A new survey reveals that over three quarters of US firms that offer incentives to their customers gear them toward customer retention, while about half the firms aim their incentives at customer acquisition.
Researchers for the survey, from First Data Prepaid Services, a division of First Data Corp, a supplier of bank- and merchant-issued gift and spending card solutions and pay card offerings, interviewed 68 customer incentive programme decision makers (of manager or higher level in sales, marketing or human resources) within US businesses with a hundred or more employees.
Of the companies offering some form of customer incentive, 40% are using gift cards most often, second only to product or service discounts at 52%. Twenty nine percent said that their primary use of gift cards was for the consumer market, while roughly the same number (28%) said their primary audience for gift card incentives was for the business-to-business market. The remaining 43% split their use of gift cards as incentives among consumers and other businesses equally.
Most popular cards
According to the companies surveyed, the most popular gift cards given as customer incentives are for:
- Sit-down/table service restaurants, 67%;
- Specialty stores, 56%;
- Department stores, 45%; and
- Large discount stores, 40%.
Twenty percent of the companies currently offering gift card customer incentives said they will increase use in the coming year, and 52% of all companies surveyed said they are likely to use gift cards as customer incentives in the coming year.
Top reasons for the strong interest in gift cards were:
- Easy/convenient to give and use
- Valued and seen as a good reward
- Strength in meeting customer relations objectives