Gift Cards


Incentive programs (utilizing gift cards) have grasped their own niche market, with the sales and giving of 42 billion cards and certificates in 2003. Most companies have their own form of incentives programs for their customers. Incentive cards are beneficial in many ways that make them more desirable than simple cash incentives and people often appreciate them just as much.

The card looks exactly like a credit card, and is made of plastic with a magnetic strip. It can be loaded with any amount of cash, but is limited to certain businesses when spending. Some can be recharged with cash, turning them into something akin to a debit card. They are, at times, seen as 'gold watches' in the business arena in that they're a sign of accomplishment.

They're often given as congratulatory gifts at ceremonies. They're also given as corporate gifts. They can be given to staff who have made particularly high sales, or who have accomplished in other ways. They're also given to clients who have spent a particular amount in a store and thus encourage people to be brand loyal.

Companies that target a high number of defined markets find them more versatile because, when given as special offers to loyal customers, the company doesn't have to individualize offers according to market. They take the form of a motivational tool, encouraging employees to reach their goals. They tend to make customers who have received them feel more trusting of a business.

Statistics show that the amounts spent by men and women are equal, but habits are different. Women purchase them more often but men put more money into them. This results in an even market share between males and females.

They have the effect of causing people to spend more money at a store or center than they otherwise would have. This is because they usually spend more than the card is worth. Incentive gift cards cards even offer a budgeting solution for those who struggle to regulate their cash flow.

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