“9 Best Practices for Improving Gift Card Program Performance” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

“9 Best Practices for Improving Gift Card Program Performance” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

As part of the 2023 US Merchant Gift Card Omnicommerce Evaluation, US Edition, a comprehensive report produced by Total Retail in conjunction with sponsor partner Blackhawk Network, best practices for the three channels (digital/e-commerce, in-store, mobile) evaluated were included. The best practices are intended to help readers improve the performance of their gift card programs, including driving more awareness, facilitating better purchaser and recipient experiences, and ultimately driving more sales. Here’s a sampling of those best practices, segmented by channel.


  • Offer additional flexibility in the gift card purchase process, including custom denominations and delivery flexibility (e.g., email or SMS for digital cards, free and/or expedited shipping for physical cards).
  • Leverage digital channels such as email and social media to both market your gift cards as well as respond to customer service queries.
  • Present a branded gift experience to the recipient. For the delivery of physical gift cards, ensure they’re packaged nicely, the card/carrier reflect your brand image, and it looks/feels like a gift.


  • Carry other brands’ gift cards in addition to your own brand’s gift cards. You want to promote your brand’s gift cards first (e.g., giving them premium placement within fixtures and/or checkstands), but it’s wise to sell non-competitive brands’ gift cards in your store. This is a convenient option for shoppers and a potentially profitable merchandise category for your business.
  • Make it clear to customers which NFC/contactless mobile payment options (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, etc.) are available, and ensure those transactions are seamless.
  • Consider BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) and curbside pickup of gift card orders.


  • Ensure it’s a mobile-friendly recipient experience, including the ability to add digital gift cards to a mobile wallet.
  • Test QR code scanning, paying for in-store purchases with a wallet within your app.
  • Optimize site search results for variations of the term “gift cards,” including “gifts.”

This is just a small sampling of the valuable and practical tips that are included in the full report. Download the 2023 US Merchant Gift Card Omnicommerce Evaluation, US Edition today to get all the best practices as well as insights into how retailers’ gift cards programs are trending year-over-year. Look for more detail on that YoY scoring in an article to come next week.

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