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Gift Cards: $25 Customer Interaction: Priceless

For customers at HomCo Lumber and Hardware in Flagstaff, Arizona, it pays to comment on the company’s Facebook page. Christina Russo, marketing coordinator for the business, finds social media offers the perfect opportunity to get customers engaged in the store, and offers store gift cards as an incentive.

For example, she gets customers talking about DIY projects by posting photos of an item in the store and asking customers how they could use that product in their own homes.

Then occasionally, as an incentive, she offers those who share their comments on Facebook to be entered into a drawing to win a gift card to the store. As a follow-up, she invites winners to post on Facebook what products they purchased with the gift card.

Whatever the gift card’s value, the customer interaction is priceless.

“Social media gives us new ways to engage with our customers that we don’t have inside the store,” says Russo. “We always see an increase in our ‘Likes’ on Facebook when we run one of these contests, because people share their posts with their friends. This exposes more people to our store who may not normally shop here.”

Facebook provides an avenue for interacting with new customer demographics, particularly female shoppers and the younger generation. The opportunity to win a store gift card is the perfect incentive.

“Rather than giving away a specific product, gift cards allow customers to buy whatever they want,” she says. “In addition, it gets them in the door to spend the gift card and explore all of the products we have to offer.”

Gift cards are also the currency of choice when giving to the community. “We support many non-profits throughout the year,” Russo says, “so when they ask for a donation, we often give it in the form of a gift card.” The local volunteer firefighters, for example, used a donated gift card to buy items from HomCo Lumber and Hardware for a silent auction.

Whether it’s as an incentive for a Facebook contest or for giving back to the community, giving away a few gift cards has proved to be just a part of the larger goal to involve more customers in the store.

About Lynnea Chom

Lynnea is the senior graphic designer for Hardware Retailing magazine, where she works on the layout and design of the magazine and other custom publications. She also does print design for NRHA’s marketing materials, programs and other in-house projects. Lynnea graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Graphic Design. She lives in her hometown of Greenwood, Indiana. During her free time, she enjoys designing, painting, reading and volunteering at her family-owned childcare facility.

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