Why should you follow Apple's gift card model?

Even the biggest and best brands can’t help but want to follow the lead of Apple. Making products iconic, their marketing strategy is second to none – and it will be no surprise that when it comes to gift cards, Apple has got this angle covered too.

Here are some of the learnings you can look at and use for your own brand: 

Create an ecosystem that starts with your gift card

In 2021, Apple launched a new single gift card that can be used towards any of its products. The Apple Gift Card, available in the USA and AU is more flexible than the company’s previous cards, and works on the App Store, subscriptions, digital goods, as well as physical items from the Apple Store or site. In contrast, previous gift cards such as, The App Store & iTunes card will let you buy digital items up to £200, while The Apple Store card can be used for products bought in store or online. The new strapline is simple ‘The Gift Card For Everything Apple’ – and allows for no misunderstanding in its use! 

This is a smart move – not just for simplicity and customer experience –  but as a way to capture more market share and brand engagement. PYMNTS reported that smartphone users spent $9 billion more in 2021 YTD on apps, and Apple itself has seen a 38 percent increase in spending on them in 2021.  By tying all products into one gift card together, it creates an ecosystem.

Simply, Apple wants your connection with the brand to be deep and integrated. You buy an iPhone and instantly have it mimic your Apple Mac files. AirDrop creates more bonds and peaceful simplicity. By purchasing one product, they can hope to ensure a deep affinity with the brand’s ethos – and open the doors to you purchasing from their plethora of products and services.

A gift card is the ultimate ecosystem – opening up a world of opportunity for the whole company. That person who loves apps now has a chance to spend some of the balance on iTunes, or to see what Apple TV is all about. It’s inclusive and very smart.

While your card may be universal already – are you recommending where they could spend and being really open about the available categories? After all, if Apple, who are worth $3 trillion, wouldn’t let you buy a product from the store with an iTunes card –  consumers might be wondering where your balance can be applied to!

Test, test, test

It seems that when it comes to gift cards, Apple is careful to test, test, test, with subtle differences by geographic areas. Each site has subtle differences in load capacity, the use of free text to add amounts, personalisation of the gift card message and designs.  While this could be a case of roll out timings, we like to look at it as another lesson in how to experiment with everything from design to flexibility on funds to see what works.

Want to make your brand iconic? Don’t forget your gift card!

The bitten apple is iconic, and to help the brand go further – what could be stickier for a brand than actual stickers?! Google search is full of questions asking if apple gift cards still have stickers and there are even Reddit forums with people showing off their stickers and saying ‘they couldn’t help but collect them all.’

By making collectable sticker designs that come for free with each gift card,  Apple wins on multiple fronts – brand recognition, consumer interest and appetite and also value – by offering a low cost, high potential return marketing offering. 

Food for thought!

To learn more about the possibilities for your gift card program, talk to us today!

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