the POS, employees can then keep track of the number of gift card sales. And you can even offer employees a percentage of this revenue as an incentive.

6. Loyalty Integration

Network with your rewards customers to generate interest. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Reward holiday shopping – Drive seasonal sales by offering a gift card promotion to shoppers. This would be something like “Spend $X and get a $X gift certificate.”
  • Stoke sales – Although this won’t directly result in gift card sales, the holidays are perfect for re-engagement campaigns. You can use a small gift certificate promo to get loyalty customers to return. An example would be: “Shop this holiday season and save, here’s a $10 gift card to use before Christmas.”
  • Use urgency – Send push notifications. If you’re using the Loyal-n-Save app, use push notifications to get the word out about holiday gift cards. For example, as Christmas Eve approaches, you could send a last-minute gift card pitch to your audience.

7. Last-Minute Gift Card Marketing

Gift cards are the perfect last-minute gift, stocking stuffer or white elephant gift. You should have a plan in place to start marketing in mid-December for last-minute shoppers. Some options include:

  • Social media ads to drive awareness (with an option to buy online)
  • Email marketing messages with the subject line, “Last-Minute Gift Ideas from [Your Brand]”
  • Refresh your in-store holiday signage designs to add urgency (like a countdown timer)
  • Update your upsell scripts to remind customers
  • Provide special pricing for a limited time in your promotions

This works for special occasions. You can run gift card promotions around Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or around a customer’s birthday.

8. Use a Gift Card Incentive

This one isn’t designed to help you sell gift cards. Instead, it will help you stoke sales.

Offer gift cards as a reward to shoppers. For example, you could offer a $20 or $50 gift certificate when shoppers spend a targeted amount in your store. You’re rewarding holiday shoppers and helping to drive up sales.

A few tips for gift card incentive programs:

  • Get the value right – Set a value that aligns with your average item cost. For example, if you own a clothing boutique and your average item cost is $40, a $40 gift card will work much better than a $10 card.
  • Make it easy to redeem – Avoid using restrictions on the card. Make it as good as cash.
  • Get the word out – Start with marketing this to your loyalty and social media audiences. Also, strategically advertise gift card promotions on in-store signage.

Book a Demo. Schedule a demo to learn more about the gift card marketing features in FTx POS.

How to Sell Gift Cards in FTx POS

Here’s one rule to remember about gift card marketing: Make it simple. Customers want to purchase a gift card and be in and out in a couple of minutes. And your marketing messages should reflect this easy process.

But keeping it simple also means you have to make sure your staff is trained and knows how to properly ring up a gift card.

Fortunately, selling gift cards in FTx POS is simple. Here are the essential steps:

  • Type in the amount you will be adding to the gift card.
  • Then, select “Gift Card Sale”.
  • This will prompt you to enter, scan or swipe the gift card.
  • After you enter, scan or swipe the card, cash out the transaction.
  • The transaction is done.

Additionally, in FTx POS, you can check the card balance. Click “Gift Card Balance,” and then you swipe, scan or key in the gift card number. The balance will appear on the screen.

Gift Card Analytics

Within Control Center, you can see all of the active and in-active gift cards you have sold. This is helpful information to measure your gift card marketing efforts.

To navigate to gift card analytics in Control Center:

  • Select Point of Sale
  • Then, Maintenance
  • Then, Gift Cards

Here you can see gift card transactions, print reports on sales, deactivate a gift card, set an expiration date, and more. You can also manually create a gift card.

To manually add a gift card, select Add New.

You can then add a Customer Name (if the customer is in your database), add a balance, enter the card number manually, and then activate the card.

Purchasing Custom Gift Cards

We offer custom-printed scannable gift cards to our customers. Contact us now for the latest pricing.

You can add a few different options for cards, including:

  • Magnetic stripes – For card swipes at the POS terminal
  • Barcode – For easy scanning
  • QR codes – For easy scanning

Start Marketing Holiday Gift Cards Today with FTx POS

The holiday shopping season moves fast. If you aren’t ready, you can miss out on opportunities. Fortunately, FTx POS makes it easy to sell and market gift cards. Our all-in-one POS offers tools that can help, including:

  • Barcode scanning (for barcoded cards)
  • Upselling prompts with FTx Uplift
  • Digital signage and customer-facing displays
  • Digital gift cards
  • Ecommerce for selling gift cards online
  • Customer loyalty integration

Contact us now to learn how we can help you this holiday season.

Get weekly expert insights from retail strategy secrets, right to your inbox.

Business Experts & Contributors

A New Solution Coming To FasTrax

Danielle is a content writer at FTx POS. She specializes in writing about all-in-one, cutting-edge POS and business solutions that can help companies stand out. In addition to her passions for reading and writing, she also enjoys crafts and watching documentaries.

Danielle Dixon

Content Writer
A New Solution Coming To FasTrax

Matthew Davis is a content marketing specialist for FTx POS. With experience in marketing, brick-and-mortar retail, and ecommerce, Matthew enjoys writing about strategies and technology retailers can use to grow. Previously, he managed retail operations for a sports/entertainment facility and worked in marketing consulting.

Matthew Davis

SEO Specialist/Content Writer

Looking for an article or guide on a specific topic? Get in touch and we’ll dive into creating expert insights
and successful strategies tailored to business success!

Suggest A Topic

Related Articles

Learn more about this topic. See these related posts on the FTx POS blog.

Get A Free Demo

Discover the simplicity of FTx POS products and begin optimizing your daily operations today!

Schedule Now