Back-to-school season is upon us and for a majority of merchants that means an increase in sales. According to the National Retail Federation, “Total combined planned spending for back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers is expected to reach $80.7B while the average planned spending per household is $696.70, the highest ever recorded by the NRF.” While students kiss summer goodbye, parents brace themselves and their paychecks for what the costs will be.
Whether you own a pizzeria, a clothing boutique, or provide a specific service, every small business should have a gift card program. All students are different, some need certain items or services to prepare them for the real world, class, or college. Others want items or services for their everyday living, such as coffee, groceries, or clothes. Here are three reasons having a gift card program ready for back-to-school season will ultimately benefit your small business:
Customers Buy More
If a customer receives a gift card to your store, but the product they want is more than their gift card total, they will typically pay out of pocket to cover the rest of the purchase price. According to creditcards.com, “72% of customers will spend more than the value of their card.” This is particularly useful during back-to-school season where students need specific items for school – such as art supplies, books, athletic clothes and shoes, and backpacks. If they are already in your store because of the gift card – customers are more likely to spend more and get all of the items they need.
Builds Brand Awareness
When an individual who is unfamiliar with the products and services you offer receives a gift card, they will immediately be interested in finding out about your business. Having a gift card program that personalizes the look and style of the gift cards will entice consumers to become familiar with your brand. This is a time where students are shopping more. If a recipient of a gift card to your store enjoys their experience, they will recommend to friends to shop there, too, which builds the brand even larger through word of mouth. According to SocialToaster, “Parents that bring their children with them for back-to-school shopping spend almost 33% more.” Marketing to parents that your store is gearing up for back-to-school will give them more ideas for what to provide their kids.
Creates More Touchpoints
There are a number of ways to create more touchpoints. For starters, set up a system where the receiver of the gift card has to activate the card online. From there, you can collect email addresses to put on a mailing list, which will allow you to touch base with them by sending sales updates, promotions, and special offers. This will connect students to more reasons why they should come into your business and spend their money beyond a gift card. In addition, having the gift card require activation means that customers will have to spend more time on your website, especially if they need to check balances or reload their card.
This can drive additional traffic to your site, bettering the chances that visitors will make a purchase. Bain and Company adds that, “A 5% increase in customer retention correlates with at least a 25% increase in profit.”
Beyond the touchpoints, establishing a loyalty program is bound to drive sales. Loyalty programs create greater value for the customer on the relatively inexpensive gift card. For restaurants and coffee shops, having a loyalty program is key. Students who are in college love their coffee and places to eat – create a strong loyalty program and students are bound to continue coming back and asking for more gift cards to your business.
These are just three ways that gift cards can benefit your small business during back-to-school shopping. Children of all ages are getting prepared for heading back to classes in the fall. Preparing children with the right supplies is hard work for parents, friends, and family members. Ease your customers’ pain and worry and provide a gift card option for those searching for the perfect way to send their kid back to school. Mageplaza notes that, “Global digital gift card sales are projected to hit 698.2 billion dollars in 2024.” Whether you run a retail store, restaurant, or provide specialized services, gift cards customized with your company name are a relatively inexpensive way to market your business that can more than pay for itself over time in increased sales revenue.