7 Crazy Gift Card Promotions

Gift cards are a big part of the Coffee and Restaurant industry.  The marketing and promotional ideas are virtually endless

So, I thought it would be fun to share 7 or so different, and sometimes unusual, gift card promotions with you:

1)  Buy a card, get a drink (or appetizer etc).   This is a fun promotion that helps provide instantaneous gratification.  The idea is that when a customer buys a gift card of sufficient value, they get something free.  Usually 10% is the standard discount to consider.  So, buy a $35 gift card and get a free coffee!  Buy a $50 gift card and get a free order of bread sticks.  It can be a great way to introduce a new product at the same time you increase gift card sales. 

2)  On a similar track. . . Buy a card and get a $5 card (or $5 off the gift card).  This is a pretty popular promotion and works very well if you find customers are buying primarily as a gift card.  Think about it. . . It puts a gift card in two peoples hands! 

3)  Accept a competitors card as a trade in.  This works specifically with Starbucks.  The thought is that you will take certain types of Starbucks gift cards and issue one of your own with equal value.  It sounds a little crazy but what can make it work is that there are multiple sites that will pay you a percent of the total value for that Starbucks card.   Plastic Jungle is a site that allows you to do this with cards that are over $25.   When I checked, they were offering $41 for a $50 Starbucks card.  EDIT:  I was informed by a reader that Plastic Jungle has shut down.    Luke Knowles suggested the following (Thanks Luke!). 

Gift Card Granny – shows a comparison of what other sites will give you for a gift card.

Gift Card Zen – a gift exchange site.

4)  Sell big!  Everyone should have at least one huge value gift card offer.  $200 gets you $220 or some variation.   Jack Groot of the Midwest Barista School tells a wonderful story on LinkedIn about selling $1,200 gift cards for $1,000 each to finance a piece of equipment.  

5) Use gift cards instead of employee discounts.  Instead of a 50% discount, pre-load a gift card for each employee every pay period.  The employee can then use this for any purchase in the store.   Let them buy their girl/boy friend a drink, purchase a muffin for their Mom etc.  Instead of tempting them with using their discount.

6)  Hand them out!  Pre-load a number of gift cards with a small amount and pass them around. Use them as business cards and start promoting your brand.   

7)  Promote through non-profits and community events.  Selling a gift card at a discounted price to schools and church’s allows you to promote your store, help the community and have your customers introduce new people to your product and brand.  

Have an 8th?  Comment and let us know! 

Contact us at:
Mike Spence
8326 Woodland Ave. E
Puyallup Wa 98371

May 10th, 2011 by