Gift Cards Retail Trends



According to Bizrate Insights, a survey conducted among consumers of 5000 eCommerce retailers via an online survey presented immediately after completing a purchase, Gift Cards are seen to be preferred by Millennials, with over 70 percent of 18-34 years, hoping to receive Gift Cards. However, there is a gap among consumers hoping to receive a Gift Card and those who plan to buy a Gift card. The survey was, conducted among 11,067 online buyers, ages 18 and over, in the U.S. and Canada and carried out between November 1, 2015 and November 8, 2015.

According to Card Hub, the size of Gift Card market is projected to grow over the next two years. In a research shared by CEB TowerGroup, Gift cards represent 18 percent of the money spent by consumers on Holiday purchases and eGifting is likely to trend upwards. The preferred  Gift Cards categories that buyers plan to purchase for Holiday season are Restaurants, Department Store, Coffee Shops, Entertainment and Electronics Store.

GiftcardsresearchRetailers targeting Holiday Shoppers have designed offers on Gift cards that are focused on customers interests and build on the experiential gifting. The search queries for Gift cards increase in the first two weeks of December and the top search queries for 2015 thus far are restaurant gift cards, best gift cards.


Consumer Focused Approach

Walmart’s robust offering of Gift Cards targeted at Movies and Music fans as wells  restaurant gift cards, provide a wide choice to buyers who want to buy Gift Cards that are likely to be preferred by the target audience. The choice of  retail gift cards provide an offering for consumers that are looking at choosing gifts based on interests. The gift cards value proposition offers a complete suite of gift options for different categories from Apparel, Dining to Entertainment. Combining the products with an e-gift delivery option makes for a comprehensive Gift Card experience from product design to delivery stage. Gift card experience from Walmart is designed around the consumer, with Branding and Design and the User Interface enhanced for Discovery.




Key Takeaway 

Design your Gift card strategy around your core target audience buyer persona, offering different options, with branding and content experience enhanced for mobile discovery. Create a special icon to flag products that have an email delivery option or a special price offer, as can be seen for Walmart’s eCard.

Pricing Focus

Amazon has designed special offers targeted at buyers of speciality cards, with a 20 percent off for buyers of gift cards, with special packs designed for up-selling. Target has also focused on creating special price offers for gift cards and running special offers to promote gift cards.

Amazon’s gift cards strategy focuses on creating a value proposition based on pricing and the choice of shopping all gift cards at one place. The choice that is available promises at reducing stress usually associated with finding the right gift.


Key Takeaway 

Design your Gift card strategy around the different Gifting needs of the consumer. Usually customers looking for deals and offers around holiday season tend to buy into value offers that can be redeemed after the Christmas sales.

Giving a choice of retail brands adds choice for consumers with the possibility to find the right gift for different recepients.

Experiential Rewards

Sam’s  Club has created experiences for Motor Sports Enthusiasts, that features racing Experiences and different Drive packages. Sam’s Club includes  Gift Cards rating that lets customers choose and decide from popular cards that are featured in  “Popular Products” section.




Key Takeaway 

Designing experiential rewards gift cards engages audiences for your brand with one of a kind offers that are not likely to be available off the shelf. Offering Experiential rewards Gift Cards are likely to create greater buzz and social media sharing for Gift Cards.

Price Match Guarantee

Best Buy offers consumers to choose from the options available with a Price match guarantee.


Key Takeaway 

Offering Price Match Guarantee on Gift Cards is likely to resonate with audiences as it takes the stress away for Gift Card Shoppers.

Limited Edition Gift Cards

Starbucks  Limited Edition holiday cards, embellished with Swarovski crystals in Silver and Blue are aimed at engaging audiences with a Lifestyle aspiration, where the card design is the reward itself. The Gift cards are an extension of other merchandise available at Starbucks with Crystal and Gold embellishments.




Starbucks continues to promote Holiday cards with Gift Cards Messaging.

Key Takeaway 

Designing Limited Edition Gift Cards are  a way to engage audiences for key occasions that reward your loyal customers.

Gift Card As A Reward


Offering a Gift card linked to a purchase as can be seen from Target’s USD 100 Card linked to an Apple Watch purchase. Linking a free gift card offer with a purchase can help retailers boost sales with a special pricing offer linked to Gift Cards. Allowing time bound offers on Gift cards can further help retailers divert spend in lean sales months.

Key Takeaway

Gift Cards can increase sales when used as an incentive and increase sales during low season months.

