6 Ways You Can Use Gift Cards to Improve Customer Loyalty
Ever heard the saying that customers are like teeth. If you don’t take care of them, they go away – one by one.
Kudos! You’ve done a great job at customer acquisition. You’ve spent plenty of annual budgets, effort and time to do so.
Now, the bigger step is to retain your hard-earned customer. Sustainability in a business is derived through customer retention.
As per a Bain & Company insight, an increase of 5% in customer retention leads to considerable profits by 25%-95%.
Customer retention is usually more cost-effective than customer acquisition as it is almost 6-7 times cheaper. But having read this statistic, don’t sit down. Retaining the customer involves creating firm and steady customer loyalty through dynamic, creative and strategic planning.
Establishing the bond of trust and loyalty between the customer and brand is kaleidoscopic in nature. It involves offering valuable incentives to your customers. If you think it through, everyone loves a useful gift.
And how do you give a useful gift to your customer?
The truth is that you can never pinpoint what exactly does your customer need. However, an e gift card which can be redeemed to purchase what is of use to them helps build brand loyalty. The customer remains encouraged to stay connected with your brand to earn the gift cards.
Going forward, he purchases items of value and use. It subtly reminds him that the brand helped him get him his item of value. There you go – your brand has successfully made a place in his heart and he will keep coming back to you.
In a research study by U.S. Prepaid Consumer Insights, 68% of customers stated gift cards to be their most preferred incentive type – even above bonuses and coupons.
So, how exactly can gift cards be used? Let’s dive in to find out the proven ways.
1. Begin by delivering a human touch to gift cards
Gift cards need to hold a human touch. They need to deliver a human experience in order to be memorable and useful for the customer. There are a few points to ensure this.
– Duration Matters. Gift cards need to be convenient. Short redeemable windows (say, 1 month validity) actually add pressure onto the customer to redeem it. Gift cards with longer validity (say, 1 year) deliver more convenience and help the customer to buy an item of genuine use.
– Date matters. The occasion to hand over a gift card needs to matter to the customer. Is it an anniversary, or a promotion?
– Digital geography matters. Widely-accepted gift cards across multiple retail outlets offer variety to the customer. We all love to see many options before making our final purchase, isn’t it?
For instance, UNIQGIFT E vouchers Singapore are not only accepted in over 450 retail outlets but also extremely simple to use.
2. Gifting on seasons and festivals strikes chords
Remember when you and your entire family wore matching Christmas sweaters? Or, when you and your sister got all decked up for that Black Friday sale or Singapore Day Sale.
Plugging e-gift cards into customer loyalty programs has to hit the bull’s emotion and not the bull’s eye. We all are engrossed in work every day. Festivals and seasons encourage us to meet our loved ones and celebrate moments together. The end result – we end up creating beautiful and lasting memories.
Handing out fun and useful gift cards on such occasions can leave a lasting memory in the customer’s mind. It helps instil customer engagement with the brand.
Offering e-gift cards on their anniversaries and birthdays is a way to make it memorable. Pick gift cards that cover a wide range of retail outlets.
In addition, there are sports’ seasons right from World Cups Finals to opening games.
These create a lot of fanfare among customers. Giving out gift cards linked to these events helps fans identify with the brand.
Also during season time, corporates tend to earn discounts from the purchase of bulk online vouchers for their staff.
3. Design the ‘best’ deal that is too irresistible to ignore
In just about every category, customers have a myriad of options to pick from. Complementing gift cards along with other incentives sends the message that ‘this is the best deal you could get.’
So, how to give the best deal?
• Make it large. Club gift vouchers with discount coupons, promo codes or reward points. Sephora has done this in the past. This is viewed as a wholesome bumper discount by your customer.
• Design touchpoints wherein they can redeem a higher percentage. Say, redeeming an extra 15% if the gift card is swiped in the physical store.
4. Expansion of customer base through partnerships
Sealing on a mutually-beneficial association is a win-win. Subaru gave $100 Merrell gift cards to all those who took a test drive of the Subaru. This led to drive traffic to Subaru’s dealerships.
Partnering with similar-sized (non-competing) brands can work beneficial in two ways:
– Giving gift cards to the other brand can help expand the customer base for both.
– Cross-promotion can help achieve discounted prices for customers.
The end result – everyone wins.
Another indirect route is through Amazon. The Amazon Incentives Program provides gift cards. If your brand is on Amazon, this can be a brownie of a benefit.
It is no surprise that online traffic has globally surged with social distancing and lockdown norms. People are constantly active on their social media accounts.
This makes it the best time to run contests and expand your fan base. Contest rules can ask people to use the campaign hashtag as well as follow the brand page.
And using gift cards as rewards for the winners will go a long way.
You’ve digitally earned new followers who are connected to your brand. You can constantly share new updates, products and services with them.
6. Say sorry with a ‘gift card’
Customer complaints are a part and parcel. Resolving issues, doubts and complaints are the core strength of every brand’s customer service.
Going a step further by giving a gift card to apologise for the inconvenience caused makes your customer realise that – mistakes happen. The important part is that your brand did its best to resolve it.
Last but not the least, it is important to know that e vouchers have more power than ever. With people spending a lot of time at home and avoiding gatherings, digital gift cards deliver convenience. The customer can make a purchase simply by a few clicks.
After all, delivering convenience is a brand’s key element to establish customer loyalty and retention.