Keeping Up with B2B Gift Card Channels with CashStar Exchange

By Adam Bonville, Partner Operations Manager

Tips to increase B2B gift card sales

United Airlines B2B gift card program

Merchants are leveraging CashStar’s B2B Exchange network to enhance their B2B gift card programs.

Earlier this month, we explored key opportunities that B2B gift card sales provide retailers and how to take advantage of them. It’s not surprising that smart retailers across the country are always in search of new markets to explore and CashStar offers many opportunities for our clients outside of the straight-forward digital gift card play to drive incremental sales and strengthen their B2B gift card programs.

One such way that retailers are increasing sales is by partnering with a network of distribution partners, such as CashStar. With multiple categories within the platform — scrip models, social engagement, loyalty and incentive, etc. — there are programs for merchants hoping to reach a variety of demographics.

Whether your gift card program is well established or just getting started, a distribution network is a great way to break into the B2B space in a controlled environment. Merchants maintain control of their assets to ensure their brand is being represented in a way in which they are most comfortable.

Here are a few key benefits from participating in the CashStar Exchange network:

  • Keeping up with current trendsIn a recent study, only 12 of 100 selected retailers offer the option to buy a gift card via mobile or app. With a growing and diverse portfolio of distribution partners, CashStar Exchange offers the opportunity for merchants who do not have their own mobile solutions to reach potential customers through third-party programs.
  • Mobile commerce will continue to grow and could make up as much as half of overall digital commerce revenue by the end of 2016. This trend bodes well for merchants willing to participate in the growing number of mobile wallets and mobile gift card malls.
  • Getting ahead of what is to come — The loyalty and incentive category has long had a stronghold over the B2B market. Of those who received a gift card through a loyalty channel, 87 percent opted for a physical card over digital, when given the choice. However, the industry feeling is those numbers will shift toward more of a 50/50 split, especially as Millennials start to enter the prime of their working careers and thus become candidates to receive more cards through the loyalty and incentive space.
  • Leveraging promotional opportunities — As the year winds down, some merchants may find themselves with a surplus in their marketing budget that they can leverage in an effort to drive sales in Q4. Take a page from United Airline’s playbook as an example. In August, CashStar partnered with the United Mileage Plus program to run a Back-to-School promotion via the MileagePlus X app. The MileagePlus X app allows their Mileage Plus members to purchase digital gift cards from their extensive selection of top retailers at full face value, either using their award miles or using cash while earning award miles for themselves in addition to their purchases.
  • In a unique offering, United and CashStar were able to determine the cost to the merchant that would allow United to offer double award miles back for purchases during the Back-to-School promotion. This model allowed select merchants to use their marketing budget to participate. As expected, the participants of this promotion saw a nearly 100 percent increase in sales through the MileagePlus X app for the promotional period as well as increased purchase size and attracted new members who had not purchased the participating merchant gift card prior to the promotion. B2B promotional opportunities are great for merchants willing to offer increased discounts, or use marketing funds as highlighted in the United case.

More than 200 retailers leverage CashStar Exchange to help broaden and diversify their portfolio of B2B partners via a single-integration solution. A one-to-many proposition, the CashStar Exchange Network allows merchants the benefit of partnerships with an entire network of distributors, while only managing the relationship of one.

The success of your gift card program depends on a number of factors, and there is no one size fits all solution to guarantee success. Merchants who show the willingness and ability to use their gift card in a variety of ways often see increased revenue. CashStar Exchange offers a low maintenance option for expanding your reach and transforming your B2B gift card program. For more information, visit our Exchange page.

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