Why Gift Card Use is Expected to Grow in 2021

As the world slowly returns to normal, several reward trends that were established during the pandemic are expected to continue—including the increased use of gift cards as rewards for employee recognition and customers appreciation. According to its recent trends report, the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) expects gift card use in customer and employee reward programs to increase by 33%.

Why Gift Card Use Continues to Grow

There are many reasons why the use of gift cards in reward programs is expected to increase in 2021, especially when it comes to digital gift cards. It’s always been fast and easy for program managers to send digital gift cards with personalized messages, but this became especially valuable during the pandemic because it enabled companies to engage and motivate employees and customers regardless of their location. Speed and flexibility associated with digital gift cards were underscored in the IRF’s report along with these features:

Tools to Help Businesses Use Gift Cards

According to industry research, reward programs benefit companies of all sizes—from encouraging brand loyalty to increasing employee engagement and productivity.  

Large Reward Programs

Third-party providers often make sense for large reward programs because they streamline reward tracking, distribution, and reporting. In addition, they offer robust training to help managers navigate highly customized platforms. In these platforms, managers can learn to track points, provide approvals, create specialized dashboards, and build extensive reward catalogs filled with gift cards and other merchandise. Keep in mind, this level of work often comes with a high cost. Third-party providers typically charge additional set-up fees and ongoing services costs, making them less accessible to companies with smaller programs.

Small Reward Programs

For smaller reward programs, the time and cost required for a third-party provider isn’t always feasible. Smaller programs need platforms that make ordering rewards easy and cost effective. Only a few tools existed to fit this need until we introduced Rewards Genius, our free, self-serve web portal.

A Look at Rewards Genius

Elliott White, our head of product, spoke with CardRates.com recently to discuss the creation of Rewards Genius and how it empowers businesses to easily deliver digital gift cards.

"As we continued to grow, we were seeing a ton of opportunities that were not being met in the market to provide a very simple web application-based interface,” explains Elliott. “Rewards Genius lets companies that don’t need a very complex piece of software use our platform for a targeted use case, such as employee recognition. They really just need to be able to buy the rewards they need to buy.”

Companies can use Rewards Genius to configure, send, and track gift cards in one easy place, which makes the trend of rewarding with gift cards simple. Read more of Elliott’s interview with CardRates.com here.

Contact your customer success manager or email sales@tangocard.com to learn more about Rewards Genius.

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