How Digital Gift Cards Generated Revenue for Ambushed Salon

Amy Bush is the owner and operator at Ambushed Salon, a hair salon located in Gahanna, Ohio. At Ambushed Salon, Amy and her team provide non-heat or chemical services to clients with naturally textured, curly hair.

In addition to hair services, clients can also purchase retail hair products for use at home. Between the services and retail sales, Ambushed Salon traditionally processes around $28,000 in monthly credit card sales.

The Problem: Covid-19 Closure Eliminates In-store Revenue

When Covid-19 started to make its way across the United States, Amy had to make the difficult switch to close her business for an undetermined amount of time. This resulted in a complete halt in income for Amy and the salon.

To continue to bring in revenue, Amy started hosting virtual hair and product consultations with her clients. She would charge $1/minute for the consultation and ultimately sell hair products at the end of the call. In order to bill for these consultations, Amy uses the Stax platform to allow her clients to pay online.

In addition to hosting virtual consultations, Amy knew that she could also bring in additional revenue for the salon by selling gift certificates. Clients could always purchase gift certificates in person at Ambushed Salon, an offering that typically generates $2000 in sales annually, but Amy now needed a way to sell these certificates online since her clients were unable to visit in-person.

The Solution: Add Integrated Digital Gift Cards Option

That’s when Amy Bush learned about the ability to add the features of Gift Up!—a digital gift card platform that connects directly with the Stax dashboard—for no additional cost.

“When we learned that you released Gift Up! and I received the information on what it was, I thought ‘I’m in’. I’m all about making things easier for the client. We were considering activating a similar program with our point of sale, but your program made it so much easier because it was all done for us”.

Why did Amy choose Gift Up!:

  1. The Stax Marketplace included a link directly to Gift Up! so Amy could immediately sell digital gift cards right from her Virtual Terminal
  2. The Stax All-In-One connects with Gift Up! without charging Amy any additional fees such as Activation Fees, Hosting Fees, etc.
  3. Gift Up!’s drop-in checkout form gave Amy the ability to embed the form right on to her website, without needing help from a developer
  4. Gift Up! waived the 3.49% transaction fee for her first $5000 in digital gift cards sales to support businesses during Covid-19

Once Gift Up! was live on her website, Amy informed her clients of the new digital gift cards product by sending an emailed newsletter. The Newsletter also announced the gift card promotion she launched alongside Gift Up!

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The Results: Digital Gift Cards Generate Revenue to Continue Salon Operations

In 30 days, Ambushed Salon has processed over $7000 in gift card sales without ever seeing a client in person. This new form of income has helped Amy continue to pay her employees while also keeping up with other expenses even during Covid-19.

This has been extremely successful. We started towards the end of March (2020) and since then we have sold over $7000 in gift cards. So that has helped us get another month of expenses and I can still hold money back to help make payroll and cover costs once we do go back to the salon.”

Recap

Here is a quick recap of what Amy and Ambushed Salon were able to accomplish with Gift Up!

  • $7000+ in digital gift cards sales over 30 days
  • 4,216% increase in monthly gift card sales
  • 65 digital sales processed when the salon was closed
  • Simple and immediate setup
  • Ongoing engagement with clients

Conclusion

Amy and Ambushed Salon will continue to sell digital gift cards with Gift Up! even after the salon reopens.

“Gift Up! has definitely solved a problem for us. Our sales went way up when people could just purchase from home. Customers are so used to ordering online and now they can easily purchase a gift card from us without having to stop their day and come to the salon. We are also able to re-route some of the activity at the desk. Instead of selling gift cards in person, we are able to answer the phone or assist with other questions”.

Stax Pay secures in-person and online credit card payment processing with an all-in-one platform to help you run and grow your business. Stax Pay lets you improve your customer experience with over-the-phone ordering and curbside pickup, create and manage digital invoices, and modernize your business overnight with comprehensive contactless solutions.

