Can you tell us about Blackhawk Network and what role the company fills within the industry?
Blackhawk Network is an engagement company in that we connect retailers and brands to their employees and consumers through the use of branded value, like gift cards. We promote our partners’ business success by extending their branded value to reach and engage connected consumers and employees through our global retail, digital, exchange and incentive networks. Using products, platforms and technologies, we provide solutions that help brands create rewarding experiences and relationships that drive sales, productivity and loyalty. We are also a leader in the 3rd party gift card industry and the gift card incentive industry and we continue to innovate to enhance brands globally.
What are some of the trends you are seeing in the payments industry?
We are starting to see consumers using an increasingly wide array of payment options, and their demand for others is driving innovation within the payments industry. We recently released the findings of our annual “How America Pays” survey , which also revealed that the payment process has become increasingly important to American consumers, even influencing their perceptions of and loyalty to a brand or retailer. The connection of brands to payments and the acceleration of the shopping cycle will likely advance as consumers maintain their level of influence.
With that shift toward consumers influencing brands and driving innovations, what are the implications for retail organizations?
By spurring the creation of new branded payments technologies, finding alternative applications for existing payments tools or embracing a wide array of burgeoning payments products, consumers are inciting significant innovation in the payment process at retail. We are seeing gift cards being used for self-use, peer-to-peer payments are gaining ground, mobile wallets continue to rise in adoption and the gift card industry has continued to grow. Through our “How America Pays” survey, we are finding that understanding these shifts in consumer preferences and adapting to them are critical for retailers and marketers who are hoping to create and maintain a connection to their loyal customer base.
What can retailers and marketers do when it comes to the payment process to help consumers create positive perceptions and develop loyalty to their brand?
The most vital thing for retailers and marketers to do is focus on the cues consumers are offering and recognize that there is a shift happening. Our research found that more than three quarters of the consumers surveyed reported that their experience paying affects their overall perception of a website, and willingness to visit again. Sixty-nine percent reported their experience paying affects their perception of a store or restaurant and their willingness to go back. Once a brand recognizes this shift, the focus can move toward tailoring the processes and rewards to their consumer base.
How America Pays is an Internet-based surveyconducted by Blackhawk Network in March 2016. The sample size included 1,037American respondents, ages 18+.