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The Psychology of Gift Giving

Gabe Ormando | June 6, 2017 | 10:23 AM

Scientists are finally recognizing what pretty much everyone in the beauty industry has known for a long time – people love to receive experiences as gifts. Recent research published by the University of Toronto Scarborough has shown that giving an experience rather than a ‘thing’ is more effective at strengthening relationships from the receiver’s point of view.

According to the study, gifting an experience is more socially connecting as it tends to be more emotionally evocative. The thrill of the safari, the excitement of a rock concert, the calmness of a spa or the reassurance of the perfect blow dry before a big interview is more intensely emotional over the longer term.

Rapidly rising sales of Shortcuts’ GiftMe gift cards suggests others agree with what authors Cindy Chan in Toronto, and Cassie Mogilner from UCLA in California, say.

The study is particularly interesting to the beauty industry as it took a unique approach to the psychology of gift-giving. Where previous research tended to focus on the enjoyment of certain gifts, Chan and Mogilner instead looked at the outcomes of the gifts and their effectiveness in building relationships. The findings showed people liked experiences and the people who gave them.

In the beauty industry, salons are seeing the benefits of this positive swing to gift cards. The total value of gift card sales overall has been growing year on year, often performing above general retail sales. In 2015 sales topped $130 billion and some are projecting that figure to exceed $160 billion by 2018.

Shortcuts partner salons are taking advantage of this trend, and using easy-to-administer gift cards to push up sales, drive sampling and build in revenue for the future.

The Benefits of Gift Cards:

  • Beautifully branded gift cards, imprinted with the salon logo and images, exude quality to purchaser and the recipient, who could and, hopefully, will become a loyal client after sampling the service and ambiance of the salon.
  • Shortcuts gift cards can be uploaded with a choice of services and retail not just a monetary amount, so the purchaser can create a truly personalized gift for a friend or family member, ensuring an unforgettable experience.
  • Salons making the most of their gift card experience are providing tasteful envelopes or even small gauze bags to ensure the presentation is perfect. And for personalized gift cards, they provide a print-out of all the services available.
  • The easy-to-administer cards are easy to track, involve no administration or paper trails, and can be processed in real time, making them ideal for marketing campaigns focused on specific events as much as all-year-round promotions.

Gabe Ormando has been in the salon and spa business for more than 18 years, with the last 11 working for Shortcuts Software, provider of intuitive technology solutions to over 14,000 clients in the hair and grooming industries worldwide. As well as their stylish point of sale systems, Shortcuts sets itself apart by offering a complete online marketing solution built into the system, and personalized client support 24/7. Constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of the market, Shortcuts is powered by the largest research and development team in the industry. Founded in 1994, Shortcuts technologies are now used in 45 countries around the globe.

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