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12 Ways to Get Your Business Ready for a Virtual Holiday

In 2020, consumers spent around $9 billion online on Black Friday alone, and 55% of consumers plan to spend the same, if not more than last year. That’s a 21.6% increase year over year. Holiday season sales are your last chance to generate revenue this year. With that in mind, it’s important to have a plan for getting your business ready for a virtual holiday. 

Here are 12 ways to help increase your revenue and ensure a successful holiday shopping season for your business. 

Keep Social Distancing in Mind

While it can be helpful to check your data and analytics reports from last year’s holiday sales, keep in mind that the previous year’s top-performing products or services will reflect very differently due to the current economic climate.  

Businesses that are prepared for this holiday season will reap the benefits. A Radial consumer survey regarding holiday shopping reported that despite the impact of COVID-19, shoppers have a stronger preference for online shopping. There are multiple virtual options you can provide to your customers that will provide a quick and safe shopping experience.  

Start Holiday Sales Early, End Later

If you don’t think people love holiday sales, just look at the chaos happening around any major chain or storefront hosting black Friday deals.  Consumers will go out of their way and literally lose sleep for an amazing discount. Although retailers should expect reduced in-person shopping this season, it’s suggested that businesses still prepare for an influx in virtual holiday shopping. 

Offering early holiday discounts and virtual sales extends purchasing opportunities and gives customers more time to engage. Consider optimizing your digital shopping experience by maximizing your online inventory. Review previous sales trends and make sure popular products and services are highlighted. Make it worth their while to shop online instead of coming in-store. 

Run Limited Time Holiday Discount Codes 

Digital transactions could increase by roughly 25 to 35 percent from November to January, totaling between $182 billion and $196 billion in sales. One way to make sure your business benefits from an increase in online shopping is by running limited-time holiday discount codes. 

Similar to the Kmart blue light specials before technology took over, running popup online sales is a great way to boost revenue during the holiday shopping season. These sales can easily be promoted on your website, social media, and through targeted email marketing campaigns.

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Offer FREE Curbside Pick-Up

Offering a Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) or curbside pick-up options elevates the customer experience. It is important, though, that businesses invest time and necessary resources into training and process development so that employees are prepared. 

Regardless of whether customers are waiting in line inside the store or waiting in their vehicle, they want to avoid long wait times. Having a clear plan in place that includes visible signage and designated parking areas, and cameras to notify staff when a customer has arrived are necessary for a smooth customer experience. 

Additional Benefits of Buy Online Pick-Up in Store: 

  • Increase Consumer Choice
  • Decrease Shipping Costs
  • Decrease Shipping Time
  • Increase Impulse Buys
  • Fewer Returns

Get in the Spirit With Holiday-Themed Landing Pages

While decorating your storefront helps get your foot traffic customers in the spirit, don’t forget to give your business website some holiday cheer. Adding a holiday-themed landing page is a quick way to show your customers that the holidays have arrived.  

Creating a holiday landing page where everything pertinent to holiday shoppers from gift ideas, coupon codes, information on sales, shipping deadlines, is all in one place is ideal. This collects all of the otherwise scattered information and puts it in one spot. Temporarily replace key inbound links to your homepage with a link to this page for an easy transition.

Tis’ The Season To Use Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising should be an annual tradition regardless of the season. However, starting your holiday marketing campaign before your competition can be a game-changer. One way to do so is with a targeted social media marketing campaign. Utilizing your social media outlets for holiday marketing is simple and can be done without requiring a huge advertising budget. 

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is considered to be one of the biggest periods for online sales. If you think it may be too late to launch a holiday push on social media, you’d be wrong. The last Saturday before Christmas is called super Saturday for a reason. 

Incorporate festive images into your Facebook posts that will reflect and tie in the magic of the holiday season. Add a personal touch by sharing a  story and encompassing the holiday.  Invoking emotion is an inconspicuous and powerful way to connect with your customers. 

Run a Holiday Google Ads Campaign

Running a strong Google Ads campaign can help make this holiday shopping season successful for your business. Between running ads on Google and promoting posts on social media, there are multiple options for you to choose from when designing your Google Ads marketing strategy. 

