Successful Meetings - February 2010 - (Page 16)

PLANNER’S WORKSHOP incentive insights Incentive buyers and recipients embrace online options Online Gif t Cards Gain Favor By Donna M. Airoldi pre-holiday gift card survey conducted by CashStar, Inc., a Portland, ME–based gift card and incentive company, shows that consumers are much more receptive to buying gift cards online as opposed to in a retail outlet, a finding that incentive buyers can parlay into a new twist on gift card promotions. The survey data revealed that 68 percent of online shoppers agree that buying a gift card online that can be sent via e-mail is more convenient than having plastic cards shipped to the gift card recipient. And 80 percent of online shoppers indicated that if their favorite store or restaurant offered a personalized online gift card on their website, they would be more likely to purchase an online gift card from that retailer. When asked whether any of the findings were surprising, CEO David Stone responded, “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. It’s doubled in 18 months.” Stone also wasn’t expecting to see that 80 percent of respondents (compared to The Incentive Difference An overwhelming 88 percent of online shoppers indicated that they would be more likely to purchase a gift card that has an incentive attached—for example, if you send a $50 gift card, you earn a $10 gift card for yourself. “Delivering compelling offers and incentives is much easier in the digital marketplace for retailers, as fulfillment is much less expensive and is immediate,” explains Stone. “And savvy retailers understand the benefit of offering a $10 incentive card to drive traffic to the store or site, where the consumer typically spends 60 percent more than the card’s face value. They are becoming indispensable. Incentive folks need to pay attention to that. Online cards can offer huge benefits.” Survey respondents also indicated that print-at-home is becoming an increasingly popular option for gift cards and that the environment is more of a concern than ever before. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they are more likely to purchase online gift cards because they are better for the environment than petroleum-based plastic cards. SM a projected rate of 50 to 60 percent) said they would like to buy gift cards that they could e-mail from the retailer. CashStar will unveil a new online gift card service for the corporate incentive market early this year. “While plastic is great—credit, debit, gifts—we’re crossing a tipping point,” says Stone. “When we started talking to retailers a few years ago, online gift cards were interesting, but not a priority for them. Now they are a priority.” One of the benefits is it’s easier to be creative with digital cards than plastic. “You can better target individuals in the business market and rewards sector,” says Stone. “Corporate logos, events, slogans, tag lines—you can more easily personalize cards with a digital pallet and make it more relative and compelling. The days of sticking to a logo on a t-shirt are over.” I SM I February 2010 I Illustration: Chad Crowe

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - February 2010

Successful Meetings - February 2010
Shift Happens
Leaders Forcast Future
Personal Success
Incentive Insights
Food & Beverage
Industry Awards
Places & Spaces
Florida's East Coast
Atlantic City

Successful Meetings - February 2010