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Make Christmas sales soar with bespoke gift cards

Create bespoke gift cards today and start cashing in on the run up to Christmas. These represent a staggering 55 per cent of all gift sales in the UK and there are signs that suggest this will only continue to grow.

Create bespoke gift cards today and start cashing in on the run up to Christmas. These represent a staggering 55 per cent of all gift sales in the UK and there are signs that suggest this will only continue to grow.

The market consistently experiences year-on-year sales growth and the market share is now worth c. £4.7bn p.a. Most of the UK's major retailers already reap the rewards of prepaid gift cards and with this market booming it's time that specialist, independent retailers take a slice of the cake. With Christmas on the way, now's the perfect time to start selling. Did you know that 60 per cent of gift cards are sold in the last three months of the year? Start selling cards today to guarantee sales in the busiest time of year.

1. Boost sales - By offering customers more options and incentives to remain loyal and return to your business, sales will automatically be increased
2. Enhance profitability - Process higher margin sales as card users are less price sensitive than cash payers
3. New customers - 5 - 15 per cent gift card users are new customers
4. Incremental spend - 80 per cent of gift card recipients spend 50 per cent more than the face value of the card
5. Increase customer loyalty - 49 per cent of gift card users make more visits to the shop afterwards
6. Increase your margin - Between 5 - 15 per cent gift card value is never redeemed
7. Peace of mind - Plastic cards require activation before they become valuable and each has a unique ID, minimising the risk of fraud and theft
8. Multi-functional - Use digital cards as gift, loyalty, savings, reward, refund and promotional cards all year round
9. Promote your brand - Present your business more professionally with digital cards personalised with your shop brand and logo
10. Improve cash flow - Money in the bank from the point of purchase to point of redemption

Get ready for Christmas
We're all aware that many Christmas shoppers wait until the last minute to make purchases. Last minute starts in mid-December when many shoppers get into a buying frenzy - so ensure gift cards are available. Late shoppers often procrastinate because they can't decide what to get or they just hate the shopping process. Help them with their decision-making process and ease their shopping stress by reminding them that these are available and be sure to merchandise cards at every opportunity using displays, signage and posters throughout the shop and online via websites and social media. Shoppers know that buying these is convenient. The critical element is that of choice. Gift Cards are often called the 'gift of choice' because they allow the recipient to choose whatever they like. The risk of them not enjoying the gift is reduced as the choice of what to get is their own decision. Why not suggest that your customers give their loved ones the gift of an experience? Providing customers with the opportunity to give an experience package helps them feel like they're providing a more personalised gift, which is often a big turn-off associated with buying them. Give customers the chance to purchase a card worth the value of a workshop session. As a retailer, you'll then have the opportunity to turn a new customer into a regular by offering them the best experience possible when they redeem their gift.

A digital card is for life, not just for Christmas
While Christmas is arguably the most popular time of the year to purchase and give a card, a multi-functional card programme gives retailers the power to implement a range of uses for the cards all year round. Loyalty, promotions, refunds and savings programmes can all become a long-term part of a retail strategy - all with one digital card solution.

88 per cent of businesses with a loyalty programme are more profitable than their competitors without one
64 per cent of customers visit a business with a loyalty programme more frequently
A 2 per cent increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10 per cent
It's 6 to 8 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one
65 per cent of customers say they'd recommend a business because of a rewards program

Gift cards vs paper vouchers
Retailers that currently offer paper gift vouchers, or don't offer any form of gift vouchers should think about introducing cards into their shop. Not only do digital cards appeal more to the consumer and look more professional than paper vouchers, but they also make it easier for the retailer to capture customer data and monitor sales.

"A study of 1,400 adults found that 77 per cent of recipients preferred gift cards to gift vouchers, whilst 81 per cent spend more than face value of the card."

Digital cards are also a much safer option for any retail business. The cards have no value until the retailer loads it up with the specified amount. This means that unlike paper vouchers, retailers are able to display cards anywhere in store without the risk of theft and fraud, drawing customers attention to the fact that gift cards are available rather than keeping them hidden away under the counter.

Not just for corporate retailers
Some schemes have minimum order values which price smaller retailers out of the market. However, a scheme like the Experts Cards has been designed to make these accessible to all specialist retailers in the UK at very competitive prices.

For just £199 retailers can receive an order of 100 cards, personalised for each business, within weeks. Retailers will also receive access to a management information system, which provides a range of information to help manage the card programme. To find out more and to start offering digital cards, visit www.theexpertscards.co.uk.

Represent 55 per cent of all gift value sold
These grew by 17 per cent in the third quarter of 2014
81 per cent of recipients spend on average 50 per cent more than the face value on the card
49 per cent of recipients make more visits to the store/retailer afterwards
77 per cent of recipients expressed a positive or better experience
UK gift card and voucher marketplace worth £4.7bn in 2013
More than 50 per cent of consumers surveyed in 2013 would prefer to receive a plastic version over paper or digital cards.

This feature was written by ActSmart. ActSmart is a business support organisation for specialist retailers, their supply partners and trade associations. With more than 3000 subscribers, ActSmart is one of the fastest growing specialist business support organisations in the UK. Services include 24 hour access to legal advice and tax investigation protection as standard as well as other benefits to help increase your sales, reduce your overheads and to enhance customer engagement. Whether you're a small start-up seeking the help and advice needed to get ahead, or an established independent SME looking for a little support, ActSmart is a valuable resource giving you 24/7 access to wealth of relevant, and trusted information.
T: 0845 618 7256
E: info@actsmart.biz
W: www.actsmart.biz/creative

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