Research Firm Identifies Digital Gift Cards as a Key Indicator of Omni-Channel Retail Success
RSR Research today unveiled the results of its fifth benchmarking study on the digital gifting industry, “Digital Gift Cards: A Key Indicator of Omni-Channel Alignment.” Conducted since 2010, the report thoroughly evaluates the digital gifting experiences of the nation’s top retailers in key verticals such as fashion and apparel, health and beauty, and department and big box.
“Consistency across channels – or lack thereof – was a key theme in our research this year. As companies add new touchpoints and as the sophistication of mobile and social channels grow, digital gift cards can become a barometer for how well retailers are integrating their digital channels,” said Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research and co-author of the report. “Digital gifting certainly plays an important role in the customer experience and clearly demonstrates to shoppers that you’re dedicated to providing an optimal customer experience across channels.”
The Home Depot scored the highest of all 100 retailers evaluated with a total of 51.5 of 75 possible points, also notably securing a #1 ranking in four of the five RSR digital gifting benchmarking studies. The Home Depot makes gift cards easy to find and provides personalization options so buyers can customize their gifts. In addition to setting – and meeting – expectations for delivery times, The Home Depot is also demonstrating some of the early stages of mobile integration, such as taking advantage of the phone’s touch capabilities, as well as integration with mobile wallets.
Other top performers recognized for both their commitment to innovation and consistency across channels include Sephora (50.5 points), Starbucks (49 points), Ulta Cosmetics (49 points), Dunkin’ Donuts (49 points), Amazon.com (48 points) and Best Buy (48 points). These retailers all provided gift cards that were easy to find, regardless of channel; purchases that are integrated with product carts and plastic card purchases; the ability to personalize gift cards for each recipient; mobile delivery and extensive notification options to both the buyer and recipient; mobile-optimized purchases on both the mobile Web and within mobile apps; and the ability to add gift cards to mobile wallets.
“This year, we were pleased to see that 82 of the 100 retail and restaurant brands we looked at now provide digital gifting – quite the leap from just 40 in 2010,” said Steve Rowen, managing partner at RSR Research and co-author of the report. “But as we evaluated these retailers’ experiences, we quickly realized that digital gifting looks deceptively easy to execute, but in reality can be hard – especially when it comes to executing seamlessly across channels, which is where many retailers fell short.”
In fact, RSR found 13 retailers were unable to deliver a digital gift card on the first try and four were unable to deliver the cards after three attempts to contact or work with customer service.
The full report can be downloaded here. The research includes a breakdown of vertical category leaders, overall rankings, criteria on which the digital gifting experiences were evaluated, and recommendations for taking digital gifting experiences to the next level. Copies of the report will also be available at CashStar’s booth (#801) at the Shop.org Digital Summit being held October 5-7 in Philadelphia.
About RSR Research
Retail Systems Research (“RSR”) is the only research company run by retailers for the retail industry. RSR provides insight into business and technology challenges facing the extended retail industry, providing thought leadership and advice on navigating these challenges for specific companies and the industry at large. We do this by: identifying information that helps retailers and their trading partners to build more efficient and profitable businesses; identifying industry issues that solutions providers must address to be relevant in the extended retail industry; providing insight and analysis about a broad spectrum of issues and trends in the extended retail industry.
CashStar, the industry-leading provider of prepaid commerce solutions, enables the world’s top retailers and restaurants to grow and innovate in the rapidly evolving retail environment. CashStar provides best-in-class capabilities, revenue-optimizing risk management and a client success model based on aligned growth, to optimize digital gifting and prepaid commerce experiences. CashStar powers more than 300 leading brands worldwide including Best Buy, Brookstone, Coach, Crate & Barrel, Dell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Gap, lululemon athletica, Nine West, Office Depot, Petco, Pottery Barn, QVC, Sephora, Staples, Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory, The Home Depot and Williams-Sonoma. To learn more, please visit www.cashstar.com, follow @CashStar or e-mail .