Gift memberships are a great way to expand awareness of your wine brand. It’s a two for one membership. They are different from most other club memberships because the purchaser and recipient are different people, so managing that relationship is more difficult. Below are ideas for keeping the gift membership healthy and keep both members engaged.
1. acknowledge the unique nature of gift memberships
All communication to your club members should have a gift member version so you can address them properly. This will allow you to focus your message, so it really resonates.
2. manage the types of communication that go to each member
Gift Givers should receive billing notices, obviously, but should also get delivery notices so they know their gift arrived as expected. Shipping notices would go to the recipient, and both the gift giver and gift recipients should get notices about news, releases, specials, and events.
3. be sure the gift giver is the one receiving the credit for the sales for the gift membership
If you have a loyalty program, any dollars, points, and prizes should be theirs, unless they decide to gift them to the recipient. One additional benefit you might consider if the gift giver is a club member themself is to give the gift giver an additional discount since they are purchasing more wine.
4. keep track of gift givers and gift recipients in your database in a searchable way
You will want to train your staff not only to enter that information but to also look for it when talking to customers.
5. protect the gift giver’s credit card so it cannot be used by the gift recipient accidentally
Depending on how you set up gifting in your software, be sure you can protect from accidental use of a givers card by the recipient. There should be a way in your software to keep your staff from doing that.
6. offer a delayed start to the gift membership
That way, if there is a holiday, birthday, or anniversary that it should commence on, you can accommodate that request.
7. send both the gift giver and gift recipient a welcome communication when the gift starts
The gift giver should be reminded what they gave and how often that gift will be received. The gift recipient should be told what the membership entails, their benefits and discounts as well be given the opportunity to return the gift – give a gift membership in return.
8. near holidays, or the gift giver’s birthday, etc., send a reminder to the gift recipient and see if they want to send a gift at this time
Give them opportunities to show their appreciation. Also, send the gift recipient a special message about upcoming club events and see if they want to sponsor the gift giver at the event – maybe even make an announcement during the event if they do sponsor them.
9. when the gifted membership ends, send an exit communication to both the gift giver and the gift recipient
Ideally, the gift giver should be given the opportunity to extend the gift and if they don’t, the gift recipient should be offered the chance to continue their membership.
With these tips, you can really make the most of your gift memberships and make it a better experience for those involved, which, in turn, maximizes your sales opportunities within gifting scenarios.
By Lloyd Vance, Napa, California