Four Things Driving Gift Card Packaging

by admin

We talk to a lot of gift card professionals and they are always hungry for new and interesting ideas, especially when it comes to gift card packaging. “What are some new and interesting ways for presenting a gift card?” “What kind of packaging should we use and will it affect the sale of the product?” These are just some of the questions we get asked, but merchandising your cards and your approach to packaging depends on what is driving your decisions. Here are some drivers and what we’ve seen behind the scenes.


When security is a driver, the package gets “wrapped.” Consumers cannot touch the card and the key is to keep the card number and PIN hidden from view. This extra security measure has led to the development of new glues and tapes to enclose the package, blister packs which are difficult to open, and complex systems for associating the card inside to the public information on the outside of the package needed to activate it. In all cases, it means higher costs for production and longer lead times. Except for “secure” cards, those with an association hologram, almost all gift cards have steered away from this type of packaging. Does it help with fraud? Probably, but it doesn’t seem to be justified. Besides, people like to touch merchandise before they buy it. Would you get excited to buy a dress that came in a sealed box with a picture on it? Probably not.


Wal-Mart gift cards on display at a Wal-Mart in Mountain View, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

How much can I reduce the cost of a gift card package and still hang it on a rack? Well, you can cut the carrier down and make it as small as possible. Reduce the number of colors and take away any special features. How about just leaving small carriers in the rack next to the cards and the customer can select the one they want so there is no cost for attaching? Although you introduce the element of customer choice, which is always a good things, is it the right look and feel for the brand? And how about the all-time low cost solution – just put the cards only on a rack and leave the final presentation up to the consumer.


Probably the biggest driver in the gift card packaging market today are the regulations from the large third party providers, Incomm and Blackhawk. The rules surrounding size of carrier and the placement of the information on the carrier drive a huge percentage of the packaging done today for retailers. As a result, this one size fits all model has become the de facto standard and is a low cost solution in its own right because all card vendors are geared towards that form factor.

HIGH END MERCHANDISINGgift_card_pkg_unique

When the brand and the image drive the decision making, creativity takes over! There are many innovative ways to package cards in “containers” that are aesthetically pleasing. Tins and small boxes are great delivery vehicles. There are also very cute baskets, slide out sleeves, and intricately designed carriers. In today’s market, you can sell the packaging separately, thus offsetting the cost of the program.

Whatever drives your gift card packaging, just make sure it matches the needs and wants of your company and helps your gift cards stay top of mind with customers.

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