As attention turns to festive shopping, the age-old debate about Christmas gift cards rages on. With the number of 2019 paydays dwindling, and with presents awaiting your purchase, it is important to ask a simple question: are plastic gift cards right for your business this Christmas? Let’s find out.
The history of plastic gift cards
Though it may be difficult for some people to comprehend, gift cards have not been around for very long. In fact, the concept of a plastic card being used to make transactions was only introduced in 1994 by Blockbuster, the film and video game rental shop. While paper gift certificates were popularised much earlier, the advent of modern photocopiers led to widespread counterfeiting, hence the need for a high-quality alternative.
When more American retailers followed suit, marketing plastic gifts, stricter regulation came into effect. Nevertheless, during the late 1990s Internet boom, several companies specialised merely in plastic gift cards and loyalty cards, feeding additional growth. Consumer research indicated that people coveted plastic gift cards in greater numbers, while marketing campaigns presented them as ideal Christmas presents, giving loved ones a novel flexibility to make their own purchases.
Nowadays, the global gift cards market is expected to reach US$750 billion by 2026, according to an investigation by Credence Research. More people than ever are seeing plastic gift cards as the most convenient, efficient and logical solution to their gift-buying needs. At Christmas, this is particularly true, as time is precious and many plastic gift cards can be ordered with a few simple clicks.
What are the benefits of plastic gift cards for your business this Christmas?
Your business can benefit in a number of ways by offering plastic gift cards this Christmas. We will focus on five core benefits, delving deeper to explore the viability of a robust gift card campaign.
Plastic gift cards raise brand awareness
The positive effects of plastic gift cards extend beyond mere sales and profit. For instance, the actual physical card itself offers a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness for your brand. Just think about it logically: consumers could literally carry on their person an item bearing your logo or slogan. That is an exceedingly rare opportunity, and it is heightened at Christmas in particular. Everybody likes free advertising, after all, so do not be left behind here.
Plastic gift cards can help capture customer data
As the plastic gift card industry evolves, new opportunities for cross-selling and repeat custom are being captured. In this regard, the humble act of gift card printing is underpinned by an unseen network of important customer information. Businesses have the option to attach registration forms to their plastic gift cards, which can include contact preferences. This allows companies to ask for and gain marketing permissions, efficiently feeding into long-term business goals.
Plastic gift cards can improve customer loyalty
Working in conjunction with the points raised above – enhanced brand awareness and strong customer data – plastic gift cards can act as a reliable vehicle to repeat custom. Somebody who has never heard of your business may unexpectedly receive a plastic gift card redeemable in your store then fall in love with the range of products on offer. That, in turn, will make them more likely to return over and over again. Here, the plastic gift card can be seen as an effective introduction to long-term business-consumer relationships.
Plastic gift cards are safe and secure
We have come a long way from the days of people photocopying Blockbuster gift certificates in their basement. Plastic gift cards are less susceptible to fraud, damage and loss than their basic forebears, while magnetic stripes speed up transactions and improve accuracy. Similarly, many people just feel more confident carrying a plastic gift card, especially at Christmas, than they do handling cash notes. Gift cards eliminate a lot of stress and hassle. They are an efficient tool fit for the digital world around us.
Plastic gift cards can motivate people to shop with your business
Due to rampant globalisation and improving technology, consumers have more options than ever before when attempting to make purchases. Whatever problem we have, or whatever implement is needed to solve an issue, the antidote is likely available for purchase. This creates a unique challenge for businesses, which must become more creative in how they convince consumers to choose their product rather than that of a competitor. Introducing plastic gift cards naturally assists in that process, making people more likely to shop in your store. After all, if you get a free voucher from a loved one this Christmas, chances are you will use it.
Why your business needs plastic gift cards this Christmas
The above list is not exhaustive. In fact, the benefits of offering plastic gift cards could fill an entire book. However, in simple terms, the pertinent question is not whether plastic gift cards are right for your business this Christmas, but rather whether you can afford to miss such a golden opportunity?
The market for plastic gift cards is exploding, and more companies are moving to adopt them not only as form of currency but as a subtle marketing and business development tool. The attendant e-gift industry also has numerous advantages, but the physical manifestation of your brand has added punch in terms of being memorable and distinguishable. A plastic gift card will never get lost in your junk email folder.
Ultimately, for many consumers, purchasing plastic gift cards is the most efficient mode of Christmas shopping. The whole operation can be completed with a few clicks, minimising stress and creating a positive feeling towards your brand. Those who do not adapt to the changing landscape will be left behind, just like Blockbuster when Netflix and other streaming services came into being.
You have to meet your customers where they are, and you have to package your offering into a shape that matches their habits. In the fast-paced world we inhabit, plastic gift cards are a phenomenal efficiency. Bite the bullet and join the prevailing trend. The possible benefits are too great to ignore.
Here at PSC Systems, we offer a full range of plastic gift card options. From design and manufacture through to personalisation and distribution, we provide a one-stop solution for all your plastic gift card needs. Take advantage of our free consultation today, and together we can realise your full campaign vision.
Posted on Friday, December 6th, 2019 at 3:41 pm in Latest News.