Using Gift Cards to Market Perishable Stock on Black Friday

The problem first occurred to me when I owned two flower booths outside a supermarket. How do I convince Black Friday shoppers that what I offer is perfect for their holiday gifts? After all, flowers are perishable. A bouquet of wilted roses may not be the perfect stocking stuffer.

A Non-Perishable Marketing Idea for My Perishable Stock

Gift cards were the obvious solution. But every business, large and small, seems to offer gift cards nowadays. So, I sat down and thought about my customers. What do people look for when they bring a bouquet of flowers home or to a friend? And what kind of gift cards can I offer that will capture this essence for the holidays?

Gift Cards as Coupons

The biggest challenge I faced was getting my customers to buy my gift cards in the first place. After all, why should they spend their money on a piece of plastic when they can buy a tangible gift next door? My solution? I treated the purchase of a gift card as a coupon. Cheaper gift cards earned the buyer 15 percent off their purchase (to be applied to stock or to the gift card itself). And with large gift cards (over $100), I offered a free bouquet.

Cashable Gift Cards With a Monetary Value

The simplest gift cards I offered were the ones people were used to. A dollar amount was printed clearly on the card. The money could apply to any item in the store. Or the gift card could be cashed out. This last option was important to my customers. They wanted to give a gift of flowers, but they also wanted the recipient to have the option of getting something different if he or she wanted to.

Gift Cards With the Feel of a Present

Some customers wanted to give a gift of flowers and they didn't want the receiver to know the monetary value. I, therefore, created a series of holiday bouquets and gave them festive names, like Christmas Serenade or Hanukkah Garden. I then sold gift cards with the name of the bouquet on them instead of a dollar amount.

Gift Cards That Keep on Giving

Since I already offered delivery services to regular customers, I extended the model to my gift cards. I offered flowers year-round or for a full season (spring, summer, autumn, and winter). The packages included a different bouquet delivery at the beginning of each month. Of all my Black Friday gift cards, these were the most popular.

Black Friday Gift Card Discounts

I wanted Black Friday to be a gift card bonanza. I replaced my usual gift card promotion with a Black Friday super deal. I discounted all the gift cards by 20 percent and offered a free $25 gift card with every $150 purchase. I decked my flower booth with twice the usual amount of stock and added strings of Christmas lights, as well as a Christmas tree (my own from home) all decked with ornaments. My flower booths looked festive and irresistible.

Making the Gift Cards

I saw that it was easy to order custom POS-compatible gift cards online, though with a minimum order (for example: 500 cards). But since I wanted a wide range of card types at the minimum expenditure possible, I decided to make the gift cards myself.

I had designed my business cards at home using a photo editing software. Now, I created my gift cards on the back of my business cards. Once printed, I slipped a silk ribbon through each card to tie an attractive bow. By using different colored ribbons, I could easily spot the type of gift card I wanted (for example: purple for year-round flowers). And the ribbons made it easy to hang the gift cards in a display.

How I Fared

A month before Black Friday, I started advertising my gift cards and Black Friday special. I distributed the flyers to passersby. And to my customers, I handed out the flyer wrapped around the stem of a chrysanthemum. My Black Friday was a great success. In fact, my year-round flowers gift cards sold out, and I took orders to be filled the next week.

More from Tal Boldo:

How I Started My Flower Business With $150

Turning Our Hobbies Into a Small Business

How I Started a Dry-Flower Decorating Business With No Money

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