Begin by building your campaigns and ad groups granularly. Bucket your products into campaigns that make sense, based on your business or a particular industry. Since the holiday shopping season is so competitive, you may need to alter bids multiple times per day. Tracking product ad performance throughout the holiday season is essential for recognizing not only what people are searching for but what people are buying. 

Optimize Your SEO For Targeted Website Traffic

Creating a solid seasonal SEO strategy for targeted website traffic is key to leveraging the peak buying period during the holidays to its full potential. In most cases, this annual holiday season will result in a big or moderate spike in traffic and sales. So how do you get your seasonal products and offers in front of your customers? 

Seasonal content is the most effective way to attract natural backlinks and organic social media shares. Seasonal content has also been proven to bring in more sales. Seasonal SEO campaigns once set will be able to be re-used every year. You’ll need to update much of your content to bring it up back into the readers’ feeds and make use of previous years’ keywords, sales patterns, and experience.

Create an Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is a great tool for businesses of all sizes, especially during the holiday season. Businesses can use email to promote sales, invite subscribers to holiday events, showcase unique gift ideas, or even gift guides. The holidays can be a busy time for consumers. Launching a variety of your email campaigns, from welcome emails to offers and reminders is a great way to stay top of mind.

Research shows 41% of retailers will use “Buy Now” buttons in their email marketing, making it extremely simple for subscribers to make a purchase. By using a call-to-action button in your email, you can highlight a gift, a special offer, or even an event that a subscriber can buy in a matter of a couple of clicks. When the holidays are over consider sending a few “post-holiday” deals to your subscribers. This can help close a few more sales as well as get shoppers who received gift cards to start using them.

Provide An Optimal Customer Experience

While you may not have the opportunity to manage your customer’s online interaction with your business in person, there are ways to optimize their experience. One way to do this is by making sure your website is mobile and user-friendly. 85% of users will bounce off your website if the information they are searching for isn’t easily accessible. 

Another way to maintain an optimal customer experience is by making sure your ads are linked to the proper landing pages. Searchers click on ads on Google, Bing, or other search engines because they’re interested in what’s being advertised. Don’t miss an opportunity to provide your customer with an optimal experience due to broken links or misguided ad clicks. Creating a positive experience requires thinking about how customers are finding you, contacting you, and interacting with you online.

Plan For Post Holiday Business

Just because the holiday is over doesn’t mean the opportunity to continue generating revenue is lost. Most shoppers buy from you not just because of the discounts but because they enjoyed their experience. However, if you continue to provide discounts, you’ll be able to lure your customers back sooner. 

Adjusting your sale to include relevant products and services will keep your inventory exciting and new post-Christmas. Focus on a new year of opportunity. Offer items that will help your customers manage their productivity, focus on their health or assist with maintaining organization. This would also be a great time to release a new product or service. Basically, anything that can be logically tied into a New Year’s resolution.

Add An Online Shopping Cart To Your Website

More shoppers are buying gifts online this year to avoid crowded stores. If you don’t have an online or eCommerce presence, now is the time to get one. You can attract a larger audience of customers by providing an eCommerce option, and this can lead to increased holiday sales for your business.

Stax Online Shopping Cart allows you to create an eCommerce shopping cart to sell your products online with just one click, no configuration or technical skills needed. You can add items to the catalog, select those items, and automatically create an online shopping cart where customers can go to purchase products instantly.

All of these actions could help to bolster sales but only if attention is paid to inventory. You don’t want to have an issue similar to the Bath and Body Works candle sale debacle of 2020. Make sure your website stays up-to-date and accurate regarding what’s available in your store, and over-communicate any potential delays immediately. 

How Stax Can Help Your Business Prepare For A Virtual Holiday

The more prepared you are for a virtual holiday the more profitable your business will be. Building or optimizing an online store doubles your business’ ability to generate revenue. Whether it’s invoicing, recurring billing, pay by phone, contactless payments, or being able to receive payments through your website, Stax offers multiple online payment options that can help your business succeed. 

Want to learn more about the Stax all-in-one payment processing platform or interested in taking the next steps towards adding an online shopping cart to your business this holiday season? 

