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Gift cards, direct mail work to woo customers

In the wake of the holiday shopping season, businesses may be wondering how they can convince consumers to continue spending during the spring months.

Sending gift cards through direct mail and digital channels has proven to be a strong marketing strategy for retailers, Mercedes Cardona writes for Direct Marketing News.

"We like offering free gift cards because they offer value, an immediate reason to shop, and they give our customers the flexibility to purchase anything they want," Jon Pollack, executive vice president of marketing for Belk department stores, tells Cardona. "Redemption of these gift cards is extremely high, and by all accounts our customers love them."

Another retail expert, Mary Delk - a retail practice director for Deloitte Consulting - told Cardona that gift cards can also boost profits, since half of general merchandisers' sales are impulse buys and the card "means a second trip."

Gift cards, coupled with strong list management policies, may enable companies to target customers and draw more traffic to their stores. Making note of a certain customer's buying habits could also allow the business to send an offer or coupon tailored to his or her shopping preferences.

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