Custom gift cards and Custom loyalty cards: How they make you money…
Custom gift cards and custom loyalty cards, as those of us in the know are already aware, are big money. This time of year especially. So many people are holiday shopping. And with so many people to shop for how do you tailor a gift to each person? Custom gift cards are a simple solution allowing your friends and family to select a gift. But still giving the personal feel, because you chose the store.
But you know all this already. The big question, is what’s in it for me the business owner? How do I make money from custom gift cards and custom loyalty cards?
The answer is both simple and complex. Simply put, Custom gift cards make you money by acquiring new customers. Custom loyalty cards help you to retain your current customers.
Let’s dive deeper:
Custom gift cards, Acquiring you new customers
When we talk about custom gift cards, the immediate thought is this: I’m giving a voucher (card) to be redeemed later. But lets look at this a little deeper.
1.) Interest Free Loan
A gift card is almost like an interest free loan your customer gives you. You’ll pay that loan back with goods or services later. But in the meantime, you can use that money for anything you want! You can buy inventory, pay expenses, or use it for payroll.
2.) Who receives custom gift cards?
The answer is that the majority of people who get a gift card for your business have never been there before. Which means every time someone buys a gift card, you have a chance to acquire a new customer.
Acquiring customers is the most expensive part of your marketing operation. Think back to any marketing campaign you’ve spent money on. How much do you spend? And how many customers do you get? Usually the cost of acquisition is pretty expensive, ($20-100 depending on your business.) So the best way to save money, is to cut this cost.
Assume 1000 custom gift cards costs less than $1000. That means if you can sell them all, and 50% are new, it only cost you $2 each to acquire customers. That’s a heck of a deal.
3.) What other ways can you use custom gift cards to find new customers?
Since you’ll be acquiring new customers, then it won’t hurt to give away some custom gift cards.
So have some promos. “Buy $100 of merchandise, get a $10 gift card.” Or “Sign up for our loyalty program, and get a $10 gift card.”
Also, if people come by and ask for giveaways for fundraisers, give them custom gift cards too!
Since you’ll be getting new customers, the costs are definitely worth it.
Custom loyalty cards, Retaining current customers
So in contrast to custom gift cards. Custom loyalty cards work to help you hang on to the customers you already have.
1.) Retaining customers is much cheaper than finding new ones
Customer retention is most important, because it’s cheap. At least comparatively. Once someone’s been in your store, keeping them is much simpler than getting new customers.
We talked above about the costs of acquiring customers. But what about the cost of retention? Well, in honesty, the cost is pretty low. Especially with a loyalty program.
2.) How do you use a loyalty program to increase retention?
A loyalty program is pretty simple. Your customer signs up, and by doing so, gets some small reward on based on what they purchase. Think back to the days of the Subway punch card. Get 10 sandwiches get a free sandwich.
But the key to leveraging your loyalty program is data collection. Then market segmentation (which we’ll talk about next.)
When your customer signs up for your loyalty program, you’ll take their name, phone, email. I know what you’re thinking. “How does this help me?” Collecting personal information is only step one.
Step 2, is to monitor the stuff each customer buys. Your point of sale program should do this automatically. By keeping a record of all that your clients buy, you can start to understand what they like. We can use this information to market to them! Much in the same way Amazon shows you things it thinks you would like. And it’s right a lot of the time! We use the things you purchase, to figure out what other products you would want.
3.) So how do we harness that info, and bring people back in?
We use this information to design marketing campaigns to these customers.
We use market segmentation to take our customers, and divide them into lists of like minded individuals, who buy similar stuff.
For a restaurant, lists could be “senior citizens,” or “people with children.” For a retailer, it could be as simple as “people who buy more than $100 a month.”
Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.
#1, you have a customer who has 3 children. They’ve purchased winter coats for their children 2 years in a row. It’s Oct 15th, and they haven’t been in to buy new coats yet. Perhaps a good time to email them a promo code for 10% off winter coats.
#2, you own a diner. Wednesday is a really dead night, and you want to bring in customers. So you look at a list of all your customers. You send an email to everyone over 55 saying seniors get a free slice of pie with any meal they purchase on Wednesday.
This style of marketing is less of an exact science. And more of a guess-and-check type of thing. You’ll have to try some offers, and find out what works. Do senior night for 2 months, and see how much better it is. If it hasn’t dramatically increased sales, maybe try a “Kids eat free” promo.
Don’t be afraid to try something. The worst thing that happens is you’ll be right back where you started.
How to get started?
It’s pretty simple. You need 2 things:
1.) Plastic custom gift cards, or custom loyalty cards. Of course check out my company Plastic Printers.
2.) A point of sale, or gift/loyalty tracking system
Most retailers, restaurants, etc, have some kind of POS. If you do, odds are good you have a loyalty program, and custom gift cards integrated. Or can get an app/plugin that will handle them for you.
Make sure gift and loyalty apps have the features you need. If you want to track loyalty points, make sure the loyalty program will do it the way you want.