Perfect Holiday Gifts for Employees, Customers and Channel Members

The passing of Labor Day signals the symbolic end of the summer to many and now we look forward to what lies ahead as September is underway. Fall colors, seasonal Starbucks drinks and Halloween are all fun things that highlight this time of the year, but something that requires a great deal of preparation is also rapidly approaching in the coming months: the December holidays!

Purchasing the perfect gift for every person on your personal list of family members and friends is difficult enough, but figuring out what to give your employees, customers and channel members is a completely different situation. If you operate a relatively small company with a short list of clients, then you may have the appropriate amount of time and knowledge to purchase something tailored to their preferences, which is the ideal option. If you are tasked with gifting for a large corporation, then personalized gifts are virtually impossible.

Thankfully there is a gift available that is easy to distribute to a large audience, cost-effective and allows you to thank your audiences by offering them the freedom of choice!

Gift cards are that gift!

Corporate gift cards come in several different forms. The typical Best Buy or Starbucks card you may think of when you hear the words “gift card” is merely one type.

 “Open loop” cards can be used virtually anywhere major credit cards are accepted, allowing the recipient the freedom to purchase practically anything that their heart desires. MasterCard® is a common issuer of open loop gift cards. This category accounts for 56% to 62% of the market.

“Closed loop” gift cards are issued by a specific retailer, such as Best Buy or Starbucks. Closed loop cards fall into the following categories (ranked from most to least popular): food & beverage, department stores, exclusive online retailers, music and movies, fuel, electronics, sporting goods, apparel, travel, jewelry and accessories.

Both types of gift cards carry low fees and are easy to distribute. Open loop cards can be personalized and branded with your company logo and both will make virtually any person happy! We all love the freedom to choose right?

The gift card industry is not just relevant to businesses during the holiday season though. Corporate incentive and loyalty programs are valuable tools to utilize year-round and can center on distributing rewards and incentives for greatness in sales, performance, safety, loyalty and other achievements. Holiday gift cards are only the beginning.

Below is a profile of gift card intentions among companies who frequently use them as some form of incentive, according to Incentive Magazine:

For more information on how to implement a gift card program to thank employees and customers, optimize channel sales, increase safety or reinforce and reward just about any other positive behavior, please give us a call at 949.476.2788, send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com, view our website or check out the relevant links below.

Suggested Gift & Rebate Card Readings:

A Look at Prepaid Cards in Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition Programs

Prepaid Debit Cards Are Effective Incentive and Reward Options

Auto Consumers Love Rebate Cards

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

A Look at Prepaid Cards in Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition Programs

There are few rewards as satisfying as being able to pull out your wallet to simply slide out a prepaid reward or incentive card that is a branded, physical representation of your hard work.  In recent years, prepaid debit cards have skyrocketed onto the scene to become the most popular tool of choice by various firms to help motivate, engage and reward both employees and customers alike. The popularity of prepaid cards is evident through 75% of businesses believing that prepaid gift cards are among the most effective rewards, especially in driving loyalty and commitment as surveyed by the Incentive Research Foundation.  The majority of incentive planners also promote prepaid cards as a more meaningful, personal and impactful enticement than cash.

Incentive planners and business executives are not the only ones encouraging the use of prepaid debit cards; recipients are voicing their appreciation for these convenient compensations as well. In a study done by the Incentive Research Foundation, 44% of survey respondents proclaimed that prepaid cards are their favorite type of gift or reward. So much so, that when offered a prepaid card or equivalent cash, five times as many respondents chose the prepaid card over other alternatives. This data speaks volumes about the optimistic future of the prepaid debit card industry as it becomes the most notable way of simultaneously increasing both the potential incentives for employees and overall productivity for a firm.

So what’s the draw to these tiny pieces of extraordinary plastic?

There are numerous benefits associated with issuing prepaid cards, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Prepaid cards are being used as incentives across the spectrum as they can be accepted at any retailer where credit cards are taken.
  • Prepaid debit cards, unlike cash, can be used online, a more suitable feature in today’s technological age.
  • Prepaid cards have the ability to be reloaded, providing ease for the cardholder to continuously add funds to their favorite card.

