“Ask L2” is a weekly series where we answer questions about all things digital.
Question: What are best practices when it comes to e-gift cards?
In the digital age, the demand for gift cards is high and increasing. Gift cards are the number one most desired gift by US internet users and gift card sales are projected to reach $160 billion by 2018. As technology expands options for gift cards, retailers are exploring ways to elevate gift card experiences.
Five approaches have emerged from best-in-class examples:
1. Prominent placement: While many retailers bury gift cards in sub-navigation menus, Macy’s and The Home Depot place their gift card links prominently in the persistent header, an evergreen strategy that elevates gift cards on-site.
2. Flexible Format: In order to ensure convenience and easy access for a wide array of consumers, Amazon provides options beyond the eCard and traditional mail, including a unique ‘print at home’ feature.
3. Seamless Integration: Sephora’s gift card seamlessly connects the Sephora App and Apple Wallet, capitalizing on existing consumer behaviors. Sephora then markets to recipients of gift cards, drawing them in with in-store offers for a free custom makeover when a gift card is purchased or redeemed.
4. Loyalty Tie-in: Starbucks ties gift cards into their loyalty program. Gift card recipients are automatically qualified for the program with gift cards and rewards points easily accessible through the mobile app. As a result, over 41% of transactions are done using a Starbucks card—and more than half of those are on mobile.
5. Innovation in Messaging: Payments are becoming more ingrained into mobile messaging on a broad scale, and gift cards are no exception. In iOS 10, apps can now integrate with iMessage, similar to Messenger on Facebook. Dunkin Donuts leverages this feature to allow app users to send gift cards through iMessage.