7 reasons these real-world merchants use (and love) gift cards

Editorial Team

6 min read
Person entering gift card info on phone

Wondering if offering gift cards makes sense for your business? Check out why these real-world merchants use (and love) gift cards.

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Gift cards can be a serious boon for businesses and customers. They work so well, in fact, that the gift card market has grown to over $300 billion globally.

Offering merchants the ability to boost sales and even reduce fraud, gift cards generally come in two flavors: the traditional physical gift card and the newer digital gift card (aka eGift card). And they can be an effective addition to most merchant marketing strategies–whether for a retail, service, or food business. 

What’s even better, Clover makes setting up and managing a gift card program quick and easy for merchants with Clover® POS systems.

Check out 7 reasons these merchants are using gift cards to boost their sales, reach, and brand–all with Clover.

1. They can help merchants move unique inventory items 

Simply, they help match unique items to the consumers who’ll love them.

Merchant – Lisa Samar owns Daisy’s Doghouse, a boutique-style shop in Buffalo, NY, “where you and your pet can meet, mingle, sniff, chat, sniff, learn, shop, and play.” Samar stocks only high-quality items that she herself would use or give as a gift. 

Why she loves gift cards – Pet items are personal, and that can mean finding the right gift for a loved one’s pet is easier said than done. To help her customers treat their friends to the Daisy’s Doghouse experience and a unique gift, Samar chose to offer gift cards. And they’re proving to be a helpful add-on product for “people who know people who have dogs, that know that they shop at my store,” as Samar explains.

2. They can broaden the reach of a business beyond its local community

Gift cards can even be  used to differentiate a business from its competitors.

Merchant – Owned by Dionne Christian, Revolution Bakery in Santa Fe, NM, sells delectable gluten-free bread and pastries. The bakery has a dedicated base of health-conscious customers and has used word of mouth to grow its brand locally. 

Why she loves gift cards – Christian launched her gift card program during the pandemic. She explains: “When Covid hit, everybody was buying gift cards to support me as a local business. I was grateful that I had the opportunity to offer physical gift cards, which set me apart from other businesses. I have little tiny gift boxes for the gift cards, too. People are really excited that it’s one-stop shopping. You can buy your baked goods and grab a gift card!” Now, she continues to use physical gift cards to nurture her local customer base and extends her reach beyond the local market with digital gift cards that can be redeemed online. 

3. They’re a simple way for merchants to recognize and reward loyal customers

Even better, they can turn loyal customers into champions.

Merchant – Jay Spencer, owner of French Press Bakery & Cafe in Needham, Massachusetts offers incredible french pastries, light lunches, and delicious coffee. 

Why he loves gift cards – When Spencer wanted to amp up marketing efforts, recognize his VIP customers, and fuel word-of-mouth marketing, he launched a gift card program. Offering his most loyal customers gift cards made it easier for them to share the love with friends and family and bring new customers into the shop. The icing on the pastry, so to speak, is that he found launching a gift card program with Clover very easy.

4. They contribute to a more seamless shopping experience 

And, by offering an easy way to pay both in-store and online, they can boost sales, too.

Merchant – In 2020, Jennifer and Brandt DeLorenzo took over what they called an “ugly” space in the town of Nazareth, PA, and transformed it into Curious Plantaholic, a one-stop shop for greenery of all shapes and sizes. Now, they’re offering curious plant seekers a unique inventory of plants in two locations and online.

Why they love gift cards – Choosing the best-fit plant for home is a very personal decision that depends on a homeowner’s penchant for texture, color, and size, to name just a few considerations. That’s why the DeLorenzos turned to a gift card program–to help their customers buy gifts for others. In turn, gift cards helped them boost sales across both locations and online, broadening their customer base even further. To encourage customers to buy something for themselves, they also offer a 10% discount on another item when they buy a gift card. That boosts gift card sales, rewards customers with a good deal, and ups sales.

5. They empower customers to share unique experiences

What’s more, they encourage repeat business.

Merchant – Terri Grady is co-owner of 511 Rose, a restaurant and bar where patrons can enjoy live music and shop an eclectic collection of unique home decor and antiques. 

Why she loves gift cards – Almost everything in 511 Rose is for sale, so the Gradys wanted to provide customers a way to share the experience with others. They launched a gift card program to offer customers–especially new customers–more opportunities to enjoy 511 Rose themselves and share the “planes, trains, and automobiles” experience, as she describes it, with others.

6. They can keep cash flowing

Gift cards can even help a business stay solvent in an insecure market.

Merchant – Kat Jones carried on a family tradition and realized a dream when she started her own salon, Hair Studio 18, in Denton, Texas.

Why she loves gift cards – During pandemic shutdowns, Jones needed to figure out a creative way to keep cash flowing and her business afloat. Enter gift cards. She decided to offer gift cards to her customers as a way for them to prepay for services they or their friends and family could use when the hair salon re-opened. Now, on the other side of the pandemic, Jones credits gift cards for keeping her business solvent through the pandemic.

7. They can bolster upsales

That is, consumers tend to spend more than the value of the gift card. 

Merchant – Inspired by their passion for “junking” and nurtured by careers with a national retailer, Steve and Jill Mitchael launched their dream retirement venture–72 West, an antique boutique.

Why they love gift cards – Because 72 West offers unique and personal goods, the Mitchaels needed a way to engage customers who might otherwise not spend money at their eclectic antique and one-of-a-kind gift store. They turned to gift cards. And gift cards have been a boon to sales–and even some marriages. As Steve notes, customers tend to spend more than the amount of the gift card–especially husbands who don’t know exactly what to buy for their wives. As our [Clover business consultant] always says, ‘It’s free money.’ And we like free money. So to us, it’s crazy if you don’t do gift cards.”

Every day Clover helps merchants jump start their businesses and gift card programs. See for yourself how Clover could help your business.