There’s no stopping shoppers around the holidays. The National Retail Federation reports that 2016 holiday retail sales exceeded forecasts, increasing 4% year-over-year to $658.3 billion. The organization is expected to increase its forecast for the upcoming 2017 season once again, which is great news for retailers and for the economy. However, as online shopping and fast, free shipping become standard, competition between stores continues to increase. Proximity to a brick and mortar location is no longer much of a driver for holiday shoppers, so retailers need to come up with other ways to get shoppers on their sites and in their stores.

It’s not too early to grab the attention of holiday shoppers: more than half say they start researching and planning their gifts in October or earlier, and 9 out of ten say that last year, something convinced them to make a purchase they weren’t sure about when they started shopping.

So how will you convince shoppers to buy from you this holiday season? Here are 15 fun, unique ways to entice shoppers with promotional cards as they check off their “nice” lists:

  1. Visit Santa and receive a card that is only valid for certain dates after the New Year. This entices holiday shoppers and also gets traffic back in the door for a post-holiday boost.
  2. One for you, one for me: when shoppers buy a certain volume of gift cards for others, they receive a gift card for themselves.
  3. Create special holiday artwork for your cards.
  4. Give, and give some more: for every certain amount of gift card dollars purchased, the store makes a holiday-specific donation of money or goods to a local charity.
  5. Mystery bonus card: intrigue holiday shoppers to buy a certain amount in gift cards by giving them a card with an unknown (within range) balance in return.
  6. Strike a deal with local realtors or real estate companies. Home sales are notoriously slow in the winter, and agents usually give housewarming gifts to clients after purchase… why not a gift card?
  7. For every $5 spent in gift cards, a shopper’s name is entered to win a prize from a partner merchant, like movie tickets, dinner out, or fancy chocolates.
  8. On- or off-property, randomly hand out $5 gift cards to spark interest and draw traffic.
  9. Give gift cards to local radio stations to be used as prizes in exchange for advertising time. This is a win-win situation: your location receives free advertising, and the cards given away create traffic.
  10. Partner with car dealerships to give a gift card to every customer that test drives a car before the holidays.
  11. For malls and shopping centers – create a “coupon” booklet exclusively for corporate orders and have each merchant pay a small amount to be included. This fee will cover the printing costs for the piece, and the booklet will drive awareness and traffic.
  12. Purchase a card above a certain amount and receive special gift wrap for free. This doesn’t have to mean extra labor – pre-made gift bags, tissue paper and ribbon are ready to give.
  13. Work with a local charity or non-profit organization to donate a certain amount of money per gift card purchase during specific promo dates – then advertise, advertise, advertise!
  14. Hold a monthly sweepstakes on your website. Every shopper who registers their contact information to receive marketing collateral will be registered to win a gift card. This is a great way for the mall to start building an interested database.
  15. Spend to save: on specific days, customers receive an extra $10 off a $100 holiday gift card purchase.

Contact one of our gift card solutions experts if you’re ready to discuss your strategies for the upcoming holiday season. 

What are some of the most creative, enticing holiday promotions you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments below!