Gift Card Statistics




Unwrapping Social Media Campaigns


sharesContent Amplification with Shares on Social media has grown by 27 percent in 2015 over 2014, making audience engagement with shareable content a priority for publishers and brands. Likes and comments make for 86 percent of the overall social media actions.  Social Media posts sharing grew by  27 percent as compared to likes and comments that grew by 14 percent YOY, making shareable campaign content as a lead engagement tactic for Holiday season. Brands that are active with festive themed campaigns evoke emotions from consumers that is viewed as one of the key motivators for content sharing according to a study by Shareablee.


Brand Content that prioritizes shareability increases engagement and awareness for Brand Campaigns. Coupling the Brand content with moments that matter for the mobile millennials can boost activation for your brand resulting in greater sales and conversion. Retail Brands social media “post shares” grew by 66 percent ahead of Media publishing, however, accounted for 4 percent share of voice amplification, compared to 38 percent share of voice amplification for publishing.

Though campaigns that feature influencers and user-generated content are likely to be amplified more, brands have seen a similar amplification with use of more popular themes such as Star Wars toys and content that gets reposted as a regram with a popular holiday linked theme. The content that is most likely to be shared is seen to help audiences with Discovery, has utility or evokes an emotion.


BuzzFeed Food one of the top ten publishers, grew by 31 percent over 2014 in the first three-quarters after Fox News and BuzzFeed Video, primarily with recipes led content and engaging content formats.





Macy’s Strategy for Holidays has something for everyone on Social Media, right from an Ugly Sweater party to a Hover-board.

According to a Shareablee Study, analyzing Social Media posts for 2015, Media and Entertainment and Media Publishing dominated social media  in the US with 1.7 billion and 1.2 billion total shares from January to November 2015, respectively. The media and entertainment category is led by Fox News with more than 37.8 million shares, while BuzzFeed Food tops the media publishing category with 44.5 million shares.

Brand Content makes for 11 percent of all Social media actions. According to the study, “Year to date in the U.S., brands have published 14.1 million posts on Facebook, resulting in 32 billion actions (likes, comments, shares) with consumers, of which 11 percent involved sharing of a brand’s content”.

As per Shareablee CEO Tania Yuki, “Shares of brands’ content on Facebook have grown by 30 percent year to date compared to 2014, and this has driven increased impressions, affecting brand awareness. Understanding what content consumers share on social media can help marketers reach more audiences while also being more efficient with their social spend.”

Macy’s Social Media campaign engage the holiday shopper with campaigns that are targeted at different segments right from teens to beauty and fragrances shoppers, with a chance to be featured on Macy’s site. Macy’s social media engagement for November was one of the highest among Retail Brands with over 580,000 actions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube from 15.4 million fans and followers.

As per Shareablee, one of the key drivers for social media engagement is emotions. The emotions that inspire shares for genders may vary with happiness for women and excitement for men. According to Shareablee the key drivers for Social Media engagement, are:

Social proof, Emotions, Utility and Storytelling


Macy’s Social Media engagement across segments with  an emotive theme, engages audiences with inspiring gifting ideas. In a campaign featured by Shareablee, where social media engagement, was based on personal stories with User Generated Content drove 61 percent of social media actions.

Christmas-Gift-Boxes-13 Unwrapping Macy’s Brand Content Box

Segmenting your audience and engagement based on inspiring gift ideas makes for a more engaging campaign. For engaging audiences through the Holiday season Macy’s has combined social media engagement with brand activation idea such as ‘Ugly Holiday Sweater Party” in different venues for which the tickets can be obtained with Shopping at Macy’s.



Retail Brand Content Shares have grown by 66 percent ahead of Publishing and TV on Facebook and Twitter. Campaign Content that has been seen as shareable has led to actions that make for more than 50 percent of all social media actions for the brand.




Unwrapping Starbucks Brand Content Box

LildebbieStarbucks Social media engagement relies on making audiences look good with their peers by being in the know, which is one of the motivators for sharing content. Starbucks strategy of being someone for everyone makes for content that resonates on every occasion.



Unwrapping Kohl’s Brand Content Box


Digital Video and popular theme such as Star Wars can bring greater engagement, with content that is most likely to be shared. Kohl’s used storytelling approach making for the right holiday season engagement.

Kohl’s Activation Strategy on social media combined Call-to-Action on Social Media Posts for engagement and conversion.

Kohl’s has effectively used Brand Marketing approach, while engaging audiences with the popular “Star Wars” theme.

