Why You Need Farm Gift Certificates

Have you ventured into the realm of gift certificates yet?  Because you are a seasonal businesses, with an uncertain crop, you may feel uneasy about giving out gift cards.  I certainly didn’t dare when my crop was below an acre and I was turning customers away by the hundreds because I didn’t have enough strawberries for everyone who wanted them.

However, consider your farm.  If you are fairly confident that you will have a harvest, barring a natural disaster, and if you would like to grow your number of sales and per person transaction amount, gift cards have great potential for you.

Have you heard the statistics about gift card use in America?

  • – As of 2015, nearly 93% of American consumers surveyed have either given or sent a gift card.
  • – 65% of gift card holders spend an extra 38% beyond the value of the card.
  • – Total volume of gift cards is projected to reach $160 billion by 2018.
  • – $1 billion gift cards went unused in 2013 compared to $750 million in 2014.
  • – 40% of consumers surveyed have lost a plastic gift card. (GiftCardGranny)

Give Away $5.00 Gift Certificates:
Whiz Bang Retailer Bob Negen has spoken to MFVGA groups many times about the need to keep $5.00 gift certificates in your purse at all times, and to pass them out to everyone you meet.  I give them out stapled to Valentine treats, to random people in grocery aisles, teachers, mailmen and anyone who has done me a favor.  Every time people see your $5.00 in their wallet, they are reminded to make a priority of getting to your farm before your short season is done.

Pay People With Larger Certificates:
Think of people who might accept payment in the form of gift certificates to your farm.  I’ve used farm certificates to pay the pastor who married my son, the lady who did my daughter’s prom hairdo, the farmer who sold us baby calves, the secretary who printed my postcards, and the electrician who fixed my air conditioning.  Which of the people in your lives would accept farm certificates in place of cash?

Actively Sell Magnetic and eGift Cards:
Thanks to this article from the Gift Card Girl, and my need to grow my sales by 50% this summer, I’ve decided to actively sell magnetic and eGift Cards.  There are dozens of on-line options to do this, but  because I use Square at my Point of Sale (POS), I decided to go with their closed-loop gift card system.  There are complete directions for doing this inside the Square account.  Check your POS system for gift card options.

1. Order magnetic cards: I ordered a starter pack of 250 cards at $1.00 each.

2. Set up eGifting: Square has an option for eGifting, which I’ve now activated and need to promote.  It is a bit irritating, because people must pay in separate places online for physical gift cards and eGift cards, but I don’t see any other solutions without using a monthly paid gift card subscription service such as the Gift Card Cafe. If you have a better solution, please share!

3. Promote and sell through your website and email: I used the Square on-line store to create “physical gift card” options.  Then, I made button links to this store and the eGift store and placed them on my website.  I plan to do the same thing in my emails, with an emphasis on Mother’s Day Sales.

4. Sell at your front desk:  I ordered some acrylic gift card holders to place by my POS to drive sales.  The magnetic cards in the holders will have no value until we use Square to activate them, so theft will not be an issue.

5. Sell through your local school: I contacted my local school and had them offer the cards through their SCRIP retail fundraiser program.  I chose $10 and $25 denominations at a 10% discount.  I was delighted when the school immediately sent out an email to the thousands of people on their email list letting them know that we are now in the SCRIP system.  Does your local school have a SCRIP fundraising program?

The statistics are convicting: Gift cards can increase your bottom line.  If you are looking for ways to increase the amount of product you sell, gift certificates may be a valuable tool.  I’ll be sure to let you know next fall how many gift card dollars I sold, which methods were the most successful, and anything I will do differently next year! 

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