Whenever you search for a good reward for employees, you’ll be met with a chorus of ‘try gift cards!’ Gift card platforms, gift cards for your celebrations, gift cards for the end of a project… The B2B market alone is valued at £5bn and it’s growing, not only in it’s value, but in useage, in the choice of cards available and the different ways to give a gift card.  It’s no wonder that many companies are embracing gift cards for their rewards offering whether that’s a physical gift, a digital code or a platform for flexible gift card redemption.

B2C may be set to change too – whilst at present you can expect to see a small, quite end of shelf rack in a supermarket, the booming online marketplace to buy and sell gift cards shows their popularity is not waning in any sense. But why are gift cards so often identified as a good reward? We take a look at some of the key features of gift cards, from re-gifting to digital delivery and beyond!

Why do gift cards work as a reward? 

  1. Everyone appreciates a thank you, a present or a card on a special occasion and a gift card offers a great way to give something that feels personal.
  2. Gift cards represent a good investment of time. They tend to be quick to purchase, easy to store and offer a range of gifting options.
  3. This makes them pretty great for spot rewards. It’s fuss free for middle management – there’s no invoice and order numbers and red tape, just a budget that they have to ‘spend’ or invest in their people for the acts that they choose to value.
  4. Tracking the gift card is easy if you use a specific platform or have a balance checker. A unique number makes it much easier to gauge if it’s been successful – versus asking the employee how their hamper or bottle of wine was!
  5. There are a range of personalised gift card boxes, envelopes and casings that make the gift feel really special. For example, Into The Blue and BuyaGift have smart tin boxes, designed to hold the card snugly and make it feel tangible and weighty.
  6. On the flip side, digital delivery is also interesting to many recipients, and having a gift card on mobile makes using it easy. It reduces the frustration of arriving at a shop and not having the plastic card! Many sites are also now aware that people want to use gift cards online. H&M, for example, didn’t relaunch their site until they could be sure that gift cards could be accepted online – a great bonus for any fashion lover with a gift card burning a hole in their pocket!
  7. Gift cards are a good all rounder – and that means they can be re-gifted. As the ‘giver’ this might feel a bit insulting, but sometimes, employees just need some cash. if you don’t want to give cash, a gift card represents the next best case – they feel personal, but there are places to sell them on if they don’t hit the mark – take a look at Zeek or GiftCardGranny.
  8. The variable reward levels are discreet. Instead of delivering a hamper the size of a small car to your superstars and a small chocolate bar to someone less successful, a gift card is a little more coy! It can be loaded with a chosen sum of money and allows employers to give everyone a gift that’s relevant to their contribution and situation.
  9. The rise in the variable retailers is a good thing for consumers and great for the B2B purchasers of gift cards. You have both closed and open loop and many consumers are interested in gift card platforms that allow them to have a balance online that’s then cashed out at different retailers, allowing control and choice for the recipient. Take a look at retailers like Love2Shop who are offering hundreds upon hundreds of retailers ‘under one roof’. They also have their own Business Services solution.
  10. At the same time, fixed cards – closed loop – represent that personal touch and allow you to gift with relevant items. For example, a cinema card could be combined with popcorn, some cozy socks, a facemask….You get the idea!
  11. The fact many cards can be reloaded represents a good reward ‘experience’. Each time the card is reloaded or re-used you get that ‘hit’ of memory. The reward lives on and on and on….
  12. There’s also an interesting ‘flex’ part of the market where gift cards form part of a salary exchange. Many employers are choosing to give this as a nod to their understanding of the costs of life. Whilst some employees might bank their money and cash out on shoes and bags, others might be delighted to see Supermarket gift cards on the agenda – or a retailer that could help with the costs of uniforms/holidays/toiletries and so forth.
  13. Gift cards represent something global – with retailers from all countries offering gift cards as well as digital delivery and redemption options. Again, digital delivery means ordering online and gifting to your employees over seas is not only easy, but enjoyable!
  14. Gift cards are not just the sole reserve of retailers. Your business can also set up a gift card using a re-loadable card. You may wish to take a look at something like the Compliments Card from Edenred.
  15. Gift cards work well on any type of reward or incentive platform. Whether it’s points that add up to prizes, peer to peer gifting budgets, a travel gift card like Thomas Cook or something that focuses on health and well-being initiatives – a gift card fits the bill in many respects.


What other reasons are there for gift cards being a great choice for rewards? Leave a comment below!