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CASE STUDY
How to manage mass refunds and gift cards in the time of pandemic

The 6 substantial features your gift cards management software should provide in 2020

What does your gift card management software need? Personalization, Digitization, and Automation.

In this post we will explain all there is to great gift cards management software.

You will learn:

  • Some ideas for gift card campaigns.
  • How to implement the Loss Aversion phenomenon into your gift card marketing.
  • A list of must-have features of gift card management software.

If you're looking for some tips on what to look for when selecting or building your own gift cards platform, this post is for you.

Let's start gifting!

The features of gift cards management software  title image, brown envelopes and cards
Photo by Annie Spratt

The 6 features your gift cards management software should provide in 2020

Gift cards are getting more and more popular; according to the latest marketing research, more than 90% of US shoppers receive or buy a gift card every year. If you base your gift card process on excel sheets and a hand-made distribution, it is hard to ensure personalization and keep up with your audience once scale starts growing. With a modern gift cards provider, many operations can be entirely automated and a campaign management won’t require constant bothering your developers. You can set automatic series of multi-channel messages which are going to take care of your regular and new customers by sending gift card when a customer match predefined criteria.

Here are some of the key features of well-designed gift cards management software:

  • Allows for personalization and easy customer cross-platform data synchronisation.
  • Uses automation and dynamic customer segmentation.
  • Uses the digital environment to extend gift cards sales and facilitate their management.
  • Offers tracking and accounting capabilities.
  • Can be integrated with other platforms.
  • Is easy to use for developers and marketers alike.

Let's go through some examples of using digital gift cards to explore in more detail what features determine good software, ready to manage gift certificates at every scale.

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Gift Card System Infrastructure

Gift cards creation is only the beginning – if you want them to work really successfully, appropriate infrastructure is needed. But no worries! A proper gift card software should provide you with all the crucial aspects of marketing operations making them a piece of cake.

Here is an example of a well-laid-out gift card infrastructure:


Let's go through some examples of using digital gift cards to explore in more detail what features determine good software, ready to manage gift certificates at every scale.

Gift card campaigns ideas

Abandoned cart series – action is triggered automatically once a client leaves a cart. Gift card is sent instantly to encourage him/her to get back and finalize the purchase.

Requirements: Such campaigns work well at scale if a gift card system is capable of capturing specific events performed by your customers. By triggering event-based messages, you can effortlessly respond to customer behavior and their buying activity.

Re-engagement series – this kind of campaign is based on a specific timeframe. You can define a time window for a customer’s absence and, when the time for re-engagement comes, the workflow should be triggered automatically.

Example of a gift card campaign

Requirements: Gift card software which divides your audience into groups based on specific dates and timeframes. Thanks to this kind of customer segmentation, you can reach dormant users and put time limits on gift cards. For example, send a gift card valid only for 7 days and available if the customer signed up within the last 30 days.

Best promoters/loyalty series – automatic message with a special gift card is triggered once a new customer appears on your top customers list. This allows you to show your appreciation and effortlessly look after the most loyal customers.

Requirements: In this case, the word ‘special’ is the key. The gift cards engine must provide you with a text editor to design a nice, personal looking message. The point of distinguishing the most loyal customers is to appreciate their commitment with unique offers, not available for new clients. The thing is to ensure that your receivers are aware of how ‘special’ and ‘exclusive’ those gifts are. This is why you need gift card software which not only provides unique codes but can also wrap them into a personalized message.

Birthday gifts – gift cards are the perfect way to strengthen relationships with your opt-ins. You can leverage special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries and send your customers a personalized gift.

Requirements: Here, we come to one of the critical issues – integration possibilities. To trigger a birthday gift card, you won’t be scrolling through your customer list every day looking for a matching date. A connection between your gift cards software and CRM is enough to make it on your behalf. Automatically. Besides CRM, there are plenty of other tools you’d probably like to plug-in to make the workflow straightforward and friendly for your clients. It’s good to know if you can build in your existing toolkit into the gift cards infrastructure and create a consistent customer journey.

Personalised gift card for birthday

Referral rewards – a gift card can be a reward for a referrer or a new customer as well. In the simplest scenario, you can offer a $5 gift card as your appreciation for endorsement and encourage new customers to purchase with another card or a discount.

