With the holidays upon us, there are so many reasons to encourage your existing customers to purchase gift cards for their friends and family, and absolutely zero reasons not to do so.

Gift cards are a powerful marketing tool for building a brand profile and instilling customer loyalty. They’re an easy to purchase gift that can even be bought last minute, and not just for the holidays.

And their value extends far beyond the dollar value of the card itself.

Here are five reasons why gift cards should be a top element of your business strategy this holiday season.

  1. People want to receive gift cards as … uh… gifts. Gift giving is hard, and everyone is made uncomfortable by a gift they don’t really want. But most people are happy to receive gift cards. In fact, they’re the most requested holiday gift. According to a 2015 survey by the National Retail Federation, 58.8% of respondents said that they would like to receive a gift card, making them the most requested gift item nine years in a row.
  2. Gift cards attract new clients. According to firstdata.com, research shows that 40% of survey respondents said that receiving a gift card prompted them to visit a store for the first time. Specifically, “they wouldn’t even have visited if they hadn’t received the card.” That’s nearly half of respondents who had visited a shop because they received a gift card.
  3. Gift cards are your opportunity to turn new clients into returning clients. So, that 40% is a pretty good number of people who will come to your spa for the initial visit, at which time you have the chance to turn them into returning customers. Remember that getting people in the door once is much more difficult and costly than bringing them back again. Some say customer acquisition costs five times more than retention.
  4. Gift cards bring existing clients back. More than half of respondents in the aforementioned firstdata study (52%) said that receiving a gift card prompted them to visit a store more frequently.
  5. Gift cards increase sales & revenue. People spend more than the value of the card. Significantly more. In fact, 65% of gift card holders spend an extra 38% beyond the value of the card. Optimize this opportunity by offering rewards, deals, or add-ons at time of redemption. Or offer and incentive to the buyer through discounts or promotions. After all, if a gift card is a customer referral, that should be rewarded.

Give people what they want and help your business at the same time.

With Book4Time software gift cards can be purchased online or onsite at a spa or salon. They can be sent to the recipient via email, purchased in advance, and delivered on a specific date. With an electronic gift card, there’s a much lower chance of it going missing.