Little Debbie


Little Debbie partnered with The Peanuts movie to create exclusive offers with Peanuts and gang, creating one of a kind emotional engagement, that is likely to make content that strikes a chord with the target audience.


Debbierange Emotionaevo

Little Debbie’s engagement with products that are right for Christmas such as Christmas Santa Brownies with a site that features product locator, which helps audiences find the product that they are looking for and share the same on social media.


Unwrapping Little Debbie’s Brand Content Box


Little Debbie engages audiences with content with customized brand content complete with products that are just right to make your holidays special.



Walmart’s retailtainment strategy targeted at Gift shoppers with content centered around content usefulness make for an engaging Brand Content experience. From Holiday Stocking stuffers shoppable with Walmart gift guides to DIY ideas for entertaining, Walmart has the entire Brand content platter with engaging tunes belted out by Craig Robinson.

Unwrapping Walmart’s Brand Content Box


Walmart’s segmentation strategy that focuses on audiences who gift shop and entertain together with influencer posts, make for a cohesive content offering, that engages audiences with diverse interests.


For a List of Hundred ideas to inspire your Brand content, Click here.

Five Ways To Create Content For Retargeting


Creating Content for engaging and retargeting The Holiday Shopper, can make all the difference to your campaign performance, from generating awareness to increasing conversions.  As you have a large set of audience that may have visited your brand’s site, you may choose to select a sub-segment for retargeting depending on your campaign objective. To know more about Best Practices For Cross-Device Mobile Retargeting, Click here.

Here are five ways to create content for retargeting audiences during the Holiday Season.

Content With Purpose

Walmart’s content for Holiday Season with ideas that can be navigated to from the main menu focuses on making holiday entertainment moments rewarding for engaged content users with tips and tricks, that mark the holiday season celebrations. One of the Features posted on Walmart’s Celebrations planning section, is tips on setting a Hot Chocolate Bar.


Among other recipe ideas Walmart’s site allows for user reviews that users can browse through for inspiration. The ideas for cup-cake recipes  have a featured section with recommended recipes that helps users browse through other recipes of interest.

For customers who are looking at gifts for holidays can pick one of the designed cards for Christmas, that adds to the Party Fun.


Walmart’s content  has been designed to give a seamless experience for users who are looking at planning and entertaining. With a clear content strategy Walmart has engaged segments of Gift shoppers as well as those that entertain at home.

Takeaway: Create content that will answer search queries for all segments of Holiday Shoppers. In the content experience created by Walmart, audiences that are from different segments, right from Gift shoppers to those planning holiday parties are likely to discover content options.

Advertising:  Google’s  RLSA can help you promote your content for engaging the users that have browsed your retail site, but have not purchased. For Cart abandoners, targeting audiences with content campaigns based on intent or behavioral signals can repurpose content for relevant search queries.

  • intent: user intent as expressed by the search term entered into the Google Search engine
  • behavioral signal: a previous visit to your website is generally a strong signal that the user is more likely to convert on your site than a searcher who has not yet visited your site

Google’s Text messaging can help you reach audiences that may have looked up your offers and deals for special promotions,targeting them with a text messaging campaign to sign up for content updates can turn them into repeat visitors.

adwords-text-message-adsContent text

Content That Generates Interest

Know how your audiences are discovering content and promote your content with posts featured for those publishers. The Huffington Post, features deals for Star Wars fans with links to the sites where audiences are most likely to find the merchandise, with links to the landing page. In the example of the image below, Sphero – BB 8, customers can find the Star Wars merchandise at Best Buy or The post features the two options, where users can decide on the


Takeaway: Publisher content that your users are most likely to be looking for can feature brand content such as reviews that can help you upsell or convert .

Advertising:  Facebook’s  Social Media Posts from publishers provide a greater reach and obtain a higher number of viral impressions. Update the product Landing page with user-generated content that audiences are most likely to share.

Content That Is Suitable

The Cheesecake Factory posts remind audiences about relevance of  Desserts for the holiday menu.

The promotion on Gift card, engages audience with rewards that are extended post the holiday season.  For every $25 in gift cards purchased audiences receive a complimentary slice of cheesecake.

Takeaway : Create content that will answer a specific query within a context. In the content experience created by The Cheesecake Factory, audiences shopping for Dessert options, are,most likely to be looking for Dessert recipe ideas. Promoting recipe ideas sequentially can help engage audiences who have earlier visited your site for Holiday Season offers.

