Survey Says: Use Digital Gift Cards More Strategically!

By Lauren Chadwick, Senior Director, Marketing

2015 RSR Digital Gifting Benchmark StudyMany CashStar clients are on the leading edge of prepaid commerce, using the full breadth of consumer, business and customer service solutions that the CashStar Commerce platform offers to do so much more than just offer digital gift cards. When it comes to gifting, many of our clients are delivering seamless, omni-channel experiences for their customers by strategically making it easy to buy, receive and redeem digital gift cards. The Home Depot, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy are just some of these leaders, as highlighted in this year’s Digital Gifting Benchmark Study by RSR Research.

This benchmark study evaluated brands from the consumer’s perspective, identifying those retail and restaurant brands that had the gifting experience down, and those that didn’t. But the study doesn’t tell the whole story of what it means to really be using gift cards strategically to achieve business objectives.

Leading up to the fall season’s popular tradeshows, including the Digital Summit and Intersect Retail, we set out to learn how merchants are using prepaid commerce solutions to  grow revenue across the business by driving engagement, loyalty and customer satisfaction.

In what we dubbed ‘The Prepaid Commerce Poll’ we asked: How does your company use prepaid gift cards? Respondents had the choice of three answers that broke down as follows and nearly 100 people weighed in.

Caption: Q: How does your company use prepaid gift cards? Choose one: To offer an additional payment tender; to drive gift card revenue; to optimize the customer experience.

What’s not surprising in the results is that industry leaders from the IR 500 (Internet Retailer’s ranking of the top 500 retailers by ecommerce revenue) are seeing the potential that prepaid commerce provides. These brands view prepaid commerce not only as a siloed revenue generator in gift cards, but as a way to optimize the customer experience. Non IR 500 brands are making good progress, but still have a hurdle to overcome in building gift card programs that do more than satisfy consumer demand for the popular payment tender.

To reap the most benefits and revenues, merchants can deploy prepaid commerce solutions across all channels and devices throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Customer acquisition, incentives and promotions, as well as loyalty, are areas where prepaid commerce can support and enhance marketing efforts. There’s rich opportunity to drive more sales when you deliver personalized B2C gifting experiences, as well as robust bulk sales and B2B distribution programs. And your service teams can issue product returns, fulfill service warranties and appease customers with prepaid commerce.

No matter which stage you find yourself in currently, CashStar can help you advance to the next level of prepaid commerce adoption.

  • For those needing to build the business case for a richer digital gifting program, this omni-channel gifting whitepaper will be helpful
  • If you’re already focused on driving revenue, this case study about Sephora and their mobile-first program may be insightful
  • And if you’re already tuned into how prepaid commerce can optimize the customer experience across the customer lifecycle, you’ll appreciate research about Brand Mavens and how this highly influential segment of consumer prefers prepaid and branded currency

If you missed the chance to take the poll – no worries. The question and the qualifiers that will help you answer accurately are below, so it’s easy to see where you would place yourself.

How does your company use prepaid gift cards?

To offer an additional payment tender to customers

This means…

  • Limiting prepaid card usage to its most basic functionality

To drive gift card revenue

This means…

  • Offering plastic, digital and perhaps also mobile gifting
  • Providing personalized B2C experiences
  • Increasing distribution through bulk sales and B2B distribution
  • Running gift card promotions

To optimize the customer experience

This means the above, plus…

  • Using prepaid commerce across channels, devices and the entire customer lifecycle
  • Supporting omni-channel experiences and mobile wallets
  • Acquiring new customers and engaging existing customers with promotions and incentives
  • Integrating with your loyalty program
  • Appeasing customers and delivering product exchanges digitally


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