Prepaid cards are being used as incentives on various levels, from spot rewards to holiday bonuses and for merchandise, dining, travel and entertainment. This slew of opportunities connected to each prepaid card has made the business a $46 billion industry in the United States as stated by the Incentive Federation. Furthermore, prepaid cards are now the most frequently used reward in corporate incentive programs, with over 75% of organizations utilizing prepaid debit cards as rewards according to Incentive Magazine’s Gift Card IQ Survey.

Businesses that are able to capitalize on the opportunity to enter into prepaid debit cards will have a positive position looking ahead, as it is widely believed that these cards drive a much higher return on investment than any other type of incentive rewards, such as cash. The flexibility and ease of distributing each card, as well as the ability to customize each as a personalized reward creates a mutually beneficial relationship while also establishing an emotional connection with an employee or customer. The facts speak for themselves, and the secret is out: prepaid cards are now on the map and are here to stay.

For more information on JNR prepaid card programs, please visit our website.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Andy Tallon

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Prepaid Debit Cards Are Effective Incentive and Reward Options

Prepaid debit cards are a specific type of gift card pre-loaded with a fixed monetary amount. In 2012 alone, $77 billion worth of transactions took place using these rectangular pieces of plastic. It is not surprising that businesses of all types are reaching out to reward both consumers and employees with prepaid cards and their popularity continues to soar. Curtis Arnold of Forbes cites 9 creative ways to use prepaid debit cards in a recent article including: door prizes, employee incentives, event attendance, blog giveaways, and tax refund payments. We want to focus on the effectiveness of these cards in the recognition of not only employees, but also customers, dealers and channel sales personnel.

Over half of the companies that give out non-cash rewards utilize some type of gift card. There are three basic categories. The first type is a debit card offered by credit card companies or banks that can be spent virtually anywhere credit cards are accepted. It is usually pre-loaded with a fixed amount, but sometimes able to be recharged. The second is a retail or manufacturer gift card offered by household name retailers, hotels, airlines, and restaurants. These are typically valid for face value and customizable with company logos or specific product imagery. The third type is a debit credit card. These cards appear to be a standard credit card issued in the user’s name. There is a fixed amount deposited toward the card balance initially and can be spent anywhere credit cards are accepted.

There is an ease of use and flexibility that comes with prepaid cards that benefit the recipient as well as the issuer. Aside from the more obvious sense of appreciation that comes with receiving a gift of material worth, a less obvious response is now being recognized as well. Confidence is an underlying form of appreciation when someone is given a card in his or her name that, due to the economy’s impact over the last seven years, may not have the opportunity to use a credit card otherwise. This provides a level of self-assurance that cannot be replicated with cash rewards and in return, loyalty.

On the issuer’s side, a prepaid card comes with straightforward shipping, customizability, the simplicity of recharging a card without incurring the cost of a new card each time, and an inimitable display of gratification for one’s patronage. Prepaid cards can be used in a multitude of programs at all levels producing a sense of fulfillment and motivation across the spectrum from sales incentives to non-profit event attendance motivators.

The pros of gift cards include:

  • A Plethora of Options – Nearly every retailer and many consumer product manufacturers and travel-related companies offer gift cards.
  • Wallet Power – Unlike cash, these cards will often stay in the wallet of the recipient for an extended period of time, serving as a constant reminder of the generosity from the issuer on the branded card.
  • Ease of Distribution – Shipping a card in the mail is extremely quick, easy and inexpensive.
  • Ease of Use – A majority of cards can be used online or at retail outlets.
  • Popularity – Prepaid cards are the most common gift for recipients. An impressive 44% of IRF survey respondents said that prepaid cards were their favorite type of award. When given the choice between a prepaid card or cash equivalent, five times as many respondents chose the prepaid card. Further, over 71% of respondents said that gift cards are either the “best of all gifts/rewards” or “a good gift/reward” while only 8.47% said they would rather have cash.

When you break it down, the pros of prepaid cards make it a worthy investment for any company or organization.

The prepaid debit card industry is booming for good reason and you need an expert in the field to walk you through the process of effectively using cards and effectively growing your ROI. If you are interested in learning more about a JNR Incorporated prepaid debit card program, please send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com. We will fill you in on how we have been leveraging our relationship with MasterCard® rewarding the employees, customers, and channel personnel of our Fortune 500 clients to consistently exceed their expectations.

