Christmas Retail: Kicking the habit of Gift Cards

Christmas Retail: Kicking the habit of Gift Cards

of Black Friday shoppers bought a Christmas present. 

When considering what type of Christmas gift to buy family or friends an easy option is always a gift card for their favourite store! With Black Friday just ending with 75% of black Friday shoppers stating that they have purchased a Christmas present in the sales – it is inevitable that some of these shoppers will have purchased some form of gift card or vouchers.

With Christmas fast approaching, and a number of reputable department stores and shops diving into a future of uncertainty – consumers are advised to break the habit and give something more meaningful this year. Unfortunately, consumers who don’t break this habit will end up throwing away their cash. As Debenhams demonstrated in their TV, Social media and printed ads – a gift is more worth giving if it is personalised and bespoke to the receiver, however was this a sign that the department store who could face a closure of 100 stores gave to their customers that purchasing a gift card to their store could be a bad idea?

Gift cards and voucher sales are worth £6bn a year in the UK but have long been a poor choice. The government released statistical data showing that £300m is wasted each year because the recipient either loses them, the card expires, or they can’t spend the balance. I personally have fell victim to losing a gift card, or simply forgetting that I was ever given one.

As more retailers this year have ceased trading, it has left a number of customers with useless gift cards that they can’t spend or have had issues spending in the likes of Maplin’s, Toys R Us, House of Fraser and Evans Cycles. When BHS went into administration, shoppers with gift cards and vouchers were only allowed to use them as a part-payment for goods. Other gift card failures include Oddbins, Bench and American Apparel.

pounds (£) is wasted on gift cards each year.

To put it simply, when a company falls into administration ahead of a sale to a rival, the new owner has no obligation to honour the gift cards or vouchers. In a bid to retain some goodwill – and to restore confidence in the brand, the new owner may accept vouchers, but with caveats.

Saying this, as discussed in our previous article – how to demonstrate a human to human store experience, maybe going cold turkey on gift cards isn’t such a bad idea? Through tailoring unique gifts to individual consumers, it opens up the opportunity of converting new consumers.

Pushing gift cards is a perfect add-on to a last-minute gift, however instead of positioning point of sale advertising with gift cards close to your point of purchase, use the space wisely to display new and exciting products.

Counter top units are a great way to catch a consumer’s attention as they are about to check out and complete their purchasing journey. From small stocking fillers to last minute secret Santa gifts, the secret of up-selling is at the till point. Often when consumers are shopping, the majority of us focus on the bigger units stocking bigger items and forget about the smaller necessities. Utilising the till point with point of sale units, is a great way to create a friendly reminder of “just in-case you forgot” items.

What are your opinions on gift cards? Are they a thing of the past or do you still think there’s still room for them in retail?


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Simpson Group

Established in 1972, Simpson Group has been providing an award-winning point of sale print for the biggest names in retail for the last 46 years. We’re constantly investing in pioneering technology and client-benefiting services to ensure we are the market leader in cutting edge POP & POS. We are even home to Europe’s only simulated shopping mall – Influence Mall!

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