Advertising:  Facebook’s Promoted Posts and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets as well as Facebook offers can be used to promote the offer during the holiday season. Update the Offer Landing page with content that audiences are most likely to share.

Content That Is Snackable

As important as it is to make appealing and engaging content for gaining shares, Content that is snackable is most likely to be acted upon. The Yahoo Food post below gives Cookie Hacks that are presented in a visually engaging format which is more likely to be viewed. With video providing the entire experience in one go, audiences looking for answers or further information will visit the brand site. Engaged audiences that have gained information required are most likely to complete the purchase.


Takeaway : Creating Snackable content not only answers a query within a context, but helps audiences decide with relevant information.

Advertising : Formats that engage users with an engaging tagline can help you get the winning content piece. Start with how the content helps your audience. Use the advertising format on Social Networks that is appropriate for promoting your post.

Content That Provides Value

Macy’s Gift Guide features Today’s Top Gift that lets users choose the option that provides better value for special occasions.


Takeaway : Creating offers-led content can reengage users who may have looked for gifts earlier. Segmenting your users based on past purchase behavior can help you promote the content at the right time.

Advertising : Timing Matters. If Your customers convert at a later stage, promote posts and Shopping Campaigns with offers and deals when they are most likely to click-through and convert.




12 Notable Brand Campaigns This Holiday Season

Target Launches The Holiday Odyssey

Target followed a Storytelling approach engaging audiences with a brand experience titled Adventure, where three kids and Bullseye set on a  quest to light up a Giant tree, set in a magical forest. In another video, Target introduces Free shipping an returns with a   story where the adventure is Set on the Whipped Cream Sea, with LEGO pirate ships carrying precious holiday cargo. Target has boosted the viewer engagement with Free Digital Storybook spot “The Holiday Odyssey” featuring the epic adventure. In the newest spot titled Undercover, the gang goes past the Stormtroopers, through a maze of giant presents as the  quest to light the ridiculously giant tree continues. Target began the Holiday marketing effort,  over a month ago, with first Chapter titled “The Journey Begins”.

Key Takeaway: Engaging experiences targeted at an audience with storytelling approach requires more than a single post or video for audiences to discover the content. Creating an experience that helps audiences discover about your offers and products with a video makes for more interactions, repeat visits and conversions.


Disney Stores Launches 12 Most Wished For Gifts

Disney Stores Most Wished For Gifts campaign features a contest that requires customers to share a pic with #12GiftsContest to win a USD 1000 Disney Store Card.

Most-Wished-For Gift of the Day: Captain Phasma Mask! Fly back to Halloween mode and post a pic of you dressed up as a character from a galaxy far, far away. May the Force be with your pic! Tag #12GiftsContest & @Disneystore for your chance to win a $1,000 Shop Disney Store Card. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest ends 12/12/15.
Key Takeaway: Brand Contests that are run for a limited time with an offer can create a greater impact as Social Media helps create buzz for your offers with popular Giveaways.
Febreze Lightens Up The Mood 

With the holiday season advertising being all about miracles, wishlists and Stocking Stuffers, Febreze has created a humorous campaign that is likely to be noticed, much like the Ugly Sweaters for its unmarketing.

Febreze, a Proctor and Gamble brand has taken 12 Days of Christmas to the level of a parody by introducing 12 Stinks of Christmas.  Lynch and Morrison will premier their music video during the Febreze #12Stinks of Christmas Party – ugly Christmas sweaters all – at LightBox. Attendees can expect to sing along to the kitschy tune and learn that they can be guest-ready all season long with Febreze through interactive product demos.

Febreze has reinvented the classic holiday tune, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” to showcase the stinks of the season and how to stay guest ready, with the debut of “The #12Stinks of Christmas” starring the hilarious duo, Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison.

“Sure, it’s always great to see family; it’s great to walk into a kitchen and smell a pie in the oven,” said actress Jane Lynch. “But when the turkey’s burning and your bathroom is seeing a lot of foot traffic from party guests, it hits you: the holidays stink! And, Febreze is a great solution to eliminate odors and stay guest ready.”

Febreze boasts a line of products with freshness capabilities that range from ridding of pet odors and tackling sweat stink to decorating the home with scent and freshening on the go and has introduced a limited edition holiday line. Febreze continues to be one of the fastest growing brands in P&G’s portfolio of household brands and bring innovative products to market. Fresh air is an essential and basic human right, and that the air we breathe can give us “fresh starts.”

