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  • Holly Glowaty

Flourish in a Flash: Early Holiday 2019 Gift Card and Retail Trends

Episode Transcript

Please note: Transcripts are computer generated.

Intro 0:04

You're listening to the Flourish in a Flash podcast with the Flourish team, Dez, Holly, Kristen and Erika,

Dez 0:15

Welcome to another flourish flash. And we are officially post-Black Friday, we are well into the holiday shopping season, which is very exciting. And this week, we wanted to take a minute and kind of review some noteworthy, you know, interesting takes on gift card promos that we saw, and really look at how this season is trending for the retail industry, you know, as a larger industry, not exclusively to gift card cuz there's some really interesting stats and new trends out there. So to kick it off, I wanted to start with the fact that I read about branded currency on Instyle and this was because of norstrom Black Friday Cyber Monday promo. And if you guys didn't see it was for shoppers who spend $125 receive a $25 gift card. Those who spend $250 get $50 and then it caps out at $400 receiving a bonus gift card for $100. So a luxury brand, really taking advantage of you know what gift card has to offer and not discounting themselves. We know Nordstrom is not a huge fan of discounting but we do love their anniversary sale, but besides that, but I it was it was one of those things where Yes, it was kind of connected to a loyalty program because I know there were some Club Nordy bonuses going on with that or extra discounts but just in terms of accessibility and really getting gift card out there into the consumer mindset. Like I said, I found out about this promo on Instyle. So that was one thing that stood out and the other piece was, you know, it kind of a classic but there was a Capital One promo that came through my inbox and I thought that that just like the clarity with how they handled it, it was really well done because the subject line was simply "need a holiday gift?". And everybody needs a holiday gift, right? And then, like, I honestly thought it was going to be something for financing or something like that, you know, and then I was pleasantly surprised when it said "Redeem rewards for cards they'll love and then showed three different brands: Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy, but then the copy is "turn to rewards into gift cards with over 80+ options issues from there's something for everyone, or you can treat yourself" promoting a little bit that self-use. Super clean, super simple and a bit of a different take on a holiday promotion. So those are the two that I had Holly, I know you had one.

Holly 3:19

Yeah. Well, and one other thing I really love about the the Capital One promotion is I think sometimes with B2B people feel like personalization or creating that sort of one to one, marketing is a hurdle. And what they did there was, you know, I mean, a lot of retailers sell in bulk to these credit card programs. And so now there's this one to one relationship and a really great opportunity for it to feel more personal. And they really took advantage of that I really like I like the copy and I like the whole feel of that campaign.

Dez 3:52

I was just going to see we'll have the screenshot on the blog.

Holly 3:56


Erika 3:57

And I also love that they promote like it's not only a gift for someone else, it could be a gift for yourself, you know, because the focus has been so much on like getting stuff for other people and gift cards. And it's nice to see, like, you know, a switch of gears, reminding them, you know, reminding everyone that you can you can get a gift card for yourself.

Holly 4:15

Oh, totally, you know, Let Us Entertain You, every year. You, you buy $100 and gift cards, you get $25 it's an awesome promotion they've run and it's really successful for them. So they do that. And I've had a couple friends who are like, Oh yeah, I do that every year because I get $25 to go back and go out to dinner.

Dez 4:35

I was going to say it's like Red Robbin's promo essentially, like their holiday gift card promo that they do. Every year. I think the same denomination that you said for Let Us Entertain You. And it's a tried and true method. And when I was in college, I did it every year.

Holly 4:54

Well, what's interesting actually is, you know, I'd say we see things like that where it's like spend and get But on Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's did something we do not see many retailers do, which is they gave a 10% discount on Christmas gift cards. I was shocked when I saw this come into my inbox. Because we I mean, really, it isn't something a lot of retailers do. So I was pretty excited about it. And I'm really interested to hear how this promotion goes for them.

Dez 5:27

Well in that just reminded me in target pre Black Friday sales, they did 5% off of gift card. Yeah. So the fact that two major retailers are starting to play around with this. I think what's interesting is the fact that they're willing to discount it. They know their numbers, and they know that that percentage and it's going to be fine in the end.

Holly 5:51

Well, and what they've done is they've created excitement, right? Like I may have thought about spending my dollars with another retailer. So like, think about it. Especially with such a short holiday shopping window, really, if people are the type that wait till, you know, for Black Friday in particular, you only had what like three and a half weeks until Christmas this year. So it's just it's such a tight window. So if you're not sure what you're going to get, at least now, you know, you can buy a gift card for 10% off and you know where you're going. So you know, you're gonna be shopping within that ecosystem. So I think it was really interesting, and a very smart way to capture an audience who maybe hasn't taken the time to think through what exactly they're going to buy this year. And well, we also know that beyond these awesome promotions that we've just been talking about, this was a huge Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, weekend, like, it was one of the biggest and so there was an article in TechCrunch and they were reporting on numbers from Adobe analytics.

Holly 6:57

Okay, get ready Thanksgiving broke records with 4.2 billion with a B dollars in online sales. 4.2 billion on Thanksgiving. Amazing. But then when you went to look at Black Friday, it was $7.4 billion online. That's like people buying via computers, tablets and smartphones, which is amazing. That's an increase of 1.2 billion over 2018. So massive shopping window this year. And again, I think some of it could be due to the short window and people trying to get as many deals as they can. But also, I think you're just seeing a lot of people really kind of like focusing on all these promotions, and the fact that it's really happening online now there's a big shift in that.