Reach out to Stax today. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you benefit from the right modern payment solutions right away. 

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Boost Holiday Revenue By Adding Digital Gift Cards to Your Small Business

Over the years gift cards have gone from a last-minute gift idea to a massive revenue generator for businesses of all sizes. During the holiday season, eCommerce sales were up more than 12% and digital gift cards accounted for nearly 20% of holiday gift card sales in 2020. During that same time, 80% of consumers reported receiving a digital or physical gift card making the cards a significant source of revenue.

Digital Gift Cards, also referred to as e-gift cards or electronic gift cards are a great way to expand your business’s ability to boost revenue generation during the holiday season. This is why you should add offering digital gift cards to your small business.

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3 Benefits of Offering Digital Gift Cards to Your Customers

Customers love gift cards because they are cost-effective and quick. Not only for the people but digital gift cards provide ample benefits to a brand as well. In fact, the most requested holiday gift in America once again is gift cards. Gift card sales have grown to more than 7%. The growth was supported by a 4.5% increase in digital gift card sales and the rapidly increasing popularity of curated cards, which will likely continue trending year over year. Besides revenue generation here are a few more benefits your business can gain from offering digital gift cards to your customers.

Brand Awareness

A gift card allows your customers to try out your products and get a better insight into your brand. If the recipient likes your offerings, there are certain chances that he or she will buy a similar gift card for their loved ones, hence boosting your brand awareness.

Your brand logo in the digital gift card will help boost brand awareness getting your business noticed. Unlike physical gift cards, digital gift cards can be sent from anywhere to any part of the world, which gives your business a global reach.

Increase in Overall Spending

The primary benefit of digital gift cards is that they increase sales. More than half of consumers are expected to spend as much as $30 more than the value of their gift cards. With 53% of consumers choosing to use their gift cards right away to take advantage of post-holiday sales, businesses can expect a significant increase in overall spending.

Consumers are more willing to spend money gifted to them than if it came from their own wallets. This alone prompts customers to buy more than they may usually have. Often this means that they’re spending more than the gift card itself. When the gift card recipient comes to your business to make purchases, it offers your business an opportunity to earn even more revenue and attract more customers.

Encourages Repeat Business

Offering gift card promotions, especially around the holidays can be a great way to increase loyalty with your current customers. This type of offer encourages a purchaser to spend more money, driving up the average amount of your gift card sale. Since gift card recipients are already using a card to make their purchase, you’re in a great position to add them to your loyalty program.

Recent studies have shown that 61 percent of consumers surveyed said they prefer to receive a gift card as a reward for loyalty over a coupon or bonus. This provides the perfect opportunity for your staff to sign them up for communications either through texts, emails, and/or mail. This offers you an opportunity to reach them with new promotions over time keeping your business top of mind for repeat purchases.

Related Content: Move Over Black Friday – How to Prep Your Business For Cyber Monday

How to Implement Gift Cards Into Your Small Business

Adding Digital Gift Cards to your business is easy. A number of online services allow you to create and issue digital gift cards to paying customers so that the final recipient can come back at another time to redeem his gift. Gift Up! is the simplest way to sell your business’ gift cards on your website with no monthly fee. Fully automated, any website, any currency.

Use the free Gift Up! app (Google Play & Apple) or your POS terminal for in-store gift card validation & redemption. It’s super simple and you can use any device; your mobile, iPad, or PC/Mac.

Interested in finding out more about our products and services to help your business thrive? Reach out to us today. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you see how Stax can best support your business.

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Move Over Black Friday: How to Prep Your Business for Cyber Monday

Created by retailers to encourage people to shop online, the term Cyber Monday made its official debut on November 28, 2005. Now it’s a multi-billion dollar shopping day that continues to exceed estimated expectations every year. With more businesses transitioning to a digital experience this holiday season it’s no surprise that online spending is estimated to increase extensively during Cyber Monday in 2021.

