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If you are running a small business, you’re probably interested in the many benefits of selling gift cards. Gift cards are a very powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. They’re easy to sell, provide you with a quick stream of revenue, and help bring in new customers.

And gift cards are incredibly popular. Most folks expect that your store will sell gift cards – and if you don’t, you could be missing out on quite a bit of profit. Selling gift cards helps increase public perception of your store, and lets you compete with nationwide “big-box” retailers.

While paper gift certificates may have been enough in days past, this is no longer the case. To take advantage of the popularity of gift cards, you need to design and sell your own gift cards – it’s just that simple.

In the past, the cost of gift cards made them inaccessible to many small businesses. Today, however, more and more gift card networks sell gift cards to retailers that are affordable, customizable, and easy to use with most POS systems. It’s easier than ever to begin selling gift cards at your small business.

Still, creating your own gift card program is a large undertaking, especially when it comes to designing and displaying your gift cards. You need to understand the basics of gift card design and customization.

In this article, EJ Gift Cards will help you understand the basics of gift card design. We’ll take a look at some basic design and display strategies that will help you create attractive, visually-appealing gift cards. Take a look, and learn more about how selling gift cards can help your business thrive!

1. Catch Your Customer’s Attention With Unique Materials And Designs

This is a great idea if you’re just beginning your gift card program. You want to catch the attention of your customers – and make them aware of your new gift card program. Using unique materials for your gift cards is a fantastic way to do so. Here are a few examples of materials you could use in your gift cards:

  • Wood – Companies like Sustainable Cards offer gift cards that are built completely out of wood materials. These cards are a bit more expensive than traditional PVC cards, but have a lower ecological footprint, and have a unique and appealing visual texture.

    Wood gift cards are a great choice if you run a business that’s environmentally-conscious, such as an organic food store, a specialty coffee shop, or a similar business.

    A wood gift card helps reinforce your brand identity as environmentally-friendly, and truly sets you apart from other local businesses.

  • Foil – Custom gift cards can be created with foil overlays or underlays. This helps add some “flash” to your card, and helps your gift cards stand out and catch consumer attention.

    Foil cards are especially popular around the holidays – many retailers offer gift cards with foil ribbon designs, and holographic images that are eye-catching and seasonally-themed.
  • Unique Shapes – Who says that your gift card has to just be a plain rectangle? To be sure, it’s usually a good idea to keep your gift card around the same dimensions as a standard card, but if you partner with the right gift card manufacturer, you can easily make some subtle modifications that help your card stand out.

    For example, if you run a local movie theater, you could create gift cards that look like old-fashioned movie tickets – by scalloping the edges and creating a design that says “admit one”, you can make your gift cards stand out, and bring in more customers! The potential for unique designs is endless. Just use your imagination! 

These are just a few of the best ways you can sell gift cards more effectively with unique designs. So think about what’s appropriate for your business, and what sort of design elements you can use to stand out!

2. Invest In Seasonal Gift Cards

Holiday-specific and seasonal gift cards are common among major retailers for a simple reason – they work! Whether it’s for a Christmas stocking stuffer, a Valentine’s present, or a graduation gift, customized seasonal gift cards are very appealing to customers.

However, we understand that investing in holiday-specific gift cards costs more than just designing a few cards that can be used all-year-round. So if you don’t want to buy gift cards for holidays like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, you should consider at least investing in seasonal gift cards.

You can create gift cards that are themed for winter, fall, spring, and summer. This helps you take advantage of the benefits of seasonal gift card sales, but doesn’t require you to invest in dozens of unique designs and gift cards.

As your business grows, you can phase these seasonal cards out – and replace or augment them with gift cards that are designed specifically for particular holidays.

3. Consider Truly Custom Gift Cards, Instead Of “Standard” Cards

We know that cost is a huge factor when it comes to selling gift cards for your small business. You may not have a lot of capital to invest in high-quality, customized gift cards. If this is the case, you may be considering “standard” gift cards, sold by many gift card providers.

These gift cards are quite simple and plain, and usually are only customized with your business’s logo. While they are affordable, they are not very visually appealing. Because of this, we recommend that you seriously consider custom gift cards.

When you create custom gift cards, you’re able to customize every aspect and design element of your card. You can choose to add features like unique materials – foil and metals, for example – and customize the colors of your gift card.

Usually, if you choose to create custom gift cards, your gift card partner will also provide you with professional design services. You can provide these designers with your input and information about the gift card designs that you’re interested in, and they can create a variety of different custom-designed cards.

