This article was updated on November 30, 2022.
This holiday season, selling gift cards is all the rage. According to research by WalletHub, gift card sales are anticipated to top $189 billion by the end of 2022, a $16 billion increase from last year alone.
Gift cards are great for consumers. Who doesn’t love to receive cash to spend in a favorite store? And they’re even better for businesses. A Morning Consult study found that gift cards will be the top consumer purchase this year, with 56% planning to buy. And since 85 percent of gift cards are redeemed in the first 60 days after they’re received, selling them at your store during the holidays gives your business a nice boost in sales and helps with cash flow during the first few months of the new year.
Get valuable insights from Square experts on how to sell this holiday season.
Learn how to adapt your business
Square makes it easy to sell gift cards — whether in your brick-and-mortar location, online, or both. There’s no subscription or redemption fee to run a gift card program with Square, and you can sell, redeem, track, and reload without any additional tools (it’s all integrated in your POS). You can also work with pre-designed templates (for both physical or eGift cards) or create your own custom look.
If you’ve never offered gift cards before — or you already offer them but need some ideas to jumpstart sales — here are some gift card promotion ideas to help you sell a ton of gift cards this holiday season.
How to sell gift cards in your brick-and-mortar store or restaurant
At your brick-and-mortar location, there are plenty of opportunities to showcase and promote your gift card offerings. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use visual displays and signage: Give your gift cards pride of place next to the register to maximize gift card sales. You can set them up on hostess stands, on the pickup counter, or in window displays. You can also showcase them on your signage — places like menu boards or sidewalk signs.
- Utilize receipts: Include a callout to your gift cards on your receipts (you can add and customize that sort of customer-facing message on your Square receipts in your Dashboard).
- Go omnichannel: If you offer Square eGift cards, consider posting signs to let customers know that they can purchase those online.
- Offer a deal: Sweeten a purchase by offering a gift for the person buying the gift card. For example, “Buy a $50 gift card and get a candle for yourself” or “Buy a $25 gift card and upgrade your combo for free.” You can also offer a discount for the gift card itself, such as selling a $100 gift card for $80. Another option is to use gift cards of a smaller amount as an add-on to a purchase. For example, “Buy two large combos and get a $10 gift card.” These gifts can be perfect for those who want to add a little something special into their stocking stuffers.
- Join together: Create a gift card co-op with other local businesses to promote shopping in your community and expose your business to new customers.
- Be bold: Make gift card designs bold so they’ll stand out. Try a bright interpretation of your logo or a fun image, or purchase holiday-themed cards for the season. (For restaurants, green-and-red burgers are your friend.)
How to sell gift cards online
If you have a website, ensure your Square eGift cards are in a prominent space for shoppers to see. You might even consider adding a banner or simple pop-up message to encourage clicks and garner interest. If your website includes e-commerce, add a link to your eGift cards order page. On checkout pages for online orders or purchases, make sure you leave the option to add them to the order at the last minute. Having the option to buy them in multiple places makes them easy, low-hanging fruit. You might also create discounts and promo codes for your eGift cards.
Square customers that sell eGift cards are also added to Square’s Give and Get Local directory where consumers can look up what stores in their surrounding area sell online and in-store gift cards.
In addition to selling gift cards on your own website, you can sell them on social media — like Facebook or Instagram -— or on marketplace sites like Etsy. These sites are especially good if your own website doesn’t have e-commerce capabilities.
It’s important to be strategic about which sites make the most sense for your products, brand, and customers. When posting, ensure your gift cards get visibility in relevant searches by tagging your ad with keywords and phrases (or hashtags on social media) that shoppers might use to find your products or services.
How to promote gift cards on other channels
The advice above works if you can get someone to your store or website, or your profiles on social networks or marketplaces. But if your customers don’t know you offer gift cards, they can’t buy them. So you need to create a gift card strategy and invest in promotions and marketing.
Get the word out to your current customers through your social media channels and through email marketing. Create fun campaigns that include photos of your gift cards with your products, and mention any promotions you’re having.
Square Gift Cards
Let your customers give the perfect gift — gift cards from your business.
If you want to use your customers to get the word out about gift cards, try a social campaign that gives away gift cards. Invite people to submit some kind of holiday content (this could vary based on what your business is) with a hashtag specific to your business, or photos of what they would purchase with their gift card. Then award the best submissions.
If you want to offer exclusive or special, unbeatable gift card deals, consider marketing them to your loyal customers through Square Loyalty and giving a gift to those who support your business frequently.
How to take gift cards in your store or restaurant
Gift cards are integrated right into your Square Point of Sale and Dashboard. When a customer pays with a gift card, just swipe the card and the balance will update automatically. If you’re a restaurant that offers tableside payments or self-serve kiosks, your customers can simply swipe the card themselves and still pay with a gift card. Customers can easily add more money to their gift card at any time.
All gift card transactions will show up in your reporting, and you can export a full report of gift card sales right from your Square Dashboard. And once you’re up and running, you’ll receive transfers for gift card activations instantly, or within one to two business days.
Our new holiday gift card designs have just arrived. There’s no better time to stock up before the holiday rush.