Updated: Sep 30
Increase Revenue and Distinguish Your Brand with Gift Cards Sales
Hope During Challenging Times:
It was the year 2008 and an economic crisis was rapidly spreading, resulting in increased unemployment and a diminished housing market. Businesses and consumers were feeling the impact and searching for innovative ways to navigate the economic crisis; one New England supermarket chain, we will refer to as New England Grocery, found an innovative new opportunity to increase their revenue through bulk gift card sales while supporting the local business and non-profit communities.
A New Idea:
The idea for their new gift card campaign was to offer companies a 5% discount on the purchase of gift cards totaling $1000 or more. New England Grocery wanted to target local businesses and major corporations in their market area of Northern New England and New York State to purchase gift cards for their employees, customers, and suppliers during the 2008 Holiday Season. The companies used the gift cards as holiday bonuses, and as gifts to customers and suppliers. Corporations would be able to utilize the 5% discount on bulk purchases to offset the cost of providing these needed employee rewards and benefits. Employees would appreciate “grocery gift cards” because they could be used to support family needs for food, and even pharmacy, in difficult economic times.
New England Grocery was, and remains, deeply rooted in the New England community, however they had little experience with B2B outreach, all of their previous marketing efforts had been targeted at consumers. They set out to find an outsourced business development partner who could assist them with outreach to business customers.
Leadership at New England Grocery was aware of a successful outsourced business development company based out of Portland, Maine called The Endurance Group (TEG). They were confident that with TEG’s staff and resources, they could execute their plan to significantly expand gift card sales to the local business community during the 2008 Holiday Season.
Excited for the challenge, and motivated by its potential impact for their community, TEG worked closely with New England Grocery’s team, creating a comprehensive B2B sales strategy. They developed target prospect lists with phone numbers, emails, and addresses of owner and HR executives at over 10,000 local businesses in Northern New England. They deployed a CRM system from Salesforce.com, and implemented email marketing, direct mail, and telemarketing campaigns to target prospects.
TEG also coordinated with New England Grocery’s in house customer service team to ensure orders were taken properly and to create a detailed sales and marketing report for New England Grocery’s executive team.
Initial Results – The Non-Profit Surprise:
With the diligent support of The Endurance Groups sales team, New England Grocery saw immediate results within the first few months of launching their campaign. Between November and December 2008 TEG secured $775,000 of corporate gift card sales. In addition to the significant gift card sales to businesses and corporations, TEG noticed that churches, schools, and non-profits bought over $400,000 of New England Grocery gift cards. The big question was why?
The Endurance Group conducted market research with non-profit customers with the major objective to determine why they were buying New England Grocery’s gift cards.
The answer was that these organizations discovered that by combining the weekly grocery purchases of several families, they could achieve the $1,000 bulk purchase minimum to obtain a 5% discount ($50) which could then be donated to the non-profit. By simply buying their regular family groceries with gift cards purchased through their church (or other local community organization) organizations/individuals could raise thousands of dollars for their church, school, etc.
The information from this market research was pivotal because it meant that a campaign to sell gift cards to corporations during the holiday season now had the potential to be a year-round effort to sell gift cards to churches, schools, and other non-profits to help them with their fundraising efforts.
This campaign would have the additional benefit of significantly enhancing New England
Grocery’s profile in the community and be a key driver of customer loyalty. New England Grocery asked TEG to develop an annual plan to build their customer base in the non-profit community.
The Endurance Group knew the market for the gift card initiative had potential for exponential growth. Non-profit organizations were likely to be understaffed, volunteer based, with limited time to dedicate to organizing new fundraising efforts; they needed TEG to present them with this simple, straightforward method to raise funds and see results.
Gift cards are an excellent passive fundraising source for organizations because they are simply asking individuals to purchase a product every family needs: groceries. Families would not be spending income on items outside of their regular expenditures.
The Endurance Group continued to expand the gift card program to corporations beyond the holiday season. By convincing employers to harness their purchasing power to buy in bulk, they were able to create employee incentive, benefit, and wellness programs and provide employees a 5% discount on their grocery purchases.
Viability In Times of Crisis:
New England Grocery and The Endurance Group have maintained the gift card campaign the past 12 years increasing gift card revenue from $3,205,250 in 2009 to $10,645,728 in 2019, an increase of 232.134%. Sales fell off slightly in 2020 due to the widespread impact of COVID-19 resulting in the closure of schools, churches and corporations.
More than ever the pandemic has reinforced New England Grocery’s commitment to supporting families and integral community centered organizations like schools, churches, and non-profits. Even in the face of uncertainty, bulk gift card sales continue to bring in millions of dollars annually and remain a staple source of revenue.
Building Brand Loyalty:
As New England Grocery’s gift card campaign flourished, their reputation as a steward of their community grew. Corporations and their staff appreciate that New England Grocery supports their families, especially during times of crisis. Non-profits, their beneficiaries, and the greater community now associate the chain as a beacon of community support.
The gift card campaign has become a unique branding opportunity as it demonstrated the chains unwavering commitment to the health of their communities. Brand loyalty increased as gift card holders made purchases beyond the value of their gift card and adopted New England Grocery as their primary grocer.
The Endurance Group - Build With Us:
Gift card sales are a simple and effective way to increase revenue while building brand loyalty for national grocers, convenience stores, and retailers. With thousands of potential partner organizations in your communities, allow The Endurance Group to become your best asset to build these relationships. We will help you to generate an impressive source of new revenue while building your brand in the communities you serve.