In a recent study by the Incentive Marketing Association, Executive respondents to an Incentive Federation study consistently indicated that merchandise and travel incentives were more compelling than cash – and within the merchandise category, gift cards were the most popular award items. Approximately three out of four respondents agreed that they could build a more exciting and memorable sales incentive program using merchandise and gift cards than they could with cash.
Below are 5 core reasons why gift cards are superior to cash incentives:
#1. Trophy Value: Gift card purchases are more memorable – they create a lasting reminder of achievement. If you’re trying to connect a behavior with a specific result and reward that result—it’s important that the recipient continues to remember what the reward was for. Cash incentives are often spent without having any association or direct lasting reminder of the original reward incentive (i.e. using a cash incentive to pay bills Vs. using a gift card to buy a new golf club that will provide years of use and a reminder of the incentive program every time you’re on the course.
#2. More Discrete: It’s polite to mention about non-cash awards. People are much more willing to talk about what they got in terms of a gift card versus cash. Most people don’t want to brag about cash, but enjoy talking about their new golf clubs or vacation. By providing a better means to indirectly call attention to the award and what was accomplished to earn it, the value of earning a non-cash incentive exceeds its actual cash value.
#3. Universal Benefits: Gift cards combine the benefits of merchandise with the benefits of cash. People consistently say they prefer having a choice. Once people receive a gift card, they have a choice of what product(s) to redeem it for.
#4. Guilt-free Spending: Recipients don’t feel guilty treating themselves. Many non-cash incentive awards are viewed as luxuries that participants normally cannot justify purchasing for themselves or family members. In the case of a gift card, the recipient can use it guilt free for something personal.
#5. Family Support: Because the participant’s family is often involved in selecting awards when gift cards are utilized – they’re more likely to support participant’s goals. A supportive home environment is important for success. When people are working toward earning a reward at work, family members quickly get on board. One of the reasons is the prospect of being able to benefit.
Source: The Incentive Gift Card Council