Gift Card as a referral reward

Requirements: Gift cards software connected with a referral program engine. Effective promotion strategy sooner or later requires more than one type of incentive. To make the most of its potential, it’s nice to have coupon codes, cart-level discount, loyalty and referral programs and finally a tool to manage the entire system and stay in control. The easiest and most beneficial option is to invest in software which provides all the puzzle pieces at once.

Loss aversion impulse gift cards are perfect for playing with psychological marketing like the Loss Aversion phenomenon, a proven tendency to avoid losses much more than acquiring new gains. An example promotion might look like this “We’ve added an extra $10 to your card for purchases made today. Hurry up, the balance will be gone by midnight!”

Requirements: Besides some knowledge about Loss Aversion, in such dynamic promotions it is crucial to reach customers efficiently and deliver a message on time. Emails, SMS, and live chat are the most popular channels which you can use to send automatic but still personalized messages with gift cards. Each of these channels can be a good choice, but only when combined together can they really work at their best. Whatever channels you decide to use, keep in mind that people are striving for a genuine omni channel experience these days.

Gift card unique and loss aversion, marketing psychology

A list of must-have features of gift card management software

Customization geared towards customer personalization

Make personalization paramount, let your customers receive something unique. With personal data, targeting becomes more accurate, and consumers are more likely to use gift cards if it includes their favorite products/services:

“(...) more than three-quarters of US business-to-consumer customers saw the benefit of trading personal information for more relevant discounts and offers.”

Here are some examples of customization possibilities that all good quality gift card providers should offer:

  • Count, value, and the code pattern of the gift card.
  • Redemption limits per gift card/customer/campaign.
  • Time limitations – start and expiry date.
  • Segment-specific limitations. 
  • Product and order-specific limitations. 

If you’re interested in learning more about personalization, check this post

Digitization across the board

Use the digital environment to extend gift card sales and facilitate their management. The in-store sale is only one of many channels that interact with your audience. If you want to keep up with today’s customer, online sale and service is a must.

“56% of surveyed consumers would like to keep gift cards stored on their phones. This makes the card easily accessible and decreases the chances of it being lost.”

Update June 2020: The need for rapid digitization is even more obvious as businesses struggle to overcome the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Check this post to learn more about going digital with promotions. You may also be interested in this post which explains the process behind the automation of mass refunds to gift cards. 

Simple integration 

Choose a comprehensive gift card provider which allows you to achieve your marketing goals without long hours spent on rebuilding your current infrastructure. An important aspect to look out for is developer-friendliness of the platform and the flexibility of the gift card system to create, modify, and remove campaigns quickly without too much hassle and developers’ involvement. All in all, the ideal “after” state is to have a marketing team that can use the system on their own without bothering developers to make small changes to the program. In order to learn more about the software, you should always check its documentation for integration capabilities and look for solutions based on API. 

If the concept of API sounds foreign, check out this post

Multiple channels = multiple occasions to get customers hooked

Make sure that your gift cards are going to reach customers at the right time and via the right channel. All efforts would be in vain if you weren’t able to reach customers efficiently. That’s why a well-fitting distribution is key to ending your campaign with profits. 

By the example of Voucherify, email tends to be the most convenient and popular means of distribution for our clients. For instance, you can integrate a MailChimp account with Voucherify to spread gift cards widely via emails. What's more, with the same simplicity, codes can be easily pushed out to customers by mobile channels such as SMS messages or push notifications.

Other possibilities are opened by QR codes. But no worries, you can generate them with Voucherify as well. After gift cards get unique QR codes, they are ready to be spread with via our mobile app. The app is dedicated to offline coupon tracking as it allows for coupon redemptions in your store.

You can read more about the app here. 

Prefer a hand-to-hand promotion? No problem. Just print your gift cards with QR codes and that's it!

Ensure your gift card system uses automation and dynamic customer segmentation.

Do not invest in things that don’t scale; software should make things easier to manage and maintain, no matter system growth.

“The future of commerce is digital. Even if your brick and mortar storefront is thriving, don’t miss the opportunity to establish your brand online.” (Forbes)

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