June 12, 2019 — 5 min read
Uncovering the real cost of digital gift cards.
Camille Desprez
Marketing

The size of the employee benefit, incentive and reward market is staggering – and for good reason – happy employees = productive employees. By one estimate $90b is spent globally on non-cash incentives and this figure is set to grow.

In addition, gift cards have emerged as a favourite perk among employees and this trend has skyrocketed with the creation of digital gift cards (eGift cards). For example, earlier this year we attended the Flourish Conference in Chicago which focuses on branded currency. A key takeaway was how eGift adoption is being driven by younger purchasers. For example under 18’s are more open to eGift cards than any other generation by a significant margin. This generation is more accustomed to the consumption of on-demand models like Uber, Deliveroo, Airbnb and so forth. The corresponding adoption of gift cards in employee benefit, reward and incentive programs is a manifestation of this trend.

No wonder then that benefit, reward and recognition providers are hastily looking to incorporate gift cards in their service offering. The more value you can add to an employers’ remuneration package, the happier your client’s employees will be, and the more great people will be motivated to stay at that organisation. That’s a win win win!

Offering eGift card programs can be really, really hard. 

According to the Incentive Research Foundation’s 2019 Voice of the Market signature study on the use of non-cash rewards & recognition, “gifts cards are the preferred choice when ease of administration is a priority, or a large number of participants will be earning a reward.“

But just how easy is it to offer a truly exceptional gift card service at scale – time after time and across all of your client portfolio? One that will delight not only the employees of your client, but the program manager as well?

Common challenges include:

  • Building and maintaining relationships with multiple brands.
  • Securing a large enough catalogue of gift cards for your clients to choose from with the kinds of brands their employees aspire to.
  • Negotiating contracts and SLAs.
  • Ensuring you pass on enough discount to your clients to be commercially attractive, whilst maintaining a profitable margin.
  • Managing multiple payments and accounts payable information.
  • Fragmented invoicing and reconciliation processes.
  • Managing differences in delivery formats.
  • Little to no reporting or analytics on purchasing and deliveries.

These obstacles mean that delivery expectations are hard to meet, and end-user experiences are poor. You need an intelligent system to navigate the landscape and make it easy. Faced with all these obstacles, should you build your own digital gift card offering or partner with a provider that takes care of the heavy lifting? 

An illustrative example – the true cost of managing a gift card program

Let’s assume you set out to build your gift card offering inhouse. You could easily imagine a scenario where you need the equivalent of a full time employee with a fully loaded salary of c.£50k per annum who spends:

  • 20 hours per month on managing brand relationships
  • 30 hours per month on finding and building new brand relationships
  • 20 hours per month managing unhappy customers that didn’t receive their gift cards
  • 20 hours per month reconciling Brand payments

That’s not to mention the technical development time of the software and systems you’ll need to deliver a seamless and frictionless experience to your corporate clients. The above is, of course, a simple example but given our experience in building the world’s leading eGift Card technology, we can attest to the complexity, effort and time involved.

Is there an easier way to offer digital gift cards?

As an employee benefits provider, what do your clients want? Well, naturally they want whatever their employees want: choice and value. As a provider, what do you want from a gift card program? A simple management process, the ability to generate profit, and good discounts from a large number of brands to select from. . 

WeGift has direct integrations with over 450 brands through one API, with some of the best commercial terms in the market. Every manual process is automated on our smart platform, and we create one invoice and reconciliation tool for all eGift purchases. As an employee benefits provider, you no longer need to manage hundreds of relationships with different retailers in order to provide choice to your clients. WeGift handles that, so you can focus on driving revenue elsewhere!

You will save time and money, and free up your team’s time to focus on other critical tasks. You will achieve a higher net promoter score (NPS), improve customer acquisition, and make international expansion easier than ever before. You can also build closer ties with the brands, leveraging relationships for co-promotions and other initiatives – and of course, all of these benefits provide you with a competitive advantage in the market.

WeGift has connected us with a huge range of brands with a seamless service that’s enabled us to scale, instantly.

Luke Fisher,
Founder and CEO, MO

Summary

Digital gift cards make the perfect employee perk. The reward is instant, they can buy what they really want, and it won’t get swallowed by daily expenses like a cash bonus would. From the perspective of an employer, they are easy to budget. Now, they are easier than ever to manage and deliver!

As an employee benefits provider, you need to offer digital gift cards. Until now, the cost of managing such a program could be prohibitive. In terms of time, resources, and budget wasted on administration, this was far from an easy thing to offer corporate clients. 

Integrating with WeGift’s API has been a very smooth and pain free process. Their platform has enabled us to access a very wide range of brands, and instantly allowed us to service large corporates’ reward and recognition programmes.

Adam Sidbury
Director of AMP Performance