Every year the Incentive Research Foundation performs a study outlining what incentive trends looked like in the past year, and what they’ll look like in the year to come. Recently, they released their trends report for this year and we’re happy to share that information with you!
If you’re in the industry then you know that the evolution of technology has had an enormous impact on how incentive programs and customer loyalty programs have been planned, designed, executed, and accepted. Gone are the days where a watch in a tin can is an acceptable form of recognition. And gone are the days when you handed your participants a stack of order sheets and a catalog full of “rewards” (aka crap) they could order when you put points in their account. We’re in an age where participants are notified instantly via text notification of the cybercash newly available through their reward program as soon as they scan their e-card from their smartphone into the machine at the store. Soon they’ll be able to click on the notification and be taken to an app that opens up their account, and allows them to redeem their points on a reward item before they even leave the checkout line.
Things have evolved dramatically – and they’ll continue to do so. So what’s coming up this year?
- And Technology
There are new avenues of technology being built in and around gift cards. Cards are now sent via e-code, as physical copies, or stored in your passbook on your iPhone. Incentive program administrators are counting on this technology to deliver a better experience to their participants, and are reporting that they’re increasing their budget on gift cards by almost 42%.
There’s also an emphasis placed on the information capturing capabilities of new and emerging technologies. Companies that run Incentive programs are now looking to their incentive programs to capture data about employee performance, participant demographics, shopping habits, behavioral tendencies, and more. Data capture technology itself is evolving faster than most companies know how to manage, so incentive programs need to have an elegant and well mapped out data flow that makes information easy to sort through and understand. It is very possible to have too much of a good thing, so keep all data presented meaningful and relevant.
Another big tech innovation that incentive program participants will definitely be looking for is improved user experience. Since, as we discussed earlier, most of your participants use the Internet to do much of their shopping already, so your user interface is going to be competing with expectations that have been built from incredibly designed and polished online retailers. You have to build a total experience that caters to the individual shopping experience. People want to log on and be welcomed by name. They would probably like a little note on the screen asking them how their last item purchased is working out. They may even want shopping suggestions based off of their purchase history. This type of experience is the standard if you want people to return to your program and use it as an everyday part of their lives.
Here at Incentive Solutions, we take the trends like this to heart. We work very hard to stay on top of them, and to be leaders in the field of incentives. If you’d like to know more about how we’re building incentive programs that are ready for the future, call us today at 1-866-567-7432.