Holly 7:49

So one other thing I wanted to point out because I think this is absolutely fascinating, is how much of that was actually on smartphones. And I believe I have lost that number, which is not great. Um, okay, here we go. $2.9 billion was on smartphones. That's huge. If you are not mobile friendly, you are behind my friends. I was on a few websites shopping for like various specific gifts, and the mobile experience was awful. And I don't want to call out certain brands, but I always have a lot of trouble on the Coach and Kate Spade websites. I can't do it from my phone. It won't let me filter, it freezes. I have to start over and I'm always stunned by this because especially when they're doing things where it's like a smaller price point, like some jewelry or like little wallets or something that maybe I want to add for a gift card and buying somebody. It becomes cumbersome. So you gotta get your ecommerce right and especially your mobile view, because 2.9 billion happened in one day this year. So, you know, there's a lot happening on smartphones. But the other trend and I know Erika is going to talk about this was our buy online pick up in store sales numbers.

Erika 9:19

Yeah, like, you know, Black Friday, Black Friday, you always think like, you know, you always hear in the news like online purchases on Monday and then you know, the herds of people walking into stores and like fighting for products. But this year I read in Marketing Land that buy online pick up in store is really skyrocketing. Let's see it says since November 1, these online to offline orders have grown 43.2% year over year, according to Adobe, that's huge. And I think it's super convenient, especially for those retailers that don't give you free shipping for example, but then you happen to be passing by that store coming home from work. So why not just swing by go to the desk and pick it up? You know, it's it's a huge saving. It's a huge convenience. And I think that's a really interesting trend because, you know, everybody's going techie but then this is kind of a twist of techie and old school, you know, but not having to deal with like, the fighting lies in the fighting people. You know.

Holly 10:21

Totally. Whenever you read about holiday shopping, most people prefer to do it in store. But it's what you're saying America is that they don't want to fight lines and fight people. And that's why they go online, right? I generally don't shop on Black Friday for those reasons in particular, and I worked in retail long enough to not want to do that anymore. downtown Chicago. But the thing was, I actually did I made some online pick up in store orders, but then I ended up shopping once I got into the stores like, Well, I'm here, you know, and so I ended up walking around the store picking up a few more things. It was It was great. It was a great way to sort of approach what is usually a crazy day and something I try to avoid because of the crowds.

Erika 11:12

Yeah. And I tried to avoid, like, I had a situation where I did the same thing where I bought online and I went to pick up in store and it was tunnel vision. I was like, all right, where's the register for me to just pick it up? And without even realizing it? I passed by one shelf, and I was like, Oh, wait, that's kind of cute. You know, and like, I didn't even mean to, I just it literally, I just wanted to go pick it up. And then I got sidetracked because I passed by your product, you know,

Holly 11:37

Totally. Yeah, I really love seeing the evolution of retail happening here. Because I think, you know, I think it'll be really interesting. I know, probably, at the end of the year, we like to do our predictions for what we think we'll see in the next year. But I really do think that we're going to see this continued growth and potentially smaller footprints stores because of this buy online pick up in store. I think it's you know, I think because of like that happening, as well as so much online and mobile, we're going to start to see this trend really pick up. Um, but I would say kind of our last piece of data for you guys all to chew on and relates back to gift cards as always. So our friends at Paytronix were really quick to help get some data together to show results for restaurant specific gift cards for this Black Friday, and so what I loved was they broke it down by day, and then they gave some overall numbers here so Paytronix reported that we had Black Friday sales in 2019 increased by 9.73%. Saturday sales actually decreased by 14.1% Which I think is interesting. But Sunday sales were up 22.8%. So overall, we had almost 4% year over year growth for restaurant gift cards, you know, for that kind of Black Friday through Sunday. So this doesn't include Cyber Monday, which I think could be a bit of a, I think that'll even increase those numbers more once they can add those into the equation. But I think it's really interesting to see that restaurants are growing. And I think that follows the trends that we talked about where experiential is up, right, and that's what consumers want. So restaurant gift cards offer a great experience for people and it feels thoughtful, can't exactly buy them a meal. Like I can't be like, here's a steak, you know, this shows thought, it shows that you want somebody to go out and have, you know, an enjoyable time and treat themselves. So, it's great to see that there's that overall growth there. And I really do think it's very interesting how it was up on Friday down on Saturday and then shot way up on Sunday. So I'm excited to see those Cyber Monday sales as well.

Holly 14:07

Alright, so I think that's pretty much it for our Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday shopping extravaganza recap for 2019. I know we're really excited to see what holiday overall looks like with this really short window. And we're really excited to see what kinds of promotions come out of this very short shopping season for the holidays. So if you see anything cool, always let us know. We love talking about these things and sharing them with the industry. And also if you like learning about all the really cool innovative things going on, you know, keep following the podcast, join our newsletter, and also come to the conference in March in Chicago March 16th through the 18th Tickets are on sale right now and our call for speakers is still open as well. We still have some sponsorship packages available. So give us a call shoot us an email and we will talk to you guys again in another two weeks.

Outro 15:13

Flourish in a Flash is produced by K+H Connection, a branded currency consulting firm. You can learn more about K+H at And you can always find out more about Flourish and the Flourish conference at or follow us on all of our socials on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It's at flourishcon and on Instagram, it's at flourish_con

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Capital One Promo Example:

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