The holidays. For many, it’s a time of celebration and joy. For merchants and vendors alike, it’s the season they spend the rest of the year thinking about. For us at GCN, the holiday season is full of gift card displays for our yearly competitive shop analysis. This year, it also meant the opportunity to tackle a multi-faceted benchmarking project developed by our Think Tank members.
Back in December, the GCN team took on the task of going to over 150 physical stores, in five different states, to capture data about gift card trends and best practices. Big box, specialty, luxury, discount, you name the category, and we can tell you what the general trends were last year. In fact, we had so many pictures and so much data we couldn’t wait to start talking about our learnings from the 2016 holiday competitive shop, we had to share with the members!
In January, we completely revamped our monthly merchant forum meetings. (Our merchant forum is a free benefit to all merchant and merchant affiliate members, learn more!) We made sure to keep the casual nature or the meetings that everyone loves, but also started to include visual pieces from the competitive shop. Throughout the first part of the year, we’ve looked at select in-store examples from different industries that the GCN team felt represented basic best practices for physical gift card programs.
All of our merchant members that joined us had a sneak peek at what we were working on, as well as an opportunity to vote for the best of winners, from the brands selected by GCN. It was a fun process that led to creative and new insights about elements of an overall in-store gift card display and program.
Once we understood the makings of a stand-out gift card program from the perspective of merchants, we took it to the next level and asked,
“What about industries not included?”
For those of us in the gift card and branded currency industry, it’s easy to think that gift cards are a given, but there are so many types of businesses that could benefit from gift cards, but haven’t developed a program.
For this specific project, we looked tackled service based businesses such as salons and independent stylists with the brand, B:Style. Using the winners from our Best Of in-store awards, a full gift card program was developed with promos, packaging, signage, and design strategy for an independent stylist. It was a great exercise to capture current best-practices and push the industry forward by applying those elements in a fun new way.
We can’t wait to take on the next project!
To see the full educational piece, complete with pictures of the winners as well as the new inspired concepts, click here. Please note-this content is for GCN members Scholar and above.
For more information about about our monthly merchant best practices forum, click here.