9 Ways to Merchandise In-Store Gift Cards

by Marisa Cogan

I don’t know about you, but ever since I started working in the gift card industry, I often find myself looking around for gift cards when I’m shopping. I really like to explore the latest designs and packaging ideas and, for my own personal marketing reasons, I want to know which brands are even offering gift cards. I get very excited when I find something cool or interesting – I even sometimes take pictures, and then my husband just gives me that look like I’m crazy. Anyway, before my life in gift cards, I never really noticed them all that much except for the gift card malls in big box stores, which are hard to miss. So it brings up the question – why did I not notice gift cards in individual retail locations? And was I even aware that you could buy gift cards in stores (and outside of the gift card malls)? Now that I’m deeply entrenched in this field – I know that I can walk into most shops and buy a gift card, even if they are not on display. But for your average Joe Consumer, does he know? And if not, shouldn’t we make sure he is aware?

Here are some merchandising ideas that can help you increase sales. I hope some of these will help spark some of your own unique ideas.



From window & front door clings, to signs in dressing rooms and restrooms, advertise that YOU HAVE GIFT CARDS!  After all, if you don’t advertise it, how will anyone know. For restaurants, having a table top sign is a no-brainer for generating awareness of your cards, as you have a captive audience for 30+ minutes.


A popular (and obvious) location for your gift card display, the point-of-sale area should offer multiple displays of cards so that each customer being served can easily reach for them without getting in anyone’s way. Also consider offering a variety of cards (all presented in a neat and organized manner, of course) to provide options for customers looking for specific holiday gifts or celebrations.



Provide your employees with buttons to wear that advertise your gift cards or your current gift card promotion. The button could simply say “Ask me about gift cards” or “Want a free $10 gift card?  A button can serve as a conversation starter that provides the salesperson with the opportunity to up-sell the customer.  A button also serves as a mini billboard for your gift card program.


Speaking of conversation, train your employees to ask the customer if they would like to purchase a gift card. It might remind the customer that they do indeed need a gift for someone or, if nothing else, will make them aware that you do offer gift cards that they can purchase in the future. Sweeten the pot for your employee by offering a bonus based on weekly or monthly gift card sales goals.  Or, run a sales promotion that offers the winner an extra day off or a free gift card of their own. Employee incentives will help make them gift card ambassadors.


gift card merchandisingIf the customer completely missed your awesome gift card display at the register, don’t fear, you can just drop some literature into their shopping bag – or – print a message on their receipt!


If your business receives a lot of phone calls, you can either have your employee answer the phone with a special gift card message (Hello, are you interested in purchasing a gift card today?) or add a message to your automated on-hold system.


With national chains beginning to opt for table top tablets like Ziosk and Presto to improve the customer experience, an additional marketing medium has been born. Not only do table top tablets speed up table turn times, but they also allow you to market menu items, specials and….wait for it…..gift cards! Beautiful images of your cards will not only bring awareness to your gift cards, but will be a helpful reminder to customers that they need to pick up a gift for a friend or loved one.


What does every customer entering a restaurant have in common? They are all going to look at your menu, so why not add a gift card promotion piece inside a slip-in pocket? As they are selecting their next meal, they won’t miss the literature that is front and center.


“Check please!” And that’s your cue…here’s where your servers slip in a small card or literature piece that advertises the latest gift card promotion. Holiday time is a great time to offer Buy One, Get One promotions.



Consumers have come to love holiday gift card promotions in which they can receive a free gift card when they purchase one for someone else (or maybe themselves) – i.e., buy a $50 gift card, get a $10 gift card free


Offer a variety of card designs. This allows consumers to purchase a card that matches the gift-giving occasion – i.e., Mother’s Day, graduation, thank you, etc.


Align with a charity and give back. Ask customers to donate $5 to a cause in order to receive a $10 gift card that they can use at a later date. Since the average gift card user spends 20% above the value of the card, not only does the charity partner
win, so do you!

In summary, a multi-touch approach to merchandising your gift cards will help bring awareness to in-store cards, increase gift card revenue and can bring new customers through your doors.

CPS Cards is a leading provider of gift & loyalty card solutions for merchants nationwide. Our services including card printing, personalization, packaging and fulfillment. We also offer B2B, B2C and direct-to-store fulfillment programs, as well as print-on-demand solutions.  Need help with your gift or loyalty card program?  Contact us today for a free quote or to just chat!


Photos courtesy of Fixtures Close Up® by Anthony Kadysewski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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