As egifts continue to increase in popularity among consumers, marketers are taking notice. According to a recent study by Mercator Advisory Group, egifts accounted for 18 percent of the reported gift card loads in 2015, an 80 percent increase from the previous year. Leveraging egifts for more than just products to sell, brands are beginning to incorporate them into reward and rebate programs.
Ease-of-use, personalization options and fast delivery are a few of the reasons egifts are quickly increasing in popularity. Electronic gift cards, or egift cards, are delivered digitally, including via email, SMS text, social media or app, and can be redeemed either in-store or by using the gift code online. We spoke with Jennifer Worley, vice president of product rewards at Blackhawk Engagement Solutions to get some insights into how and why egifts will be leveraged as incentives this holiday season:
What do holiday shoppers like about egift incentives?
Savvier shoppers combined with innovation in retail have transformed the landscape of holiday shopping into an omnichannel experience. According to a recent study by the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA), omnichannel flexibility is key for consumers, with 87 percent of gift card recipients wanting to be able to redeem their cards online or in-person as they choose. Consumers quickly move from shopping at brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online or on their mobile devices and back—especially during the hectic holiday shopping season—and want to do so seamlessly. eGifts respond to this desire better than other promotional rewards.
Also, in most cases they are received more quickly than a physical reward that needs to be mailed, satisfying today’s customer’s need for speed.
How are shoppers using egift rewards this holiday season?
Around the holidays some shoppers might like to use loyalty program and rebate rewards to help offset the cost of holiday shopping and gift giving. eGift incentives make it easy for shoppers to redeem and use their rewards via various channels or even gift them to someone else. Once an egift reward is received, the recipient can print it out, store it on their phone, save it to their mobile wallet—or, in some cases, re-gift it to someone else entirely.
Why should more brands consider incorporating egifts into their rewards and rebate programs this holiday season?
When a traditional reward check is cashed, a consumer’s experience with the brand is over. With egifts, however, the brand can remain top of mind for much longer. The reward is received via email, text or app, and the brand’s messaging is present. Then, when the reward is redeemed, the recipient is reminded of his or her engagement with the brand.
Directing spendback and overspend is also valuable during the holidays. Unlike checks, egifts offered by retailers as rewards incent shoppers to return to that store (online or in person.) Additionally, according to a survey by the RGCA, consumers typically spend more than they have on a gift card by $20.2
As marketers plan their holiday promotional and loyalty strategies, egifts should be considered for inclusion in the reward mix as a win-win option. In fact, we have seen increased interest in brands sending a $5 or $10 egift reward as a “thank you” to loyal customers. Recipients might appreciate the flexibility, ease-of-use and fast delivery. Plus, brands can find value in the additional opportunities for brand messaging and interaction with their consumers during the hectic and crowded holiday marketing season.
- The “Retail Gift Card Trends in the United States: 2015 in Review” is a survey conducted by Mercator Advisory Group in January 2016.
- The “consumer gift card study” is an internet-based study conducted by the Retail Gift Card Association in October 2015. The sample size was 1,000+ American respondents ages 18+.