To read more on prepaid debit cards, check out our research here.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

Auto Consumers Love Rebate Cards

Enticing car buyers to make purchases with incentives is not a new concept. It has long been known that those in this market can be swayed based largely on what they receive in return for their purchases of products and services. The most crucial choice in this process lies in deciding on the most effective type of incentive to offer. Cash back rebates on prepaid cards and discounted prices are the two most common ways to incentivize consumers. Which of these is most appealing to the buyer?

A new auto study published in Incentive Magazine by Deanna Ting surveyed 1,300 U.S. consumers. It showed that auto shoppers are more motivated to make car or tire purchases, take test drives, or book car services when offered cash back rebates—typically administered on prepaid cards—not discounted prices.

This logic is not difficult to understand when you consider that a $1,000 rebate on a prepaid card at the time of purchase is much more appealing than the same value discounted over the life of an automotive loan. Saving $1,000 on the final price of the car will result in a miniscule decrease to the monthly payment over the life of even a short three-year loan. Additionally, people naturally enjoy instant gratification over delayed payoffs.

Further findings from this survey:

  • Rebates encourage test drives – The survey showed that a $500 after purchase rebate in addition to a $50 prepaid card is the most compelling formula for increasing the number of test drives taken.
  • Incentives strengthen service loyalty – Consumers said they would change their behavior and remain loyal to a particular dealer if they were given a $100 prepaid card for every year of service at that dealership and a $10 prepaid card for every service performed there. This is a fundamental way to ensure that your customers remain loyal to your dealership over others.
  • Prepaid cards are the best incentive for tire shoppers – A $50 prepaid card is the strongest motivator for those in the market for tires. Surprisingly, it is even more effective than a $60 gift card, a free year of oil changes, and even $300 worth of discounts on future tire services. Again, instant gratification wins out over future savings.

In light of these revelations, prepaid rebate cards should be a prominent part of your 2014 strategy for improving automotive revenues and increasing the loyalty of your customer base.

For more information on why prepaid debit cards are so effective, check out our free whitepaper on prepaid debit cards: http://www.jnrcorp.com/resources-whitepapers#whitepaper3.

By JNR Corp

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

Improve Employee Productivity with 5 Realistic Management Practices

The following 5 practices are simple steps management can take to improve employee productivity by putting their team to a better mindset.  It’s easier than you think to turn disengaged employees into dynamic team members.

  1. Design strategic incentive programs so employees at all levels of an organization can benefit. While it is natural for management to focus most heavily on senior level incentive programs, let’s not forget about substantive incentives for lower-level employees. Lower-level employees have a significant effect on an organization’s success. Successful incentive programs should be carefully structured so rewards clearly reflect revenue and objective targets, meaning they pay for themselves.
  2. Provide constructive feedback on a regular basis. The ability to provide regular, helpful feedback to employees in a manner that encourages, not discourages, is a cornerstone to effective management.  Unfortunately feedback isn’t always positive, but the level of thoughtful communication should remain the same for acknowledgment of good work or constructive criticism.
  3. Respect, respect, respect. Respect your employees as individuals in addition to the job they do. Employees who feel genuinely respected by their peers and management are more likely “to go the extra mile” to help their organization succeed.
  4. Provide support for employees when it is genuinely needed. Managerial support can take many forms: from providing employees with new equipment or software when existing is outdated or inefficient; flexibility for a reasonable level of work-life balance; or emotional support in the face of unfair criticism. This support will not be forgotten by employees and will build employee loyalty and goodwill.
  5. Talk the talk, and walk the walk. Ensure senior leadership models behavior that makes other employees be proud to be part of the team. Leaders are always being watched and judged; employees have keen eyes (and are keen gossipers). Nothing energizes employees more than a senior team they admire.

Motivating your employees is a delicate undertaking that requires the attention and experience of specialists in a variety of diverse industries. Outsourcing your program to a company with experts in travel planning, debit card distribution, marketing, web design, graphic design, and printing is one of the best investments you can make. Not only will you come out with a higher quality program, but it will be more cost effective and achieve greater return on investment.

Contact JNR today (http://www.jnrcorp.com/or call 800.343.4546) to learn about how our diverse team of experts can reinvigorate your channel incentive program.

  1. Incentive Travel
  2. Merchandise
  3. Marketing Communications
  4. Prepaid Reward Cards
  5. Web Services