Incentive - January/February 2010 - (Page 37)

AWARDS By William Ng, with Donna M. Airoldi ONLINE GIFT CARDS E-Purchasing Gets Personal Retailers offer ways to create cards with custom messages and graphics, and some have even gone all-digital—no plastic is shipped with electronic gift cards Personalization is a key variable based on CashStar’s findings. • 50 percent of all respondents said they decided against using gift cards in the past because they were not personal enough. • 70 percent reported that the ability to personalize a gift card is important. Leading-edge card customization, such as photo design tools, can offer more than just personal messages. Explains Stone, “You can better target individuals. Corporate logos, events, slogans, taglines—you can more easily personalize cards with a digital pallet and make it more relative and compelling.” Will such innovative design tools, along with the growth of e-cards, in the consumer market carry over into the corporate incentives space? Time will tell, but some companies are already doing it. Incentive planners and corporate managers can try them out on a few participants for spot awards. Here is a small sampling of what is currently out there. pre-holiday consumer gift card survey conducted by CashStar Inc., a Portland, ME-based gift card and incentive company, showed online gift card purchasing is gaining clout. Eighty percent of online shoppers indicated that if their favorite store or restaurant offered a personalized online gift card on their Web site, they would more likely purchase a card from that retailer. David Stone, CashStar’s CEO, notes, “About 14 percent of participants had bought gift cards online, and I was surprised it was that high. Our previous numbers said it was 7 to 8 percent, so [online gift card demand] is growing faster than anticipated.” Stone also didn’t expect 80 percent of respondents would like to buy gift cards that can be sent via e-mail. “While plastic is great, we’re crossing a tipping point,” says Stone. “When we talked to retailers a few years ago, [electronic] gift cards were interesting. Now, it’s a priority.” ELECTRONICS/ ENTERTAINMENT Apple: The venerable brand gives customers ways to obtain iTunes and Apple gift cards online at its Business Store. Planners can make small orders, up to 10 iTunes Gift Cards, with choices of $15 cards (in four designs), $25 cards (six designs), $50 (three designs), and $100 (one design). These cards allow for personal messages and are shipped within 24 hours. The Business Store also supplies up to 10 personalizable Apple Gift Cards in any denomination between $25 and $2,500. Visit and click on “Gift Cards.” Still, for corporate bulk orders, incentive planners can send correspondence to Barnes & Noble: The bookseller offers gift cards through an online request form, after which a representative completes the order over the phone. For supreme incentive winners and business partners who truly deserve the high touch, it offers the $1,000 Gift Card, which comes in an embossed black box, along with a personalized message created online. Go to | January/February 2010 | Incentive |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Incentive - January/February 2010

Incentive - January/February 2010
Editor’s Note: Shift Happens
Cover Story: Incentive’s 2009 Grand Motivation Master Winner
7 Steps for Running a Non-Sales Program
Original Research: Incentive’s 2010 Reader Forecast Survey
Primer: 3 Tips for Getting Through Airport Security
Strategies: Calculations and Conversations
Travel News: Where to Go
CityCenter Opens, Aiming to Redefine Las Vegas(Again)
Bermuda Still Works
Potentials: Here and Now
Electronics: The Revolution Will Be 3D!
Online Gift Cards Make It Easy

Incentive - January/February 2010