The Effectiveness of Gift Cards As Incentives

BY Lucy Fang
Oct 29, 2019
Gift Cards

Gift cards are commonly found in incentive marketplaces, but how effective are they really? In the Incentive Research Foundation’s fall 2019 issue of their quarterly academic review, they reviewed the effectiveness of gift cards in incentive programs.

Gift cards are one of the best representations of non-cash Rewards, and carry all of the benefits typically associated with such incentives. Well-designed incentive programs will almost always offer some type of gift card or prepaid card, such as a VISA virtual card, in their reward offerings selection. Every type of incentive rewards provider, whether they be instant win game providers, market research incentive program managers, reward management technology providers, or digital reward providers, will offer and potentially recommend gift cards.

As with most incentive programs, gift cards can encourage positive behaviors and better workplace outcomes. When looking at sales incentive program ideas, consumer reward program ideas, or ideas for other types of incentive programs, gift cards will almost always be listed as a recommendation. Gift cards are a fantastic choice for almost any type of incentive program.

The IRF quarterly academic review found that people tend to mentally think of gift cards as “fun money”, rather than money that has to be spent on things like bills, or groceries, or other responsible spending activities. This makes them an incredibly appealing option for incentive program participants.

When the right gift cards are selected, it makes the participants feel like the hosting company or organization really understands their wants and needs. The program feels more personal, thus increasing the participants’ perceived value of the program and the rewards. Gift cards can also be chosen to encourage memorable experiences, such as a dining gift card. This causes the participants to associate the company with happy memories, not just money.

it is important that gift cards are of an amount that will generally keep the participant from having to spend their own money to complete the purchase of whatever item to gift card is for. for example, a participant is more likely to value a gift card of $40 for a restaurant where the average spend is $30, thus allowing them to have a full meal without having to spend any of their personal money, rather than a $40 gift card for a restaurant where the average spend is $60, thus requiring them to spend at least $20 of their own cash.

A good gift card rewards provider, such as All Digital Rewards, will be able to offer you a wide selection of top branded gift cards, both physical and virtual rewards, and recommend which amounts and Brands will be most appropriate for your specific incentive program. We pride ourselves on offering an extensive rewards catalog, including merchandise and gift cards, as well as other types of rewards. Our incentive experts can help tailor your reward choices specifically to your participants’ needs and desires, along with allowing for custom branding for your organization. If you’d like to learn more, call us today at 866-415-7703, or click on the button below to schedule a demo.