Local restaurants are the heartbeat or our economy, but unfortunately they are among the businesses hardest hit by COVID-19. Consumers have been seeking ways to help their favorite local restaurants and other businesses, but recent shelter-in-place and work-from-home mandates have limited their options.
We’ve heard a lot of people in the media and on social platforms suggest that consumers can buy gift cards to help businesses bridge the gap to economic recovery. Consumers can then use the gift cards themselves at a later date, or give them away. So how can you be sure your customers can support you in this way?
Virtual Gift Cards: the No-touch, Rapid-launch Alternative to Plastic Gift Cards
Check out our list of top 10 benefits of Virtual Gift Cards:
Considering a gift solution? Here are a few ways a virtual gift card program can help restaurants during a downturn.
Help your guests help you. Virtual gifting solutions increase cash flow, while enabling customers to support their favorite participating local businesses. Because they don’t require design, printing, and shipping of plastic cards, you can get a virtual gift card program set up very quickly.
Gift cards are a revenue source to help bridge the downturn. Whereas in the past virtual gift cards were considered a best practice and a supplemental revenue stream, these days, they’re nearly essential. Offering a way for your customers to buy gift cards online any time from anywhere enables them to support you and give a valuable gift, as well.
Make sure your social media tells customers how to support you. While people have been working and learning from home, social media use has skyrocketed. In fact, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have all seen a 40% or greater increase in usage. If your customers are online, isn’t that also the place you should promote your business and offer gift cards? By offering the opportunity to purchase virtual gift cards online and by promoting them in your social media posts, you can boost revenue quickly.
Give Promotional Marketing Cards as a thank-you. Besides virtual gift cards, some businesses are using promotional marketing cards as a way to thank customers for placing takeout and delivery orders. Some businesses are also using them as a way to thank and support employees during this difficult time. Would your crew appreciate $5 toward their next meal or to treat their family to a meal? Promotional marketing cards are a great way to offer these thank-yous. They differ from gift cards in that they do not carry an outstanding liability (the dollar amount listed on the card is not recognized until it is redeemed). Unlike gift cards, promotional marketing cards can have an expiration date. So merchants can limit the timeframe they are valid, while encouraging recipients to visit within that time period.
For businesses forced to temporarily close, or experiencing a downturn in sales due to social distancing measures, selling virtual gift cards and actively promoting off-premises services can crucially help bridge the gap to recovery.
Ready to Get Going with Gift?
Xenial offers traditional plastic gift cards as well as virtual gift and promotional marketing cards, along with a complete social media and email marketing platform designed to help you win new customers and turn them into loyal fans. Contact us to learn more.