The Secret Sauce for Selling More Salon Gift Cards

There are two big benefits for salons that sell more gift cards; new clients and additional dollars spent.  So why aren’t you selling more gift cards?

It’s difficult to find a downside for salons with healthy gift card sales and the benefits they enjoy are compelling.  Consider some of the statistics around gift card sales:

  • 41% of customers trying a business for the first time do so because they received a gift card – 4 out of every 10 new customers!
  • More than half – 55% – had to come back to the business more than once to use up the whole amount on the card
  • 7 out of every 10 gift-card redeemers spent more than what was on the card – and 70% of those people spent at least 20% more than the card’s value

That’s a lot of math.

What it boils down to is this: Salons that sell more gift cards should also have (a) more new clients, (b) more first-time clients who become returning clients, and (c) clients who spend more than the average ticket in your salon or spa.


Ingredient #1 in the Secret Sauce for Selling More Salon Gift Cards  

Set goals.

As they say, “What gets measured, gets done.”  Goals must be specific and measurable, whether your metrics of choice are in numbers, percentages or dollars.  See the list below for some ideas about what kinds of goals you should set.

If this is your first foray into salon gift card sales goal-setting and tracking, keep it simple and focus on a few key numbers, such as staff participation, new clients acquired and overall revenue generated from gift card sales.

Ingredient #2 in the Secret Sauce for Selling More Salon Gift Cards 

Track the results of your salon’s gift card marketing investments.

If you can’t tie results to specific marketing efforts, you won’t know what’s working.  Here are some ways you can measure your salon gift card marketing results:

  • Overall and monthly, quarterly, etc. revenue attributed to sales of salon gift cards
  • Number of gift cards sold
  • Average amount of gift certificate or dollars loaded onto gift cards
  • Percentage of salon staff who sell one or more cards
  • Sales of gift cards by salon staff
  • Percentage of customers buying gift cards
  • Number of new clients acquired from gift cards
  • Number of first time clients (attributed to gift card redemption) who return one or more times
  • Percentage of first time clients who become repeat clients
  • Number of gift-card redeemers who purchase services, retail products and/or both

Ingredient #3 in the Secret Sauce for Selling More Salon Gift Cards 

Stop telling your clients that you have gift cards.

Most salons promote gift cards as though they believe customers don’t know they’re available.  So they continually remind customers that they sell them and put displays by the cash register, graphics on their websites and mention it in email newsletters.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret:  Consumers expect everyone they do business with to sell gift cards. 

Your clients know you have gift cards. Therefore, if they aren’t buying your gift cards, it’s not because they don’t know you have them!

To sell more gift cards, you don’t need to alert your clients to their existence; rather, you need to persuade them to buy them.  They need to be convinced that your salon’s gift card is a thoughtful and appropriate present for the person they’re buying for. They need to know who to give them to.  They need to know that you’re grateful for their referrals – whether those new clients come strictly via word of mouth or because they received a gift card.  They need to feel as good about giving your gift cards to their co-workers, friends and loved ones as they feel when they go out and spend hours shopping for a perfect gift.

Ingredient #4 in the Secret Sauce for Selling More Salon Gift Cards 

Be occasion-specific.

The four life events and occasions that generate the most gift card sales overall include Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day and graduation.  Create marketing campaigns to promote sales of salon gift cards that speak to these gift-card-sales-generating occasions and invest more in gift card marketing efforts during these key seasons.


If your salon doesn’t have loyalty rewards or a loyalty program, you might create a birthday club where clients receive a gift card on their birthday or a special buy one-get one gift card offer where one card will be given away to a friend, co-worker or family member (e.g., to help you attract new clients to your salon).

By the way, don’t worry that you are cannibalizing sales by selling gift cards to your own clients, even if you are extending a special offer.  Remember that when redeeming gift cards, people usually spend more than the card’s value and may actually spend more than they would normally, because the money is not all coming out of their wallet or bank account at the same time!

Ingredient #5 in the Secret Sauce for Selling More Salon Gift Cards 

Get better at leapfrog.

Besides selling gift cards to your clients to give away to others, think about how you can leapfrog over your ideal client type and promote salon gift cards to the husbands, boyfriends, moms, dads, sons, daughters, co-workers, friends and others who are buying gifts for the people represented in your target markets.

In other words, if you want to sell more salon gift cards (and you know you do!) you can’t merely promote gift cards to your own clients. You need to find ways to interact with gift-givers on social networks, email, partner marketing, advertising and other marketing avenues in order to sell gift cards to the people who buy presents for the clients you want most!


Elizabeth Kraus is the author of the newly released 2015 Salon Marketing Calendar  called “Making the Cut.”

Written just for Independent Beauty Professionals, Making the Cut has hundreds of low-cost and no-cost marketing ideas which can help booth renters, salon suite owners, salon owners and salon managers engage, motivate and retain more clients in 2015!



4 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] sales are often overlooked, they are one of the best ways for spa owners to attract new customers. According to the Savvy Stylist, 41% of gift card recipients try out a new business because someone gave them a gift card. 7 out of […]

  2. […] There are two big benefits for salons that sell more gift cards; new clients and additional dollars spent. So why aren’t you selling more gift cards? Hint: It's not because your clients don't know you sell them!  […]

Comments are closed.