To provide a solid comparison, in 2020 consumers’ total sales hit $9.4 billion. That’s up 19% from the previous year. That’s more than Black Friday and Amazon Prime day. Online sales via smartphones hit a new record in 2019, accounting for 33% of Cyber Monday sales at $3 billion, which represents 46% growth year over year. So how can your business prepare for Cyber Monday this holiday season?

Set Up an Online Shopping Cart

U.S. online sales increased 43% year over year, reaching $60.4 billion in one month, according to Adobe Analytics. Which begs the question. Do you have an eCommerce store or an online shopping cart? If not, you may be cutting your revenue generation in half. With 53% of retailers expected to offer a BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store) option, you don’t want your business to be left behind. Especially now that It’s easier than ever to integrate an online store into your business model.

Having an online store is almost a necessity for success this holiday season being that it’s safer and more convenient for the customer. With Stax’ Online Shopping Cart you can sell items online with no configuration needed. Easily set up your online store with one click. Add items or services to your catalog, publish them to your online shop with one click. No domain purchase needed is needed.

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Your Brick and Mortar and Digital Store Works Together

Once you have your eCommerce store up and running, it’s important to make sure your brick-and-mortar store and your digital store work seamlessly together. Begin by only offering 20% of your goods and services that are most popular online. This will assist in managing your inventory and allow you to consistently anticipate costs and cash flow for both stores.

Preventing any disconnect from your physical and online store is just as important as managing your inventory. This means making sure your staff is aware of what is expected in regards to how you want them to approach customers, collect emails, and promote your cross-platform marketing campaigns. This maintains a streamlined experience that translates to a better customer experience.

Start Showcasing Your Cyber Monday Deals

American’s spent almost $10.8 Billion during Cyber Monday in 2020 with 50% of those sales being made via a mobile device. While the economy isn’t what it was then, online sales generation continues to grow with more consumers purchasing through eCommerce stores.

Creating a buzz surrounding your Cyber Monday deals early can create a sense of urgency and FOMO for your customers. Providing limited deals customers can only claim via your eCommerce store allows you to control the amount of product needed in your inventory and helps you manage your revenue return.

Retargeting Current Customers

Retargeting is a marketing strategy used by many online businesses to place relevant ads in front of previous consumers who have purchased a product or service from your business. Customers who have previously purchased from your online store have an 85% chance of buying again if the experience was positive.

A great time to retarget customers is around the holidays. You can catch their attention with a new product, service upgrade, or event. Placing relevant ads in front of repeat customers allows you to keep your product or service in front of buyers who already have an interest in what you’re offering. Seeing ads on other websites and apps they use on a regular basis will keep your business top of mind when they’re ready to buy again.

Offer Gift Cards

As more consumers shop online, digital business tools are becoming a requirement for success. Adding digital gift cards to your business model is an easy addition that provides multiple benefits to you and your customers.

Gift Up!, which is available on Stax’ Platform, is the simplest way to sell gift cards for your business online. Customers can buy digital gift cards and certificates for your products and services directly from your website. You can easily customize your gift card to sell a fixed value (e.g. $25), custom value gift cards, and sell your products and services in any currency and on any website or social platform.

Optimize Your Online Checkout Process

74% of online shoppers abandon their cart for one reason or another. That’s why It’s critical to make sure that the consumer understands the stages of the checkout process. Make it simple and make it easy, beginning at product selection and continuing on to the confirmation email, the checkout process should be seamless.

Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) has been gaining a lot of steam, especially amongst retailers who have multiple physical locations. However, this doesn’t mean that a small to medium-size business can’t also benefit from offering a curbside pickup option as well.

Offer Curbside Pick-Up

Currently, 67% of U.S. shoppers have used the buy online pick-up in-store (BOPIS). In fact, 50% of consumers decide which online store to purchase from depending on whether or not they could choose to pick up in-store. Allowing customers to pick up in-store immediately pays off by saving your business shipping costs. Curbside pick-up makes shopping easier for customers providing them with more flexibility. This boosts customer loyalty.

