As we move closer and closer to the holiday season, supply chain woes are only getting worse. Between global shipping backlogs, the scarcity of raw materials and shipping containers, an inability to travel or source goods freely, and unexpected factory closures, fulfillment will be quite the challenge for any marketer in Q4.

So, how can you successfully sell (and, more importantly, deliver) goods that aren’t on your physical or digital shelves today without fear? By taking a not-so-new fulfillment approach and being creative with it — spotlighting e-gift cards. After all, e-gift cards are an easy way to add some much-needed creativity, flexibility, and fun into your 2021 holiday fulfillment offering.

Why you want e-gift cards this year

At this point, everybody knows the risks of COVID-19. But because it’s still as prevalent as ever, millions of shoppers are still likely to stay away from your in-store experience this holiday season. Making more consumer-friendly fulfillment alternatives more attractive and appealing to your customers with each passing day.

Don’t believe us? According to our 2021 Retail Personalization Index Consumer Survey, more than half of all retail shoppers plan on using next-gen fulfillment options like e-gift cards even after the pandemic ends. Meaning that this isn’t merely a fad — it’s a trend that’s here to stay.

Because travel will still be limited this holiday season, e-gift cards are an easy way to not only ensure that shoppers’ gifts arrive to the right recipients on time, but that it gets there without the need to search through multiple stores for the perfect present at a time when shelves are bare already. Plus, these solutions are perfect for anyone looking to minimize all of the miscellaneous errands they have to run — things like wrapping, packing, mailing, and driving to and from the post office — and maximize time at home with friends, family members, and loved ones instead.

3 Easy ways to make more sales with e-gift cards

Let’s talk about a few simple things you can do to make more sales (and make your brand stand out) this holiday season using e-gift cards.

Use personalization to make it pretty

Just because you’re sending a digital present doesn’t mean your recipients need to miss out on all the unwrapping fun! Give your holiday gift givers the opportunity to select from multiple packaging and electronic delivery options, enabling your brand to cater directly to these friends, family members, and loved ones — no matter which holiday they celebrate or what their relationship with the gift giver is. You can even take your e-gift cards to another level by incorporating interactive elements like animations, multimedia, and sound effects into your online promotions to make them more engaging.

Make them mobile-friendly

Just picture your niece, or your daughter, or a good friend on her phone all day, sitting by the tree on Christmas morning. Now, what if she could click on an email and open up a singing electronic gift card to her favorite clothing store? e-Gift cards allow you to deliver magical holiday experiences like these to customers on-the-go. And besides, would you have really been able to pick out that sparkly pink dress she ended up getting?

Remember: some shoppers reward themselves

Let’s be honest — holiday shopping is also about shopping for yourself. And nobody has gotten this more right than the restaurant industry. Think about it:  most of them offer a smaller e-gift card, such as $10 or $20, when someone purchases a gift card to give to somebody else. This is a win-win-win. The gift recipient gets the item that they want from a store they love. The gift giver gets a little something for themselves. And you, most importantly, have the chance to offer a relatively small reward or incentive to these shoppers, keeping your margins healthy and well-protected, and the potential for two future visits from two different customers (gift giver and recipient)!

But before you rush off to implement e-gift cards into all of your holiday email campaigns, there are a few things you need to know.

3 Things you need to know before your first send

Delivering a unique gift code to a specific shopper sounds straightforward — but rarely does any marketing team making this experience happen do so without experiencing some serious challenges. As ecommerce transactions and mobile payments become the norm, adding e-gift cards to your fulfillment offering is inevitable.

So, before that happens, here are three things to think about as you consider adding creativity, flexibility, and fun to your fulfillment options:

Last-minute customers are counting on you

One of the great things about e-gift cards is that they can be sent almost instantly to anyone in the world free of charge! However, it doesn’t always work this way when your backend computing systems are overloaded with the digital stress holiday shopping can create. Before you can successfully deliver any electronic gift card, you’ll have to have mechanisms to approve each transaction, screen them for fraudulent buyers, and complete the delivery online — and that leaves a lot of potential for unexpected issues and delays. Start thinking of how you can streamline your process, your workflows, and maybe even your martech stack to simplify and streamline fulfillment.

Prepare for the worst

Technically, your obligation is fulfilled when digital delivery is successful — whether someone entered the right person’s address, email, and personal details or not. But let’s face it, that’s not exactly the best customer experience for your brand to provide. And some customers are definitely going to have typos in the info they give your fulfillment team. So, have a plan and policies in place now before this scenario happens. By having clear terms and conditions regarding your e-gift cards, you can quickly and easily correct mistakes to keep your holiday shoppers smiling.

Meet your customers where they already are

An e-gift card is great, but what if the technology you use to send them off to customers makes them hard to find or use? Or if someone never checks the device or account their gift was sent to? As the issuer, it’s your job to select the best possible tech for each recipient.  That way, you personalize the fulfillment experience by meeting customers on the devices, channels, and profiles they prefer to use.

Give yourself some extra time to fill up those shelves, and give your customers some extra time to procrastinate their shopping. Pushing e-gift cards can be a fun, effective way to push your holiday marketing results to the next level.

Check out our 2021 Holiday Playbook for some other creative ways to elevate your brand in Q4!