How to sell £350,000 in gift cards through corporate sales

In a 2016 Incentive Research Foundation survey, 81% of UK companies were offering non-cash rewards to staff, with 71% having reward and recognition budgets

In a 2016 Incentive Research Foundation survey, 81% of UK companies were offering non-cash rewards to staff, with 71% having reward and recognition budgets of £100,000 and under. The most common amount for businesses to spend per employee was £200-£499. The GCVA’s 2020 Gift Card and Voucher Sales Analysis found that b2b sales grew by 26.3%, with employee benefits accounting for two thirds of b2b gift card sales. Isn’t it time your local gift card program got its fair share of this market, giving businesses in your area a local choice for rewarding staff? Here, we’ll tell you how you can sell £350,000 in gift cards through bulk orders.

1. Be proactive and start early. Get employers involved with your gift card program from the start so they feel ownership of the program. This strategy was used to great effect in Ballinrobe, Ireland. In two months this gift card program secured £198,000 in sales- well on their way to £350,000 in their first year. And be prepared to get on the phone and proactively reach out to new and old contacts. In Downtown Peterborough, they approached employers who had purchased their paper gift certificate in the past, taking the equivalent of £50,000 in orders in the first month of their new Boro Gift Card, with 80% of sales from local employers.

2. The local hook. The reason local businesses will buy your local gift cards over cards from the big online retailers is precisely because they are local employers that are invested in the success of the local community. Use the local hook in your pitch to businesses and don’t be afraid to lead with the message that their town or city needs their help, Amazon doesn’t. Strong, successful local communities benefit everyone, and they could be a part of that.

3. Prioritise service. Often the difference between buying your local gift card and an Amazon gift card is the customer service and personalised attention you can offer. Over in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, a town with a population of 11,000, they increased their bulk sales by 37% in 2020 with a strategy that prioritised service. Each employer order was hand delivered with a personal thank you for supporting local and buying the gift card. You goal is to make it really easy to buy from you again.

4. Plan your campaign. With shop local as a central theme, plan your campaign to draw corporates in. Could you offer a limited release for employers or a discount? Something that gives an added incentive for employers to buy your local gift card for their staff. That’s exactly what they did with the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card, this Stay and Savour tourism campaign featured a 20% discount, and cards released in phases, including an allocation for corporates. Little wonder that this program turned into a £1.2 million project in the first month. 

5. Find your target businesses. When you’re planning which local employers to target, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can only talk to businesses in your immediate or BID area. Instead, widen your net and prepare a list of your top 50-75 businesses to contact. Aim to speak with the executive assistant or administrator to the CEO, or the office manager. It’s sensible to zero in on the largest employers, but don’t discount the small businesses either- smaller employers will often buy less cards but at a higher order value. 

6. Build relationships. Businesses need to plan expenditure many months in advance, if they’re not able to buy your gift card this year, then chances are they will be able to next year. Or, if they only place a small order in year 1, that order value could increase next year. Investing in relationship building keeps your gift card program front of mind, ready for when budgets are set. This approach worked well in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland with local employers doubling their gift card orders in 2020, after first buying the gift card when it launched in 2017.

7. Move beyond the seasonal sales. It’s tempting to think that corporate orders are only relevant at Christmas, not so! Employees need rewards and incentives all through the year, for overtime worked, sales targets achieved, projects completed, and your gift card could be just what they need. It’s worth investing in corporate sales and promotions all through the year. 

8. Think outside of the box. If you’re going all out to achieve £350,000 in gift card sales through local employers, it’s time to think outside of the box. In Kirkwall in Scotland, their local gift card was purchased by a local charitable trust for distribution to local families in need. And in Sunderland, their gift card was purchased by the local council to go out to families. So, as well as your ‘typical’ employers, local government, charities and other businesses can all be buyers for your gift card.

9. Finally, remember Pareto. The Pareto principle works on the basis that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers, and that’s definitely the case for your corporate sales where numbers are few but order values are high. Like in Downtown Peterborough, which took orders from local employers at up to £5000 per order. Not only that, but bulk orders tend to take less time too.

Similar posts

Get notified on the latest Miconex News

Be the first to know about new case studies and Miconex news.