Tips for Promoting Gift Card Sales This Holiday Season

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According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) Gift Card Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, gift card sales this holiday season will total $26.3 billion, compared to $24.8 billion in 2006. And the average consumer will spend about $6 more on gift cards than they did last year ($122.59 versus $116.51 in 2006)." NRF attributes the projected increase, in part, to gift cards' convenience; however, NRF is warning shoppers to be smart when buying gift cards and to be aware of hidden fees and the important differences between gift cards purchased in the store and those that come from credit card companies and banks.

To help staff at Book Sense gift card stores promote sales and answer questions from consumers, Jill Perlstein, ABA's director of member services, offers the following talking points.

Benefits for Your Customers

Book Sense Gift Cards ...

  • Never expire;

  • Never lose value;

  • Have no hidden fees;

  • Make great gifts for everyone (in or out of town);

  • If lost or stolen, can be replaced at the store's discretion with proof of purchase or original sales receipt;

  • Are redeemable in more than 380 independent bookstores nationwide. Look for the "Accepts Book Sense Gift Cards" notation on the Store Search;

  • Are redeemable on the e-commerce websites of more than 125 independent bookstores (look for the gift card icon on the individual website or contact the bookstore for details);

  • And with a call to 1-888-BookSense consumers can easily find the closest redeeming bookstore.

Benefits for Bookstores
  • Book Sense Gift Cards are recyclable and can be reloaded by an authorized bookseller;

  • Unspent balances stay on cards;

  • A variety of designs allow stores to choose those most likely to meet customers' needs and tastes. There are currently 11 generic designs available;

  • Two additional generic designs, "Main Street" sponsored by Scholastic and "You're Great!" sponsored by Gotham Books, are free and may be ordered, along with other cards, on the Book Sense gift card reorder site. Booksellers pay to add an imprint, if desired, and for shipping and handling;

  • Inactive gift cards (or old cards on hold) placed near the cash register or displayed throughout the store increase impulse buys;

  • Booksellers can print all or part of the Directory of Participating Bookstores

  • 24-hour customer service and support is available;

  • A variety of reports make bookkeeping easy;

  • Transactions take place in real-time;

  • Gift cards make great incentives or rewards for staff as well as for customers;

  • Gift cards are excellent promotional tools:

    Use them as you would a business card: Hand out (or distribute) cards having a small monetary value and invite potential customers to check out your bookstore;

    Send loaded gift cards to your best customers and invite them to a special shopping event at your store;

    Create a contest where the prize is a gift card.

  • And, Book Sense gift cards are a great complement to shop local campaigns.

For answers to all your questions, visit the Book Sense Gift Card page on