One of the major contributors to recent eCommerce growth is, most likely, the ongoing popularity of gift cards, still—for the 12th straight year—the most requested holiday gift. But even the largest department stores and big box general merchandise retailers are not all taking advantage of the opportunities to improve and grow their gift card ecommerce programs. They’re missing out on opportunities to increase revenue, engage with customers where they shop and improve brand loyalty.
The gift card eCommerce research
The NAPCO Research Merchant Gift Card eCommerce Evaluation looked at 100 top merchants—from hotels to big box to grocery—scoring each on their consumer experience, digital and physical card offerings, B2B ecommerce offerings, and about 100 other unique criteria.
The good news for department stores and big box retailers? Compared to last year’s NAPCO Research report, both are showing YOY improvement, with department stores increasing their scores an average of 11 percent and general merchandise retailers increasing 5 percent. That said, with average overall scores of 55 percent and 49 percent, respectively, additional opportunities for improvement are many.
Opportunities for growth
With so much room to grow these gift card programs, where do department stores and big box general merchandise retailers go from here? As outlined in the NAPCO Research report, here are some of the primary takeaways—areas of opportunity—that apply to these retailers, as well as retailers in other verticals.
More and more, consumers are shopping across multiple channels. Make sure you’re selling gift cards wherever you sell, and that the buying experience is seamless.
Not all gift cards are gifts
Studies clearly show that consumers also buy gift cards for themselves. Make these purchases quicker and easier by allowing them to skip steps designed for gifting (adding recipient’s information, personalized messaging, etc.).
Use gift cards as a promotional tool
Capitalize on the tremendous consumer appeal of gift cards by using them as incentives to drive sales, loyalty program engagement, customer referrals—almost anything. Any marketing ideas you have can probably be supported with gift cards.
Be your own customer
Evaluate the overall experience of use of your eCommerce gift card program by testing it yourself. Go through the process and purchase cards (physical and digital) in multiple channels, using different types of payments and personalization options, then grade your brand honestly.
Don’t forget B2B
Selling gift cards in bulk to other businesses—for employee bonuses, customer gifts, etc.—is a great way to gain market share, new customers and additional revenue.
The eCommerce platform
Not all eCommerce platforms are alike. leverage gift cards and branded value to every touch point across your customer’s lifecycle.
When you work with Blackhawk Network, you have a complete end-to-end solution that will help you grow your department store or big box general merchandise retail business—and take advantage of the enormous gift card eCommerce opportunity.