Key Takeaway: When you need your advertising to break through the clutter, unmarketing may get your brand noticed with a campaign that brings out the unusual.
Lowes Foods 30 Days Of Giving

Lowes Foods has newer ideas to inspire giving this holiday season. One of them is a handwritten letter that makes the gesture seem genuine and another idea is to have the family play a board-game.

Key Takeaway: A series of engaging social media posts over a prolonged time can get your offers, deals and campaigns noticed, as it builds anticipation with users looking forward to the next announcement or offer.
Macy’s Make-A-Wish

Macy’s Make-A-Wish Campaign weaves Christmas Magic with a Wish-writer pen that brings magic to unusual situations that makes Christmas look magical. “The star of the commercial is the magic pen, and we were trying to find another way to get engagement — this idea of gamification is the way to do it,” said Martine Reardon, CMO of Macy’s. “It’s our twist of bringing something traditional and nostalgic to the modern way the generations of today work, which is on mobile devices and through apps.”

Key Takeaway: Making Audiences nostalgic is a way of capturing audience interest and launching your campaign when audiences start looking for gift ideas can help you strike the right chord.
Staples Launches More For Less Campaign


“We’re giving our customers more for less this holiday season with exceptional savings on a great selection of stocking stuffers and last-minute gifts,” said Peter J. Scala, executive vice president – merchandising, Staples. “At Staples, we know our customers are busy so we offer convenient solutions for their holiday shopping needs including a buy online and pick up in store option, Price Match Guarantee, and free shipping for our Staples Rewards members during the holidays and everyday.”

Staples more for less campaign is targeted at different buyer personas, From the Inner Geek to the Fashion-Forward co-worker, with great last-minute gifts and deals throughout the holidays.

Key Takeaway: Staples More for Less campaign is notable for targeted offering for customers value-shopping for different types of Gift recipients.
Hallmark Entertainment Channel’s Countdown To Christmas

Hallmark Entertainment Channel’s Countdown to Christmas features a movie premiere every Saturday night bringing new movies every Saturday night, with engaging posts for Christmas.

Key Takeaway: Hallmark Entertainment Channel’s Countdown to Christmas brings singularity of the brand value proposition of Family entertainment up-front, making it the channel of choice for the time when families are most likely to be looking for family entertainment options.
Walmart’s Retailtainment

Walmart has followed a retailtainment strategy  introducing Musical scores for Christmas by Craig Robinson that features number of videos  with gifts targeted at different audience segments.

Key Takeaway: As important as it is to have gifting ideas for a valued shopper, it is equally important to present the ideas in a context audiences find engaging and relatable.


Hallmark’s Keepsake It 

Hallmark’s online video campaign has a humorous take on Christmas with three spots titled Family Potrait, Vegan Christmas and Perfectionist Mom. The video has funny takes on situations that are characterized by quirky characters, playing on uniqueness of every family, and how Hallmark makes holidays memorable despite odd situations.

Key Takeaway: Hallmark’s Keepsake campaign infuses realism with humor where quirky characters are used in the creative for better ad recall. With an interactive digital experience it makes for one-of-a-kind user engagement. 
Oreo’s Wonderfilled Christmas

Oreo takes a Wonderfilled spin on some storied Christmas traditions, taking a look into all the things that make the holidays feel like the holidays.

Key Takeaway: Oreo’s Wonderfilled theme campaign extends the Wonderfilled campaign to feature the Christmas traditions while weaving in the brand’s proposition of cream filled cookies in the video creative.
Kohl’s All Together Now

Kohl’s All Together Now campaign features gifts that are right for the whole family, with exclusive deals featured on Social Media Channels.

Key Takeaway: Kohl’s All Together Now Campaign sets the tone for entertaining during Holiday Season where the positioning of “Everything for Entertaining Everyone” makes holiday season gift shopping and entertaining seem stress-free. Kohl’s has successfully used All Together Now to position the discounts it has on offer for the season.
Apple’s Someday At Christmas

Singer Andra Day joins the legendary Stevie Wonder to sing his classic 1967 holiday song “Someday at Christmas.” Without a band, Wonder sets up his Apple computer to record both the piano he plays and the vocal track. As Day and Wonder sing together, their family plays games, makes crafts and spends time together. To bring the song to a close, the youngest member adds her voice to the mix and then the rest of the family joins in.

Key Takeaway: Apple’s Video brings out the creative power of the products in an engaging way while showing how technology can help you free your time for family. Using musicians and a music score associated with the season, Apple has ushered the Christmas spirit bringing out the holiday moments that matter.