How can you use gift cards and gift vouchers to help your business through the Coronavirus crisis?
We are amidst a crisis that is new to everyone. While the COVID-19 virus is affecting the health of many people across the world, our governments are urging us to stay at home, away from unnecessary socialising – especially in public places.
The necessary procedures put in place to try and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus has already had a devastating impact on the hospitality and leisure industry and unfortunately, it’s looking like it could be here for a while yet.
While the UK Prime Minister has advised people not to go to these public places, he hasn’t yet ordered entertainment establishments to close- leaving these businesses in a vulnerable place without any financial support from the government.
These businesses rely on footfall through the door to survive. With the safety recommendations in place, it is inevitable that less and less people will visit these places. Already we are seeing the impact of the social distancing on these establishments as occupancy rates are at an all-time low.
We don’t know how long this virus will last, and how long we need to remain out of public places. This results in even further pressure on local businesses to make it through this crisis.
While struggling to make revenue, there is a knock-on effect to the economy and local communities as many jobs rely on the hospitality industry, with over 6 million employed in pubs, restaurants, other outlets and the wider supply chain.
It seems inevitable that we will see the closure of many businesses in the next coming months and the potential loss of a huge amount of jobs.
What can my businesses do?
While it remains uncertain as to what our governments will do to help, there is a cry of help from many companies reaching out to their customers for support through public service announcements.
Inboxes are filled with companies notifying customers of their increased sanitation efforts and actions to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They are also urging customers to support local businesses in safe ways. This includes shopping online, not cancelling reservations and even purchasing gift vouchers.
So what can be done to save businesses while reducing the risk of the COVID-19 virus?
Selling gift vouchers and gift cards
Industry leaders are recommending that companies put all their efforts into selling gift vouchers and gift cards as a solution to keep their heads above water.
Articles from big names such as CNN, CBS News, Forbes, Vox , Big Hospitality and many more all recommend and urge customers to support local businesses by purchasing gift vouchers during the Corona Crisis.
This advice is being taken seriously.
Improving cash flow problems with vouchers
Over the last week (we at Enjovia) have seen a surge in voucher system installations as businesses of all kinds are desperately searching for ways to improve cash flow through this crisis.
While it’s certain that selling gift vouchers will help these businesses right now, we feel a duty to inform companies that they must do more to support voucher sales during this time.
Encouraging people to part with their money right now and to give it to you is a large ask. That’s why you need flexible strategies and promotions to make your vouchers attractive to your customers. As realistically they can’t be used for maybe weeks or even months.
In light of this, we hope that gift cards and vouchers can be a suitable solution to help many businesses tick over until the crisis is averted. Which is why this post is dedicated to how companies can introduce a voucher system and how they can effectively encourage customers to purchase them.
What strategies can I employ to get voucher sales?
Create win/ win scenarios. These are times none of us has ever experienced before and all of us are affected in some way. This is when we need to come together as a community and as one to lend support through these difficult times.
Offer incentives for more desirable vouchers
Make your vouchers more desirable for your customers right now. With the economy in such a bleak state, you can’t afford to be strict with your offers. You need to keep in mind that the customers who are buying your vouchers at this time are bringing you instant revenue that you wouldn’t otherwise receive. The more sales you can make in this time the better it will be for you to get through the crisis.
The types of voucher incentives can include:
By slashing the price of your gift vouchers, you’re going to make them a more attractive purchase. People are wanting something to look forward to once this is over. Convince them your experiences will be that dream while making a huge saving.
Offer percentage discounts on vouchers.
Big hospitality published an article on the success restaurants are experiencing to combat the Coronavirus cash flow problems, through selling gift vouchers. The success of some restaurants’ sales is from offering discounts. Hearts Group is offering a 25% discount in vouchers right now on a voucher usually sold at £1,200 is now £1,000.
Offer additional value percentage on top of a purchased voucher.
Indian group Krickett is offering ‘loyalty vouchers’, these are vouchers which can be purchased for any amount over £250, and will have an additional 20% added on as a goodwill gesture.
Include free ‘add on’ items to vouchers.
For example, an overnight stay for two with dinner can include a complimentary bottle of wine with dining, or complimentary spa treatment or even room amenities such as chocolates.
Increase the validity or even remove the expiry date.
We recommend businesses being flexible on their voucher expiry dates. We don’t know how long the social distancing will last and each day that passes cuts into their expiry date. Extending or removing the expiry date demonstrates to customers your fairness and appreciation for supporting you when you needed it most.
Send email campaigns out to existing customers.
With support needed now more than ever, you need to update notify your customers of the measures you’re taking to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Within these emails create a list of things that your loyal customers can do to help support you. In that list include the sale of your vouchers along with any or more of the above promotions.
Your number one priority is to make sure people know that you’re selling these gift cards, so communicate it on all your communication channels. This includes social media, email campaigns and on your website- even your homepage.
Be active on social media.
People are becoming anxious and scared at home. Lighten their moods by creating fun and uplifting trends that they can get involved in on social media. Include competitions with your vouchers as prizes to spread awareness.
There is a lot of activity around making people smile and laugh at the moment, maybe you can cleverly tap into this trend.
What can the public do?
While health is a priority over supporting local businesses right now, there are choices you can make that will help (if you are in the financial position to do so).
With upcoming birthdays for relatives, consider purchasing an experience voucher from your favourite business. Whether that be a restaurant, hotel, spa, gift shop or activities.
You can even purchase something for yourself to look forward to. Having something positive to focus on can lift feelings of depression and discomfort at a time when the future looks uncertain and bleak.
Do your part for the local community and receive a nice experience in return. Purchasing a gift voucher to support a local business will go a long way, and you’ll get something out of it too.
Why are gift vouchers a good solution for everybody?
- Purchasing vouchers are a great way to support local businesses who are struggling to survive with social distancing. Additionally, helping to save the jobs of local people.
- Vouchers can be purchased online, reducing footfall in public spaces and decreasing the risk of infection.
- Vouchers can be sent via e-ticket straight to your email. This is reducing deliveries and minimising unnecessary contact with others.
- Vouchers have a long shelf life- especially if businesses are flexible with the expiry dates. (Which we recommend as a sign of appreciation to customers who supported your businesses when you most needed it).
- Vouchers make a fantastic gift. With gift experiences being top of peoples Christmas lists in recent years.
- Gift experiences are giving people something to look forward to in these bleak times.
Looking for a gift voucher management system to set up fast?
We provide a gift voucher management system designed to increase revenues and help businesses to easily manage their gift voucher stores, promotions, redemptions and more.
Why should you choose us?
- We don’t hold onto cash, unlike many voucher system providers. Our customers get their money at the point of purchase.
- You can set up a voucher store in minutes, so you can start selling vouchers right away.
- You win with commission-free sales
We’ve talked a lot about win/win in this article, and as our customers we want you to get through these times of struggles. That’s why we are eager to support struggling businesses and will be offering our system for free to any business that needs a store right now.
- We’re here to help advise on marketing for your vouchers with ongoing blog posts and advice.
Find out more about our gift voucher management system features here.
If you’d like to set up a store today, please get in touch, we are happy to help!
Contact Enjovia here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you are struggling with social distancing and self-isolation then please seek further support, here’s a great article that can help you to look after your mental health while staying at home. Looking after your mental health while self-isolating.
Best regards, the Enjovia team.