Archive for November, 2011

How Generation Y is Embracing Customer Loyalty

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

We’ve been hearing a lot about how gift cards have become the most coveted gift this holiday season, as well as their rise to the number 1 spot for workplace incentives, but; do gift cards have a strong hold on the most redeemed item in loyalty programs? Really…we want to know!

A recent study released in the United States, called “Born This Way: The US Millennial Loyalty Survey”, concluded that Gen Y, AKA “Millennial” consumers (those born between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s)  “will change the way companies and brands build sustainable customer loyalty”.


  • Over ¾ of US Gen Y-ers are more likely to select a brand offering a loyalty or reward program over one that does not offer such a program
  • They rate loyalty rewards as their top incentive as exchange for sharing personal information with marketers
  • No surprise; social media is on the rise, with nearly ½ of US Gen Y-ers willing to promote brands via social media in exchange for rewards
  • Using a mobile device as a substitute for a plastic loyalty card is the top requested mobile payment application

Generation Y is clearly more “willing to participate in loyalty and reward programs than their parents, but they expect reward programs to be free, easy and fast,” says Rick Ferguson, VP if Knowledge Development for Aimia . “This generation also relies heavily on outside information to make purchase decisions—information that is often out of the realm of control for marketers”.

So how will the closed-loop segment of the pre-paid gift card industry capitalize on these Gen-Y/Millennial loyalty & reward tendencies?

I wish I could give you the full report, but you can download the full US research report here.

A Steady Rise in Holiday Gift Card Sales for 2011

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Did you know 80% of people will buy a gift card this holiday season? Yes 80%. That is a massive number. Line up 10 people, 8 of them will buy a gift card for someone this holiday season. That is up from 77% during the 2010 holiday season. The average gift card value has also gone up from $41.48 to $43.23, showing the spending growth in the gift card market. This is an incredible testament to the strength gift cards carry in the retail market. They are the most popular holiday gift, and provide a low risk, high reward scenario for both givers and receivers. They have more trophy value than straight cash, and appear more thoughtful as well.

Gift cards are easy to give. Roughly 58% of consumers say they would be happy to receive gift cards. This may be due in part to the growing secondary market for gift cards where consumers can sell gift cards for cash, or other secondary markets where gift cards can be swapped. Regardless of whether the gift card is used in the primary or secondary market gift cards are in higher demand than they have ever been. So, chances are, you will be getting a gift card this holiday season, so enjoy!


For more information on holiday gift card trends check out the Chicago Tribune article.

Corporate Health & Wellness Watch

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Perhaps you have heard about the benefits and healthcare insurance savings for companies participating in health and wellness programs. And, perhaps you understand the benefits of incentives (like gift cards) for desired healthful behavior in order to keep company premiums in check. However, if you are not up to date on the above realities; you may not be in line to include health insurance penalties for those participating in UNhealthy behaviors.

What is the next trend for corporate health and wellness programs? It could be falling in the employer’s court and cost the employee more out-of-pocket.

Gift Card Marketing as an Advertising Strategy

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Retailers’ preparation for the holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and as retailers look for last minute ways to boost their year end revenue; gift marketing becomes a very effective option.  Gift marketing uses gift cards as a device for loyalty and rewards. Giving bonus gift cards to shoppers for spending a certain amount turns a gift card from a one-transaction device into a revenue boosting loyalty device that keeps shoppers coming back. It shows appreciation and gives the essential value-added incentive that shoppers look for as they shell out their holiday gift spending.

Are you a retailer looking to boost holiday revenues? Review these tips from Heartland Payment Systems:

  • Attract new customers by pre-loading cards and partnering with neighboring, non-competing businesses to distribute your cards to their best customers. Plus, you can surprise and delight your existing customers by handing out cards from the other local partnering businesses.
  • Make your promotions visible by having employees wear promotional buttons and by posting prominent signage in and around your store or restaurant.
  • Train employees to remind shoppers that gift cards are perfect for teachers, mail carriers, hair stylists and others they would like to thank during the holiday season.
  • Encourage customers to spend more and return more frequently by setting a visit-based reward that specifies the number of visits and minimum purchase amount to receive the reward back on the card.
  • Offer top-up rewards that encourage gift card purchasers to load more money onto their cards to receive the extra reward.

For more information on holiday revenue boosting and gift marketing click here.