Businesses that have multichannel experiences such as curbside pick-up often saw a 23% increase in sales. Click and collect. The perfect way for retailers to drive in-store foot traffic and connect their offline and online experiences. With Stax contactless payment solutions you can easily process payments with touch-free tools including text2pay. Simply send a payment link directly to your customer’s phone. They click the link and submit their debit card or credit card payment without leaving the comfort of their car.

How Stax Can Help Your Business Prep For Cyber Monday

The more prepared you are, the more profitable this Cyber Monday can be for your business.

Stax prides itself on providing businesses with the payment solutions they need to improve their processes and continue to grow year over year.

At Stax, our payment platform focuses on going beyond ordinary merchant services accounts. Stax allows for multiple payment capabilities through our Mobile app. You can also key in payments or add the optional mobile reader to start swiping. Enjoy the ease and convenience of sending invoices and storing payment methods through the Stax platform.

Want to learn more about our payment processing platform or interested in taking the next steps towards adding an online shopping cart to your business this holiday season? Reach out to us at Stax today.

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How Offering Digital Gift Cards Can Help Support Your Business

Many businesses are having to make adjustments to how they continue to run their company. Digital business tools have quickly become a requirement for success as more people shop online than ever before. It’s important that merchants are able to add digital gift card capabilities to their business models in order to continue to generate sales virtually.

In fact, consumers spend more than $100 billion via gift cards every year. This makes it a viable solution in today’s social climate. Gift cards are cost-effective and time-saving.

The Stax focus has always been to support and help business owners at all levels. With that in mind, we have partnered with Gift Up! to offer digital gift card capabilities to all of our current and future merchants.

Here is how adding digital gift cards can quickly help support and grow your business.

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Increase Sales and Revenue

eCommerce gift cards increase revenue and provide an opportunity for sales growth. Digital gift cards not only boost sales they also help your business drive more revenue. Studies show that 72% of customers spend more than the gift card amount at checkout. Digital gift cards are often used as a discount by the receivers to buy products that they wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

For the consumer, the benefits are simple to see: digital gift cards are easier to buy, easier to give, easier to keep track of, and are an easier forum in which to earn loyalty rewards. Digital gift cards also give your loyal customers an opportunity to support you while regular operations are on hold.

For retailers and restaurants, the primary benefits are the additional channels through which they’re able to sell gift cards, including social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Google Ads.

Adding Digital Gift Cards to Your Business Is Easier Than you Think

Adding a gift card process may sound complicated, but is actually simpler and faster with the right provider. Gift Up! has the ability to get your eCommerce gift card process set up and running in a matter of days. They integrate your digital gift card system with existing payment processing software and your POS system.

Gift Up! is the simplest way to sell gift cards for your business online. Your customers can buy digital gift cards and certificates for your products and services directly from your website. You can customize your gift card to sell a fixed value (e.g. $50), custom value gift cards, and sell your products and services in any currency and on any website or social platform.

With flexible delivery options, you can send gift cards via email or download them to a customer’s smartphone. Selling digital gift cards can also boost brand awareness. Design beautiful digital gift cards with your branding and logo on Gift Up! with flexible customization. You’ll have access to hundreds of unique designs that you can style to look the way you want.

Digital Gift Cards Are Convenient and Secure

In the digital era, digital gift cards are a safe way to generate revenue for your business anytime, and anywhere. Unlike physical gift cards that are easily lost or stolen, digital gift cards are secure and convenient. Your customers can send or receive digital gift cards via direct email or SMS text. Your business can then track redemption via the Gift Up! app.

To support businesses, Gift Up! Is waiving its usual 3.49% fee for Stax members’ first $5000 in gift card sales. You’ll also be able to link your Gift Up! through the Stax Platform, and still, get your same low-cost subscription-based processing for your company’s virtual gift card sales.

Use the free Gift Up! app (Google Play & Apple) or your POS terminal for in-store gift card validation & redemption. It’s super simple and you can use any device; your mobile, iPad, or PC/Mac.

Interested in finding out more about our products and services to help your business thrive? We will be happy to answer your questions and help you see how we can best support your business. Reach out to a Payments Consultant today.

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