12:00 AM, 05 13, 2016

Presents, Cash or Gift Cards – Which Rules Supreme?

You might be considering a reward for sales motivation, employee engagement or for loyalty to your business. How do you choose between a gift card, presents and cash? We take a look at the reasons we think Gift cards reign supreme.

The Treat Factor

Do you ever receive cash in a birthday card? It probably goes straight into your wallet or purse and gets spent almost without thinking. Gift Cards are most definitely the gift that keeps on giving in the long term. It’s physically separate from cash in the purse or wallet, and as such is treated differently. Studies show that people treat gift cards differently to cash, so to really stand out, this is a great option. The whole point of a reward is to give ‘added value’. Cash is all too easily absorbed into day to day life to truly stand out.

The Gift Of Choice

A present such as hamper of good, flowers or a good bottle of wine seems like a wonderful choice as a reward or an incentive, but without knowing the recipient inside out, there is the strong chance that you may choose a gift that is inappropriate or not quite right, however well intentioned. Gift cards are set apart from other non-cash incentives as the recipient can take the time to choose the right gift for them, purchased at the right moment. This could be anything, from electricals to a holiday. Andrew Johnson, director general of the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association indicated that “Sales of multi-choice gift cards have been increasing more than closed loop gift cards, which suggests that employers like the choice, and those cards fit their particular needs.” However, it’s worth saying that both an open loop and a closed loop gift card still offer choice because of the diversity of retailers today.

A Family Affair

Many businesses who reward or motivate their staff completely overlook how decisions are made as a family unit. A stressed unhappy employee might complain about their job and be encouraged by a spouse to apply for new roles elsewhere. However, a business that rewards with gift cards opens up the chance for the treat to be enjoyed by other family members which makes the whole family emotionally attached to the company. By allowing a portion of your budget to be utilised in a gift card scheme, for example one that provides discounts with supermarkets, the day to day expenses such as those of grocery shopping become significantly cheaper. This is also ideal if your business is still in the midst of pay freezes. Even if austerity is not an issue for everyone, the variety in a modern supermarket means each card could represent something different for each employee, from groceries through to luxury goods.

A Memorable Moment

A reward has to feel like it was earned, deserved and has a value. £20 in an envelope is a generous gift for anyone to receive, but it puts a clear price on the task completed. In contrast, gift cards may have a value to them, but many gift card rewards can also be ‘topped up’ or spent in multiple transactions. If the gift is for a specific venue, such as for a meal, then suddenly the same £20 feels much grander when it covers half of your total bill. An online reward system that uses gift cards can also be topped up or managed virtually, making the process of gifting less focused on the transaction and more on the benefits of ‘shopping’ to spend the balance.

The Power Of The Reload

New digital capabilities now mean that businesses have the ability to gift an electronic code or reload a gift card. This is incredibly powerful for ‘small value rewards’. Whilst you might feel more like a customer tipping a waiter leaving £5 on an employee or a colleague’s desk as a thanks for something, topping up their existing gift card of choice with £5 and sending an email alert feels more professional and slick. It’s also discreet, allowing you to portion out your budget based on merit.

Employer Ease

You might have high hopes at the start of the year to reward your best staff with regular gifts, but the logistics of keeping enough petty cash, ordering and storing gifts and booking days away can move to the ‘back of the list’ when the going gets tough. Bulk gift cards can be ordered in minutes, or an ongoing gift card platform can make rewarding as easy as selecting a value and a recipient. (Speak to us about Preference today) Gift cards have the potential to work as a powerful reward and a driver for loyalty, sales incentives and as an engagement tool. Speak to us today about any of the solutions you have read about for an in depth discussion on how we can help – just send an email to hello@svmglobal.com and we will get back to you immediately.



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