As the smell of Pumpkin Spice Lattés fills the air, the cooler weather of fall is a gentle reminder that the holiday season is not very far away. For most retailers, this means that the most critical revenue generating time of the year is approaching, and it’s more important than ever to ensure that physical stores and websites are ready for prime time.

The National Retail Federation estimated that last year’s holiday shoppers would spend $31.74 billion in gift cards alone. As a convenient, quick offering that most people love to receive, gift cards are also one of the most frequently requested items on wish lists. However, in many stores, they almost seem to be an afterthought: tucked away in often messy or half-empty racks, without any cross-merchandising or signage. Don’t let this massive opportunity pass you by this holiday season! Read on for five quick and easy ways to sell more gift cards this year.

Sell More Gift Cards by Merchandising Smarter

It’s not a bad idea to stock gift cards at the cash wrap, right where they are needed for activation. However, gift cards aren’t always top of mind for shoppers seeking gift ideas, so why not stock them, or at least promote them with in-store signage, throughout the store: in the storefront, dressing rooms, and other key locations. Put them everywhere! Gift cards need not be relegated to the cash wrap alone.

Most people love to receive gift cards, but not everyone loves to buy them. Despite their convenience, many shoppers are reluctant to buy gift cards, because they prefer an offering with a more personal touch. Why not offer the best of both worlds by stocking strips of gift cards next to other gift items and trinkets, or next to greeting cards or gift boxes, and increase the likelihood that the gift-seeker will buy both?

Sell More Gift Cards by Optimizing your Gift Registry

Do you offer a gift registry service? If so, ensure that gift cards at various denominations can easily be requested by registrants. The same idea applies for wish lists. This is a quick and easy fix, since there’s a gift card for every budget and occasion, and one size fits all!

Sell More Gift Cards with Smarter Omni-Channel Strategy

Can shoppers buy gift cards online for use in stores? Can they buy in store and use online? In today’s omni-channel world, these features are no longer a convenience: they are essential. In addition to offering gift cards for sale online, it’s important to make sure that they are easily findable on your website. They are the perfect item to cross-promote everywhere: consider the home page, category pages, main navigation and shopping cart as excellent places to highlight your gift card offering.

To make your gift card offer even more attractive for shoppers, you may want to consider offering free next-day delivery along with gift messaging or packaging. Last-minute shoppers are certain to appreciate the convenience!

Sell More Gift Cards by Offering Incentives

Consider offering incentives for purchasing gift cards, especially during peak gift-giving periods. For example, a 10$ coupon for the purchaser for every $100 in gift cards purchased. Some retailers even offer rewards for reloading gift cards. Since cardholders will usually spend more than the face value of the cards, these types of promotions typically finance themselves.

Sell More Gift Cards by Communicating their Value

You might think that gift cards sell themselves, but many retailers have not tapped into the full potential of the offering. Bring gift cards to top of mind with customer communications about potential gift-giving holidays and life events, such as wedding and baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, teacher appreciation gifts, and many more. Promote these ideas in store, but also online, on your website, social media, and in direct-to-customer communications.

In addition to promoting ideas about events for which gift cards can be a great offering, consider also communicating the value of a gift card. For example, remind customers of the benefits (that they can be used online, that they don’t expire, etc…) and of the value (provide an example of a hot seller they could buy with a gift card at $X denomination).

Feature Photo Source: CBS