Even though they’re more expensive than plain, standard gift cards, custom gift cards are worth the investment. Because they’re of the same quality as gift cards used in big-box stores, they will help your business seem more professional and legitimate – and with beautiful designs and unique materials, you can get more customers to purchase your gift cards.

4. Keep Things Simple

Seasonal Gift Cards

Simplicity is essential when it comes to designing gift cards. You want to create gift cards that are unique and visually appealing – but if you try to cram too much information, too many design elements, or other detail onto your card, it’s not going to be effective.

So when working with a designer, or brainstorming your own gift card designs, focus on keeping thing simple. You want to maximize visual impact with clearly visible branding information, and create a streamlined design that will make customers want to buy your gift cards.

5. Make Sure Your Logo Is Clearly Visible

Gift cards are a great marketing tool. Whenever someone buys a gift card from you, they’re essentially carrying a miniature billboard – and giving free advertising to your company!

Because of this, your logo should be “front-and-center” on your gift cards. While you are free to incorporate any design elements you want, your logo should always be the focus of your gift card.

This has a variety of benefits. It makes your cards easier to spot on store displays – thus increasing the chances that you’ll sell more gift cards. In addition, it helps your customers store and organize their gift cards more effectively. Finally, it helps reinforce your brand identity, and remind your customers about their gift cards.

So when thinking about a gift card design strategy, focus on how you can promote your business with proper branding and logo design. Your efforts are sure to pay off.

6. Complement Gift Cards With Card Holders, Customized Displays

Gift cards are incredibly popular – but they don’t just sell themselves. To truly benefit from selling gift cards, you’ll need to invest in other custom-branded marketing materials. These can include:

  • Gift card displays – A simple gift card display is a great way to advertise and sell your gift cards. Usually, gift card displays are placed on end-caps, and at checkout counters. This helps you sell gift cards to impulse buyers – and reminds all of your customers that your store offers gift cards.

    We recommend investing in customized gift card displays that are branded for your business. This will help attract customer attention, and aid you in selling more gift cards.
  • Card holders – Gift card holders are great to have, especially around the holiday season. If you don’t want to purchase seasonally-themed gift cards, you can invest in seasonal card holders – and sell generic gift cards alongside these card holders.
  • Gift card hangers – Gift card hangers are usually hung up around checkout counters, and offer you another way to display and show off your gift cards.

The key here is reminding your customers that you sell gift cards. This is especially critical when you are just beginning your gift card program. Your gift cards should be easily accessible, clearly visible, and accented by custom-branded gift card displays and card holders.

7. Don’t Forget About Security Features

Gift card fraud is a real problem. Luckily for you, small businesses are not typically victims of large scale gift card fraud. However, this does not mean that you can skimp on security features for your gift cards. Here are a few security features you should consider using when designing new gift cards:

  • Don’t print gift card numbers on the card – If you are not selling products online with gift cards, there’s no real reason to have the gift card number printed on your card. If your gift cards have a full, printed number, you may be at risk of gift card fraud – thieves could take photos of the number and then use this information to clone duplicate gift cards, and spend them at your store.
  • Consider encrypted magnetic strips – Gift cards that use encrypted magnetic strips are much less vulnerable to fraud. If your gift card does not use encryption, thieves and fraudsters could simply scan the gift card using a third-party gift card reader, and get information about the gift card number.

    Encrypted gift cards can only be read by the POS system that is used at your store. This reduces your risk of fraud, and keeps you safe from common gift card scams.
  • Make sure your gift cards don’t use sequential numbers – In one of our previous posts, we looked at a computer security expert who found out that gift cards at use in major chains like Chipotle used sequential gift card numbers.

    Essentially, he found out that if he was able to take a few unused gift cards, he could figure out how the pattern of the numbers worked – and use this information to defraud these companies.

    Of course, he didn’t do so – instead, he publicized his findings. So when you’re considering a new gift card partner, ask them about security features in their gift cards – and whether or not they use sequential numbers on their gift cards. Doing so can protect you from gift card fraud.

While you’re unlikely to be the victim of large-scale gift card fraud, these security features are still important. When you sell gift cards to customers, you want to make sure that they are protected from common gift card fraud, and that you do not lose money to thieves.

Follow These Tips For A Successful Gift Card Program!

Designing gift cards is not easy. However, by following these helpful tips as you design your gift cards, you can sell more gift cards, market your business more effectively, and protect yourself against fraud.

Interested in learning more about gift cards for small businesses? Take a look at the EJ Gift Cards blog! At EJ Gift Cards, we’re not just the #1 online buyer for selling gift cards online – we’re gift card experts.

So whether you’re looking to sell gift cards online for cash, or you’re just interested in learning more about the gift card market, visit EJ Gift Cards today!