Planograms for Gift Card Sales
April 11, 2024

How you sort your gift card shelves can impact your sales.

It’s no secret that most consumers want to get their shopping done as quickly as possible and get on with their busy lives. Therefore, the easier you can make it for them to buy a product in your store, the better your chances of making a sale. (And making them happy.) This holds true for just about any item on your shelves: shampoo, cereal, and especially gift cards. 

“It doesn’t matter if you have the best products; it comes down to offering consumers an easy way to find them,” said Kavin Sivapalan, Vice President of Business Analytics at InComm Payments. “It’s especially important in today’s retail environment where stores are stocking their shelves with more products and consumers have more choices than ever.”  

Gift cards are a unique breed of product that require a specialized in-store presentation. They all look the same physically (a thin card with a peg hole), but each one represents a different product or service. A single rack of gift cards could house many categories, from home improvement and gaming to coffee and ride shares. (That’s a lot of categories in a small space.)

So, the key is to organize and display them in a way that helps the consumer find the card they want quickly and easily. Sivapalan noted that “with more shopping online, it’s important for retailers to maximize their in-store gift card buying experience and make it seamless and positive for shoppers.” This is where planograms come in. 


78% of open-loop gift card purchases are made from seasonal displays.

InComm Payments survey, 2024 

A planogram is a diagram or model that indicates where products should be placed on store shelves to maximize sales. They are invaluable in helping stores present gift cards in a way that engages shoppers and compels them to buy. “There’s a wide spectrum of gift cards, so it’s important to get in the mind of the consumer and sort items based how they would shop the display,” Sivapalan said. 

“Having a strong planogram is more relevant for gift cards because consumers often have an additional variable when they are shopping – and that’s time. Whether they know what they want or are looking for a last-minute gift, customers coming into your store want to find their gift card as quickly as possible.”  

Fortunately, InComm Payments can help. The payments technology innovator offers your store an end-to-end suite of profit-generating solutions which includes a standout team of planogram experts, brimming with experience and armed with state-of-the-art planogram-building technologies.  

Quote from VP of Business Administration at InComm Payments

To give you a window into the intricacies of planogram creation, Sivapalan details his team’s step-by-step process: 

1. Strategize
When first meeting with a merchant, we discuss retail trends and how they may influence gift card sales. We also learn about the merchant’s internal strategy, which helps us align on which categories or brands to emphasize on their planogram. Merchants often provide unique customer insights that can impact our decision-making. (Planogramming through partnership definitely leads to the best solutions.)  

2. Analyze
We analyze the merchant’s current performance and compare it with our comprehensive gift card industry data. Having the ability to review aggregated sales across the industry enables us to identify opportunities for their cards and provide accurate forecasts grounded in strong statistics. We then provide a product list for our partner that shows each card’s projected performance, as well as its relevant category designation ─ and we use all of this information to build the planogram. The benefit of working with InComm Payments is that we partner with a wide variety of merchants and can share our experiences. If you’re a new retailer coming to us, we can leverage our depth of industry knowledge to closely forecast how customers will shop for gift cards in your store. 

3. Create
After finalizing the product list, we work on the planogram. When determining where to place each card, we factor in three important elements: 

i) Card sales performance

ii) Card categorization

iii) Retail trends for the brands 

People shopping for gift cards

High-demand cards are displayed at eye level so customers can find them quickly and easily. 

The cards with the highest sales potential are generally placed toward the top of the display or at eye level, and then we work our way down. But it’s more than just putting the top sellers at the top. We really think about how the consumer is going to shop the entire set. Lastly, we determine the right layout for the planogram. If we have four coffee brand cards, for example, do we position them all horizontally, vertically or in a two-by-two block? The layout not only depends on the fixture size and the number of cards available, but also on what would make the brand stand out. 

4. Differentiate 
It’s rare for a merchant to have one planogram that applies to all of their stores, so we create multiple variations for them. Our retail partners often have stores in multiple states, and the customer profile is usually different in each state; therefore, the assortment needs to be different. The kinds of cards available vary across the country, so our team creates different planograms based on regional preferences. 

Planogram locations around the United States

What plays in Peoria might not be so popular in Pensacola, so we create planograms based on regional buying behaviors. 

5. Set up 
Once we have completed the planogram, the InComm Payments merchandising group sends out a team to stores to set it up.  We take on this responsibility for the merchant – and it’s our way of making sure that the planogram is set right.  

6. Update 
We typically update our partners’ planograms twice a year. There is one reset in the spring around April, and then a fall reset around October. We do this for two reasons:

i) Refresh the assortment. InComm Payments is constantly working with our merchant partners to introduce new cards, and a reset gives us the opportunity to bring these cards to their displays to generate excitement and drive sales. 

ii) Anticipate gift-card-buying seasons. We do the spring reset to get our merchant partners ready for the bump in demand around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduation. And we do another reset in October so merchants have the best card assortment for the upcoming holiday season. 

7. Report
Upon request, we provide our merchant partners with a post-reset analysis about six to eight weeks after the reset. It outlines how the changes we made to their assortments have impacted their sales ─ and we use this information to start planning for the next reset.   

 A customer standing in front of your gift card display is the moment of truth. It’s your last opportunity to influence their purchase. “Our displays are often quite large and such a wide assortment can be overwhelming,” Sivapalan remarked. “Retailers need to simplify their gift card shopping experience; a very clear and easy to shop  display will help customers find the card they want. Price, promotions and other factors can certainly influence their decision,” he noted, “but having the right planogram in place can definitely boost your chances of making a sale.”

To learn more about InComm Payments’ planogram capabilities, contact Kavin Sivapalan at 

1. Source: InComm Payments Market Research: January – December 2023. 

Prefer to keep reading? Browse our site for more information on our gift card programs and displays and fixtures.

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