History of the Gift Card

A gift card or a gift voucher is a monetary equivalent offered by retailers in lieu of a non-monetary gift. Although gift cards are acquired by customers as a means to offer them as gifts to someone else, these cards are also used increasingly by businesses and retailers for their own customer loyalty programs. This is due to the fact that this promotional strategy helps to foster brand awareness, gain new customers, and retain existing ones. As a result, gift card promotions are widely employed by various businesses or merchants, regardless of size or industry.  Lets take a look at gift card history.

The origin of gift cards

Bulk gift cards, which are typically the same size as a credit card and may come with a magnetic strip or a bar code, first came into existence in 1994 when they were launched by Blockbuster Entertainment as a payment scheme. Gift certificates at Blockbuster were prevalent during this time, but due to the spread of counterfeit certificates produced via colored printers and copiers, the company decided to introduce gift cards as an alternative.

Eventually, both Neiman Marcus and Mobil caught up with the gift card trend, followed by Kmart when it introduced the Kmart Cash Card. Throughout the years, retailers and merchants have sought to replace their traditional gift certificate programs with gift card systems. Today, gift cards are so popular that they have become one of the most-wanted gifts by female shoppers and the 3rd most wanted gift by male buyers.

The unique advantages of gift cards

There are many benefits to using gift cards, and convenience is one of the most significant, and an increasing number of retailers prefer giving gift cards as promotional incentives because they are so convenient. Due to the customization options available in the creation of these gift cards, they have ceased to be labeled as an impersonal gift choice. Since these cards allow customers the freedom to get what they want, they are highly appreciated by many shoppers, too. With a gift card, your customers can buy whatever they want, when they want.

Gift cards as promotions

Clearly, gift cards come a long way from their humble beginnings during the mid-nineties. Today, these cards are considered an attractive, convenient, and effective promotional tool. Whether you need to convert leads into buying customers, get the best possible ROI out of an advertising campaign, or reduce customer defections, you can turn to promotional incentives such as gift cards to guarantee positive marketing results. Finally, gifts offer long-term rewards to your customers, unlike discounts and rebates. You can tie a gift card strategy with an existing advertising plan as way to enhance your ‘pull’ in your chosen promotional mix.

Promotional gift card strategies are also highly customizable, making them an excellent marketing tactic even for small businesses and online start-ups. The important thing is for you to work with a promotions company that will offer you amazing gift card promotions or even a rebate promotion at an exceptional price.

Planning to take advantage of wholesale gift cards to engage your loyal customers? Start working with us at Mpell Promotions, today!