Are Retailers & Merchants Ready for the Tablet eCommerce Phenomenon?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Are you prepared for total immersion into e-tail? Facts to consider if your answer is NO:

  • 1 in 3 online consumers to use a tablet by 20141
  • The purchase conversion rate is 3% for shoppers using a traditional PC, it is 4% or 5% for shoppers using tablets, says Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research.2
  • Many retailers also report that tablet users place bigger orders—in some cases adding 10% to 20% more to the tab—on average than shoppers using PCs or smartphones.2

Although only approximately 50% of the top retailers are accepting gift cards online; we hope that advancements in buying will prompt retailers and merchants to accept their gift cards on line, in order
to capture the growing tablet shopper category. Many more retailers offer eGift Cards to consumers versus B2B, but we also hope that taking these first steps will ease retailers into offering eGift cards along with their plastic option in the B2B arena.

As a retailer, are you taking these interesting tablet user statistics into consideration?

1.    eMarketer Digital Intelligence
2.    WSJ Online: Tablets: Ultimate Buying Machines

Are Your Company & Personal Holiday Shopping Habits Reflected in this Infographic?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

“After years of recession-fueled frugality, more Americans are feeling the holiday gift-giving spirit in 2011”, says a recent USAA survey. Has your company’s holiday giving increased this year? Budgeting was likely done a year ago, but are you spending more for employee and customer gifts due to better times or do you fall in the “budget glue” category?

Have you thought of gift cards as budget glue? You can literally stick to the dollar of your company gift giving budget with flexible denominations, while giving the gift that people really want – choice! infographic: More Americans to give gifts in 2011 holiday season
Source:, Infographic: Americans ramp up gift giving for 2011 holiday season

Stressing About the Perfect Employee Holiday Gift?

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Gift cards give peace of mind to the giver; nearly 1/3 of respondents to a recent TD Bank survey, “…believes the greatest stresses lie in not knowing what to buy or worrying whether the recipient will like the gift.” Don’t stress, give gift cards. Companies like GCP sell gift cards to companies giving corporate gifts to partners, customers and employees. It makes fiscal sense, as there are discounts offered for various levels of buying in bulk.

Why are gift cards the most coveted gift to receive this holiday season? Your employees will use them to button up last minute shopping, 31% of respondents of the survey said they look to use their gift cards for day-to-day expenses like groceries and gasoline. You’ll be offering your employees and customers more than a holiday gift; you’ll be offering them help.

For more up-to-date consumer sentiments and statistics on gift cards, read: Spending Expected to Hold Steady This Year with Gift Cards the Preferred Gift

Employee Engagement at a Low

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

According to a new Gallup poll 71% of employees indicated they do not feel engaged, or feel actively disengaged at their jobs.  Employees that do not feel engaged are often far less productive than employees who feel engaged and connected to their position within their company. This staggering statistic is indicative of employers needing to make more of an effort to engage their employees at work, and recognizing their hard work.

Tom Agnew author of “The Enemy of Engagement: Put an End to Workplace Frustration–and Get the Most from Your Employees” identifies three causes of disengaged employees: poor communication about goals and performance, resource constraints that make it more difficult for employees to do their jobs, and employees who feel that they do not have the authority to do their jobs effectively. In order to engage employees it is important to keep open communication lines, and ensure that employees know when they are doing their jobs well. Giving small spot rewards such as a small denomination gift card to useful retail outlets such as CVS/pharmacy lets employees know that an employer is noticing their work, and empowering them to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Do you think your employees feel engaged? How do you think you can engage your employees better?

For more information on employees engagement from Business Finance magazine click here.

What do Twitter, LinkedIn and Employee Recognition have in Common?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011


Incentive Magazine recently published an article called “Forget Employee of the Month and Focus on Employee of the Moment”, where they discussed the rise of importance of
immediate rewards for brilliant performance. In the past year, our connected sociability brought a 250% increase in tweets per day, 100% growth of LinkedIn users, and Facebook’s increases logins to 250 million each day, indicating a rapidly growing culture of immediacy.

How does this effect HR professionals? Razor Suleman’s Incentive article announces that it’s time to institute an “Employee of the Moment” strategy by launching a social networking campaign to:

  • Take their picture & upload it, tweet it, blog it, post it, and even “like” it on
  • Foster a culture of knowledge sharing to grow and improve processes, recruit, communicate, and enhance employee engagement – REAL
  • Say thank you in a way that allows employees to share their positive
  • Build your employer brand, by adopting the newest ways to
  • Add frequency to focused conversations about wins & successes

GiftCard Partners encourages employer customers to order their bulk gift cards in advance of needing them, to have them on-hand for “Employee of the Moment”…moments as well as for holiday giving.
Source: Incentive Magazine online, article by Razor Suleman