When the holiday season comes rolling around, you can bet on seeing gift cards come flying off the shelf. While some might debate the merits of a gift card as an actual gift and not the "lazy" choice, it's hard to deny that these little pieces of plastic can pack a major sales punch – if you know what you're doing. If you're still on the fence about gift cards, now is a great time to look at what goes into ordering or printing your own, as well as a few simple strategies that can really help put your cards over the top the next time you fill up a counter or shelf display.
Getting off on the Right Foot
First off, there's a lot more to gift cards than you might think. Aside from the "exchange it for goods" concept that ties all cards together, gift cards can come in a variety of shapes and forms. If your business is a single storefront, then it's pretty easy to stick with a card that only works at your location. However, franchises and affiliated organizations have a path that's a little trickier to navigate. If that describes your situation, check up on all the corporate rules and regulations for printing cards – like whether you can make them redeemable at your location only – before you get into the gift card business.
Cutting down on the Card Printing Cost
Once you've got all the fine print laid out, actually making cards comes next. While you might think this is the easiest part of the process, there are actually plenty of hurdles to overcome before you can start stocking up on cards. The main obstacle? The cost of ordering gift cards from a printing service. If you choose to go this route, expect to dish out $1 to $3.50 per cardunless your order total jumps into the thousands.
If that doesn't sound like it will go well with your bank account, there's actually an easier way to create cards. Making them in-house with a card production station not only trades this reoccurring red ink on your income sheets for a single upfront cost, it also gives you the power to make as many or as few as you need at a time. If you're storeroom can't hold pallets of extra gift cards shipped in all at once, this as-you-go option definitely has some serious upside.
Taking Your Cards to the Next Level
Aside from letting you stay in control of quantity, going with the in-house plan also lets you stay on top of the creative side of making your cards. With a little flexibility and a card production station that prints out new cards quickly, you can enact some clever strategies that can help boost cards sales by quite a bit. For instance, instead of turning off customers that don't like fixed amount cards, you can print out new selections that fit the exact amount requested and snag some sales that would otherwise walk out the door unsatisfied. Adding in a little marketing effort, like in-store signage, also helps get the word out on your custom gift cards, rounding out the process and guaranteeing that these sales tools, when pulled off right, are a great addition to your store's plans.