By Jeannie Lewis, email@example.com, @dot jeannie
If you’ve ever wondered if gift card usage is on the rise, just check out the numbers. Last year’s National Retail Federation holiday consumer research revealed that shoppers would spend an average of $155.43 on gift cards for the 2011 holiday season, the highest since 2007. And total spending on gift cards would reach $27.8 billion, boosted by e-gifting, instant delivery through social networks, and mobile options. This year, spending on gift cards over the 2012 holiday shopping season is expected to surpass even those staggering results.
It isn’t just retail tenants that are leveraging the power and popularity of gift cards – shopping center owners are as well. In fact, a significant trend among shopping centers is employing a gift card campaign that involves e-gift cards which integrate the shopping center website and online presence with the brick-and-mortar presence – with the objective of increasing sales both on- and off-line.
Gift cards are inherently easy, and that’s a big part of their draw. The card is simply purchased, stored, presented and tracked; it is easily modified to present new, refreshed promotions and offerings at low cost to the shopping center. Savvy centers know that marketing the gift cards is key to how well they work. Gone are the days where word of mouth alone would carry the day. Digital marketing including social media messaging, email blasts, and multimedia tacts with properly implemented search engine optimization approaches make the difference between a satisfactory gift card campaign response, and an enormous gift card campaign response.
Following are 10 basic steps on how to run a proper shopping center gift card campaign:
1. Determine and list brands to be promoted that will best market the image and profitability of the shopping center. For example, include at least one anchor store if possible to showcase the big names in the center. Include smaller- stores banners to provide needed exposure and to show the diversity of the range of stores represented as well. Include at least one prestigious name if possible to hold up the value of the upper-scale brands.