Americans Love Gift Cards

(Article sponsored by The Gift of Clean)

Americans love gift cards!  According to the Retail Gift Card Association, we will spend $150 BILLION on gift cards this year.   The Blackhawk Network’s 2018 research report indicates 21% of that total will be spent during the upcoming Mother’s Day buying cycle alone.   The National Retail Federation reports that 58.8% of shoppers said they would like to receive a gift card.   Given the overwhelming research and evidence, it’s time the residential cleaning industry gets its piece of the pie of this lucrative market.  It really does not matter if it is the traditional plastic card or an e-gift, although e-gifts continue to grow, from $7 billion in 2015, to $18 billion in 2018.  According to Blackhawk, 55% of Millennials are interested in giving and 67% are interested in receiving a digital gift card.

So why should your cleaning company offer gift cards?  Three major reasons:

  • People want them! They are viewed as safe and secure.
  • 65% of consumers spend 38% more than the gift card value.
  • Gift cards can increase sales while lowering the cost of customer acquisition.

While some may view gift cards as cold and impersonal, the truth is that most people are overjoyed that you thought of them at all.

Just as the residential cleaning industry was slower than most industries to adopt the use of credit cards, it has also been slow to adopt the use of gift cards.  “My customers don’t know who Aunt Martha’s cleaning company is.”   “Why should I accept gift cards and their processing fees?”  These are just two of the rationalizations discussion groups have cited for their reluctance to accept or sell gift cards.  A unique program, from Chicago based The Gift of Clean, is changing that issue.  Residential cleaning companies can now offer both traditional plastic or e-gift cards on their website.  The Gift of Clean is a universal card that can be used with any of their participating cleaning companies.  Now your customer in Chicago can purchase the Gift of Clean for mom who lives in Dallas.   Mrs. Jones, your current customer, can purchase the Gift of Clean for the new mom down the street who is busy caring for her new baby.   Your local realtor can purchase the Gift of Clean as a move in gift for their client.

While there is a small fee associated with processing the gift cards, the fee is based on the amount of the gift card, not on the amount of the total clean.   Remember 65% of consumers spend 38% more than the amount of the card.  In addition, cleaning companies also receive a commission on the cards that are sold through their website.  What’s the life time value of a new client who found you via the use of a gift card they received?  Unlike Groupon or other coupon programs, you do not have to discount your services because someone is using the gift card.  The more likely scenario is they will spend more than the amount of the card.   The Gift of Clean’s secure processor handles all of the processing details so you receive your payment promptly and directly into your bank account.

All of the research indicates the gift card market will continue to grow.  Companies who make gift cards part of their overall marketing program, will grow as well.

Editor’s note:  Ernie Hartong, the former Executive Director of ARCSI, is currently a marketing consultant for The Gift of Clean.