Change The Channel
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear someone talk about “gift cards?” If you are like most people, you probably answered with a very basic view of its merits as a quick present, but gift cards actually make up an important part of marketing and revenue for companies both large and small through the B2B channel.
As a miniature billboard, gift cards are a quick and easy way to bring in new customers, but in order to make this venture profitable, you need a clear marketing plan and visibility into all the channels involved in the world of bulk B2B gift cards. And you’ll be happy to know that we have done the research for you, including a brief description below to help you navigate your way!
• Fundraising Programs (Scrip)- This mainly includes fundraising for non-profits, and it is a great way to help the community as well as gain awareness of your brand. The consumer, often families of churches, schools, etc, pays face value for the gift card and the revenue from the discount the scrip company receives is passed on to the non-profits.
• Rewards & Recognition- Many incentive corporations will structure a rewards program for corporations that incentivize through gift cards, travel and/or merchandise. End users can include employees, business partners, or clients.
• Rewards and Loyalty- This channel offers gift cards for redemption in loyalty programs. These programs often include Financial Institutions, gas companies, or other customer-based businesses.
• Credit Card Rewards- Credit card companies such as Discover, Amex, Citi, Chase, and regional banks use gift cards as a redemption option when members accrue points.
• Filtered Prepaid Cards- Visa and other credit/debit cards are filtered to specific retailers. Rewards cards are authorized to be used at specific retailers to redeem earnings. End users are similar to Reward-Recognition and Reward-Loyalty categories.
• Consumer Promotions- Gift cards are used primarily as acquisition promotions for consumer or B2B product or service sales. Basically, the consumer earns a gift card by purchasing products during a specific promotion.
• 3rd Party- Gift card malls in stores such as grocery, drug, specialty, mass, etc. While technically B2C, cards are sold to consumers at face value, while the brand works with 3rd party providers such as Blackhawk and InComm to have their cards placed in such gift card malls.
• eGC (eGift Cards/eCertificates)- These are electronically generated gift cards. They’re used in scrip, 3rd party, credit card, filtered prepaid, rewards & recognition, and rewards & loyalty programs. eGift Cards are very popular as it creates the ability for instant redemption.
As you can see above, gift cards are not just a one-dimensional point of sale. Rather, gift cards are a multifaceted source of a company’s income that can bring not only huge sales potential but increase the brand awareness and number of loyal customers all without spending money on giant advertising campaigns. Hopefully we have helped make sense of the complex world of B2B gift cards.
Setting up a dedicated B2B program can be a lot of work, but the rewards are worth it. And just know that organizations such as the Gift Card Network as well as consulting companies are invaluable tools to help jump-start your programs and give you all the information you need to create a successful program. Gift card geeks abound and are always willing to answer questions and help you navigate this new world! Good luck and happy gifting!