Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 2, 2019
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4min629

The volume of businesses using gift cards as part of their reward, incentive and loyalty schemes has seen a significant uplift year-on-year, according to the latest research published by the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association (UKGCVA).

The State of the Nation report, compiled by GlobalData and sponsored by First Data, found that the B2B gift card market has seen an impressive 20.5 percent growth year-on-year.

Interestingly, more than a third (35.9 percent) of gift card managers also anticipate the B2B gift card market as having the greatest future growth potential, compared with 2.6% of those who say the same for B2C.

Employee incentive schemes are a particularly key avenue for this growth, with over a fifth (21.1 percent) of Brits receiving gift cards through these programmes. This figure rises to 29.9 percent for millennial and Generation Z workers – those aged between 16 and 34 – suggesting that gift cards are a popular method for engaging with the younger generation, and likely to rise in popularity in future.

Encouragingly, this has also been recognised by organisations offering gift cards, with more than six-in-10 gift card managers (61.5 percent) looking to develop direct relationships with businesses wanting to reward their staff. A further 43.6 percent are also developing partnerships with the likes of price comparison businesses, energy providers and media companies, demonstrating the increasingly prominent role gift cards can play in businesses’ incentive and loyalty programmes.

The in-depth research, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK shoppers, C-suite executives, and gift card managers on their perceptions, attitudes and habits towards gift cards, demonstrates that they could be leveraged as a key tool for businesses to engage their staff, as well as customers. However, more needs to be done to secure senior buy-in if this market growth is to continue.

While more than four in five (85 percent) gift card managers believe gift cards to be an important area of growth for their business, this figure drops to just under two thirds (65 percent) of professionals at C-suite level. This is likely due to the fact that almost half of senior-level employees (45 percent) reported having minimal visibility of the results driven by gift cards, and more than a third (35 percent) reported little to no awareness of the opportunities they can present.

Gail Cohen, Director General of the UKGCVA, said: “The right reward scheme can have a hugely positive influence on employee (and customer) loyalty, particularly when used as part of an ongoing incentive and reward programme.

“However, if retailers are to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the growing B2B gift card market, it is imperative that gift card managers and the C-suite are on the same page, requiring greater education and clearer lines of reporting throughout the business around the positive effects gift card programmes can have.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 1, 2019
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3min717

Poor product visualisation is preventing almost a quarter of B2B customers from making purchases online, according to a new report.

E-commerce agency PushON surveyed 500 key business decision makers from up and down the country and found that although the majority of B2B customers (78 percent) actually prefer to shop online, 22 percent have to travel to purchase goods in-store because online retailers do not offer clear product imagery or effective customer service.

When asked why they shop for business products in-store rather than online, product visualisation came out on top, with 81 percent of B2B customers stating they are able to clearly see what products look like in real life. Over half (55 percent) also prefer in-store customer service and the ability to speak to a member of staff for advice.
Over half (55 percent) of those surveyed expressed a strong desire for B2B e-retailers to invest in the same innovative technologies B2C e-commerce businesses are currently investing in. This includes the implementation of augmented reality (AR) to help them better visualise products online (29 percent), and an increase in artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as chatbots to give them the option to speak to someone in real-time, should they need to (26 percent).

Sam Rutley, managing director at PushON, said: “Although B2B retail is suffering a similar fate to B2C, in that customers are increasingly preferring to shop online, B2B e-commerce undoubtbly has a long way to go if it’s ever going to achieve the same results and levels of customer experience as B2C e-commerce.

“Many B2B customers prefer the in-store experience over online simply because they can see products in real life and interact with an expert, which clearly demonstrates that B2B e-commerce isn’t providing these services well enough yet, if at all. This, coupled with the specific desires of customers for investment in AR and AI technologies proves just how far behind B2C e-commerce B2B is.”




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