Top 10 Reasons Why Gift Card Incentives are Better than Cash

by: Nichole Gunn April 30, 2020

Cash has been a popular reward for recognition in the workplace for quite some time, so it’s no surprise that gift cards are quickly climbing to the top of the ranks. Employee recognition gift card programs are becoming increasingly more popular… and for good reason. It’s the same reason most people prefer to give gift cards as gifts instead of cash – because gift cards provide an opportunity to cater to the recipient’s interests and wants.

The same concept applies to using gift cards for employee incentives. This is why many companies are now gravitating towards employee gift card programs over cash incentives.

Here are the 10 Reasons Why Gift Card Incentives are Better than Cash:

1. Gift cards create memorable experiences.

Incentives are used to reinforce positive behaviors and drive specific results, so the participant must remember why they were rewarded. Gift cards create an experience participants will remember and provides them with something tangible. This turns into a lasting reminder of their achievement while cash is often forgotten about, which leads us perfectly into reason #2…

2. Gift cards are not viewed as part of compensation.

Cash rewards are often associated with additional compensation and disappear into the family budget. This begins to take away from the positive feeling of being rewarded for performance.

3. Gift card purchases = guilt-free spending.

Gift cards allow participants to treat themselves with a fun experience or item they wouldn’t have paid for otherwise (or may not be able to afford).

4. Gift cards combine the benefits of merchandise and cash rewards.

Gift cards give participants the excitement of shopping the rewards catalog (which is half the fun) and the flexibility to buy what they want online, in-app or in-store. Gift card programs also help promote your brand, which leads us perfectly into reason #3…

5. Gift cards build brand awareness by (sponsor) association.

Gift cards offer a vital branding opportunity by allowing companies to associate themselves with leading brands that their participants recognize and are already loyal to. This perceived value leads to long-term brand recognition and turns your customers into brand ambassadors, spreading awareness of your business to potential customers.

6. Gift cards hold their value when markets are down.

Gift cards hold their value during uncertain times – such as a recession. When budgets are cut, and the money is at an all-time low, gift cards always come in to save the day – helping customers, employees and channel partners. Plus, gift cards are much less vulnerable to loss, theft, or fraud than cash.

7. Gift cards can be shared with loved ones.

Gift cards can be shared with the participant's family, which leads to a shared redemption experience. When the participant’s family is involved in selecting awards, they’re more likely to support the participant’s goals.

8. Gift cards have storytelling power! (aka word-of-mouth marketing)

Gift cards are more discrete than cash, which makes for good storytelling! Participants won’t tell each other what they did with the cash they received – but they will share stories about their gift card purchases.

9. Gift cards provide more compelling marketing opportunities.

Unlike cash, gift card rewards allow companies to leverage major brand names in their marketing. This keeps participants engaged, excited, and coming back for more.

10. Gift cards generate useful customer data.

Gift card redemptions can be tracked to help companies to better understand their market. This data can also be used to develop more strategic communications and marketing plans.

Put simply: gift cards are more memorable. More and more companies are beginning to see more value in gift card recognition programs and will prefer gift card incentives for employees over cash.

Incentive Solutions has been running gift card incentive programs for over 30 years. We’d love to talk to you about a gift card program and how we can help you achieve your business goals. Just give us a call, we’re nice! 866-567-7432

Use gift cards to motivate your customers and employees today!

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About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.