As B.F.Skinner so famously demonstrated, behavior can be shaped and modeled with the right type of incentives. For businesses, encouraging a certain approach or attitude can sometimes be tough. While a simple thank you can go a long way, many businesses realize that it takes a few more steps to really show appreciation, and hold onto true talent that might be looking to jump ship.
In a recent market research report published by Credence Research “Gift Cards Market (Type – Open Loop Gift Cards, Closed Loop Gift Cards and E-gifting; Merchant Type – Department Stores, Restaurants, Food Supermarkets, Coffee Shops, Discount Stores, Entertainment and Hotels) – Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2018 – 2026”, the global gift cards market is expected to hit US$ 750 Bn by 2026.
“As of 2018, retail gift cards has grown to a $160B market annually in the US. The explosion in gift card growth is due to the challenges in gifting – knowing what a person wants, product details such as size/color/style, and knowing a shipping address,” states Shaul Weisband, Co-Founder, and CMO of Jifiti, a startup redefining retail experiences with unparalleled data & technology consumer financing, eGifting, gift cards and gift registry solutions, according to The Sociable.
Moreover, one of the key factors contributing to market growth is an increasing demand for gift cards in the corporate sector. Corporate houses, in recognition of an employee’s contribution to the firm, are presenting gift cards. This trend has become widely prevalent in recent times with a positive effect on the overall market.
Correlating with this trend is the corporate world’s open approach to wellness incentives for employees, which also works alongside this rise in gift cards. Eighty-five percent of large employers offering health insurance included a wellness program designed to encourage employees to stop smoking, lose weight or take other healthful actions, according to a 2017 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Rewards or incentives to participate vary. The most common are gift cards, fitness trackers or other merchandise, or discounts on what workers pay toward their health insurance coverage.
Other companies have taken to rewarding behavior, much like Skinner’s operant conditioning, encouraging the appraisal of good behavior among staff members. Love2shop, one of the UK’s largest business reward providers recently announced the launch of ‘Shout!’, a social employee recognition platform that improves workplace cultures through values-driven ‘shout outs’. These shout outs can accumulate to points which can be exchanged for non-cash prizes, such as gift cards, to employees who pass a certain threshold of recognition for positive contributions.
Evidently, the flexibility of gift cards has made them an excellent purchase, not only for those in our personal lives but also for those who we want to reward in a more corporate, formal setting.
Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company