First Data Study Shows Keys to Success for In-Store Gift Cards (March 30, 2015)
As retailers prepare for the year’s second-largest shopping season—Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations—First Data research from the 2014 holiday season can help retailers drive gift card sales. The company’s “2014 U.S. Gift Card Holiday Mystery Shopping Study” sent mystery shoppers into 658 stores across 63 retail brands nationwide to glean insights into the latest gift card trends and notable consumer behaviors around gift cards. The results of the survey were published in a new white paper and touch on several key themes merchants should keep in mind when developing a gift card strategy:
- Shoppers always are looking for an array of gift card choices and new options. Of the stores surveyed that had gift card displays, grocery/pharmacy retailers had the fullest displays, with the casual dining segment the second-fullest. Petroleum convenience stores had the least-full selection, the study found.
- Visual appeal. How a card looks matters; a separate First Data study from early 2015 found that consumers cite visual appeal as an important factor in selecting a gift card. Key visual elements include: an attractive design, consistency with the merchant’s brand, appropriateness for the occasion (e.g., holidays, birthdays) and uniqueness.
- In-store gift card promotion and signage should be located throughout the store. Displaying cards in multiple locations is key; when shoppers can’t find the right gift, they often turn to gift cards. Meanwhile, signage should be placed at eye level or below, and should present clear, concise information about the benefits of gift cards. Signage also should promote a retailer’s e-gifting platform.
The 2014 edition is First Data’s 16th annual Mystery Shopper Survey. Research was conducted by Marketforce International.
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