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Shopping Centre gift cards, do they work?
Primedia Lifestyle Marketing

In short, yes, they work.

Branded gift cards have become one of the most common features of a shopping mall and while most consumers are aware that it acts as a marketing and branding tool, not many landlords are aware of other benefits a gift card could bring to a centre.

Tutuka, the company that provides prepaid options to retailers, recently completed a survey of 40 shopping centres around South Africa, with results showing that gift cards do more than just offer centre branding.

Survey results show that the gift card market is growing. “When consumers buy gift cards at centre kiosks, the average load is R493, indicating that R500 is the sweet spot,” says Tutuka’s Drisha Nair. “They’re prepared to put high value into these cards, and we can also see that these customers tend to spend more during their mall visits than customers who don’t buy gift cards.”

Gift card spend varies across the different regions which reflects economic differences. Gauteng shopping centres lead with an average load value of R673, followed by Kwazulu Natal at R508 and the Western Cape with R413.

Doug Mayne, Managing Director of The Primedia Lifestyle Group, the shopping mall marketing company owned by Primedia Unlimited, adds: “We understand the crucial role the gift card has within successful retail centres. In fact our marketing teams on the ground regularly include them in their centre strategies.

We find that a truly integrated approach to the art of marketing shopping centres is that they must include draw cards for consumers to visit those centres, and that includes offering the prime tenants great facilities, exciting promotions and events and value adds like the staple gift card which offers consistent revenue to a centre.”

The survey also showed that about 33% of all gift cards sold are to corporate customers, with an average load of R718. Recipients of corporate gift cards spend exponentially more than their private counterparts. Stats show that the two factors that most affect corporate spend are the range of shops available and how close they are to the centre.

“SMS vouchers are also popular with loyalty programmes such as ABSA Rewards, Amex Rewards, eBucks, and Investec Rewards,” says Drisha. “Loyalty companies report a steep rise in people choosing SMS vouchers over other physical goods that the rewards programme may offer, because of the simplicity of the mechanism, and the range of choices that it offers them.”

The numbers show that branded gift card spend represents just under 1% of the overall turnover of the shopping centres that offer them. This shows that they’re no longer simply nice to have – they’re real revenue drivers, and they encourage corporate spend.