Request Demo

Getting Started with a Gift Card Program

Getting Started with a Gift Card Program

Figuring out how to choose the right gift card program for your business

Does your organization want to boost its metrics or improve on a high-priority goal? Sometimes, the right motivation can smooth the path to success. 

Today we’re examining the benefits of using gift card programs within your organization, the types of rewards your employees want, and the top 10 gift card options you should consider when building an employee or customer loyalty program. 

Getting started with a gift card incentive program can increase brand awareness and increase performance for organizations from small business to enterprise corporations. 

Benefits of having a gift card program

Gift card programs are a great way to incentivize customer and employee loyalty by offering a range of experiences and gifts they will enjoy. 

Building a gift card program can boost engagement, drive performance and revenue, increase recruitment and retention metrics, and bring your employees together to build better company culture and morale. It allows incentive program managers to create various experiences and take advantage of the many benefits.

Ready to add gift cards to your gift card program? Let us show you how, with a free demo

Different types of gift cards

Gift cards offer companies a world of variety in creating experiences for customers, prospects, employees, etc. Depending on the type of program you’re designing and your intended recipient, you may want to consider one of the following gift card types:

General gift or debit card: Some gift cards, such as the American Express gift card or the visa vanilla gift card, can be used at any participating business or merchant, in-person and online. These egift card offerings are generic, work similar to digital cash flow, and are not limited to a specific retailer. This makes them helpful in delivering a personalized experience even when you don’t have a wealth of personalization data. A gift card purchase can be made for any face value, making them helpful in delivering quick gestures of thanks or significant rewards for a high-value gift card recipient.

Retailer gift cards: When building gift card programs from available personalization data, you may choose to curate a type of retailer gift card offered. This could be a curated catalog of options following a specific theme or a collection of physical gift card options, or digital gift cards from top retailers such as Apple, Target, Amazon, and others. These cards act like store credit and loyalty cards for the brand's shoppers and customer base, but also for anything your own recipients want to buy. These major retailers sell gift cards that offer broad appeal to benefit most of your recipients.

Travel gift cards: Gift cards for travel are an excellent way to create a genuine connection while giving your employees freedom of choice. Travel cards from major hospitality outlets such as hotels, airlines, resorts, train services, and ground transportation companies make it easy to customize the journey while ensuring they take care of every trip detail.

Getting started with a gift card incentive program

Starting a loyalty e-gift card program doesn’t have to be complicated. Often you can start with a first model of your program and make changes and improvements over time. Even if you’ve never designed an incentive marketing program before, you can get started with the following next steps:

Define your outcome: with any incentive program, it’s important to begin with the end in mind. Answer the question, “What do I want out of this program question what is my desired outcome?“

By understanding the goal you would like to achieve, the structure of your program will become clear.

Outline your criteria: Whatever a successful outcome looks like, design program criteria that will help participants perform desired actions toward that goal. For instance, if your incentive program motivates candidate referrals, your criteria might include the number of candidates to submit for consideration, the qualifications that might lead to a successful hire, and the hiring parameters necessary to fulfill program requirements. Your program may require participants to recommend two candidates, stipulating that a successful hire must be employed for three months before applying the incentive reward.

Document and communicate your program: Once desired outcomes and criteria for your program are in place, document these and communicate them through multiple channels to potential participants within your organization. You may establish an internal website where you outline incentive programs or specific forms participants must use for tracking and submitting incentive information. Four performance-based incentives like sales targets, be sure to offer clear percentages or KPI data and offer a way for participants to track their performance during the incentive period.

Analyze results: Once your program produces sufficient data, analyze the performance of your program and identify trends or relevant findings. You can use these learnings to refine your program parameters, pricing, or incentive reward offerings.

Solicit feedback: incentive programs work best when employees feel connected to the process. One way to engage employees in your programs is to solicit feedback in the form of employee surveys. A well-crafted employee survey can reveal extensive information on how employees interact with your program, what rewards might be beneficial, and any points of friction or difficulty employees experience while participating in your programs.

Using these four simple steps, you can craft a loyalty or incentive program that drives behaviors and performance while maintaining satisfaction and engagement for your employees.

10 top-performing gift cards for your incentives program

When sending gift cards to a family member, colleague, or customer, look at these 10 performing gift card for your incentives program.

American Express: No matter what your recipient loves, they’ll be able to find something great with an American Express gift card. You can offer a physical card or digital gift cards to be used at thousands of participating merchants for easy access to the items they want and need at home or abroad. The Amex card works just like a credit card at the cash register or online. 

Home Depot: Another excellent way to offer choice is home goods stores like Home Depot. This allows recipients to purchase what they are after for home and garden projects from thousands of retail locations across the US, Canada, and beyond.

Target: Planning for travel or getting something for home is easy with Target branded gift cards. It can be used to get anything Target sells online or in-store and can be used in conjunction with sales or discounts this major retailer offers. 

Amazon: The most popular gift card on the planet can deliver whatever your recipient desires, with fast shipping, the best discounts, and plentiful choice. Whether they want home goods, travel items, clothing, grocery store items, or hobby items, they can find them fast and enjoy them right away. 

Apple: Electronics are always a perfect gift. Apple offers cards for use in any of its stores or online. Recipients can use their cards to purchase electronics, accessories, computers, or for services on the Apple network of devices and services.

Uber: Need to get somewhere quickly? The Uber card gives your recipient the ability to go wherever they want, using gift card functionality with the platform’s seamless features and in-app purchase capabilities. You can even tip your driver for a job well done. 

DoorDash: Hungry? Use the DoorDash card to get takeout or dine in on demand. It’s a great way to enjoy a meal at home or on the go. 

Delta: This airline retail card makes it easy to see the world with gift voucher and card options good for flights, upgrades, and to purchase in-flight services to make the journey more enjoyable. 

AirBnB: Once you arrive, the AirBnB card allows recipients to stay in accommodations that work perfectly for their needs, in one of thousands of host-owned rooms, apartments, and homes across the world. If a traditional night’s stay is in order, the gift certificate can be used to book rooms in thousands of hotels with some of the world’s most popular hospitality chains. 

Power your gift card program with Runa

Runa’s gift card software has helped hundreds of clients build dynamic, digital gift cards programs that drive customer loyalty, attract new customers and employees, and create experiences that appeal to consumers and colleagues alike. 

With Runa, you get the flexibility of a robust gifting and reporting platform with lightning-fast gift card processing, first-in-class customer service, and the ability to reclaim the unused gift card balance from cards you send to loyal customers and employees. 

Ready to add gift cards to your gift card program? Let us show you how, with a free demo