CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill., Dec. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the holidays fast approaching, it should come as no surprise that consumers spent more than $9 billion on seasonal gift cards last year, with a portion of those consumers saving money on their budgets by redeeming points, miles, or cash-back in their loyalty and rewards programs to get their gift cards to use this holiday season. Various studies show that consumers prefer to use their loyalty points for gift cards over travel or merchandise for a variety of reasons:
- Recipients can choose to shop for what they want from their favorite store via a gift card.
- It's more convenient to give a gift card as a present to a family or loved one during the holidays.
- Up to 40 percent of recipients like to maximize the value of a gift card by redeeming them in combination with a sale or coupon at their favorite store, or a new store brand they've been meaning to explore.
With those facts in mind, National Gift Card, the gift card industry leader in physical and digital gift card program fulfillment for loyalty, reward, and incentive program clients in North America, elected to share some essential tips on how to make sure getting the right gift card (or eGift card) delivered in time to use or give as a present for the holiday is a positive experience:
Tip 1: The most popular gift cards. Are you curious if your gift card redemption choice is similar to other people? Does your program carry the popular gift card brands that Americans want to use or give during the holidays?
From NGC's national gift card sales data from over 500 loyalty programs it supports for physical and digital card fulfillment to millions of U.S. consumers, here are the 10 most popular gift cards being redeemed by Americans through loyalty or employer rewards programs:
In alphabetical order: Applebee's, Amazon, Home Depot, iTunes, Kohl's, Macy's, Starbucks, Target, TJ Maxx, Walmart.
In addition to the brand-specific card choices, NGC is also witnessing a year-over-year increase in Prepaid Reward Cards (VISA, American Express) as hot options with consumers who want a more open-ended reward. However, these rewards do expire and can often require additional points – which is not the case for traditional gift cards from a single merchant brand.
Tip 2: Give yourself time. While redeeming your points or miles for a gift card in your loyalty program is quick with a click or two on your computer or mobile device, don't wait until the last minute to redeem those points as there is a series of behind-the-scenes processes that most consumers don't realize (or ever plan for) when cashing out their points for gift card rewards.
This includes your order being received by your loyalty program, the fulfillment steps for processing the gift card order, and then the shipping transit time. Rule of thumb? Redeem your points early to assure physical delivery of your gift cards before the holidays, or look for programs with digital reward options.
Tip 3: Watch your spam folder. Companies with rewards programs inevitably have their own set of rules around how the redemption process works. For some programs, you can redeem points or miles right up to Christmas Day and receive your eGift card reward within seconds if your program is connected to a secure gift card API.
However, some loyalty programs may handle eGift card reward fulfillment manually. If so, redeeming points over the weekend could occur when those agencies or fulfillment houses are not open, which might mean your eGift card won't be sent until the next business day or two. This could push your gift card or eGift card arriving past the holiday. Remember to watch your Spam or Clutter folders should the email containing your eGift card link not make it directly into your inbox.
Tip 4: Have a 'Plan B'. Gift card availability isn't endless. The number of brands available as a reward option in your program may be limited, especially for niche or non-popular brands, so be prepared with alternatives. This becomes even more of a factor the closer the date gets to Christmas as card inventory in loyalty program fulfillment warehouses may get pulled and delivered to the early bird redeemers, leaving the late redeemer with fewer options.
"Because our automated gift card fulfillment facility and gift card API services over 2,000 corporate buyers, our team of gift card experts watches for redemption spikes, inventory levels, and other forecasting aspects to help ensure the loyalty, incentive, and employee reward programs we support have access to a wide and inventory-deep selection of merchant gift cards during the holidays," says Eric Thiegs, president of National Gift Card, "And that's important when consumers want to use their loyalty program to get that special card to give to someone special during the holiday. That card needs to be available."
Tip 5: Don't be bashful with your questions. It's better to be up front with any questions you have about the process of redemption, particularly when you're looking at cashing out rewards points or miles for gift cards. If you're redeeming those points close to the holiday, contact your loyalty program's customer service line or website to double check that your order will make it to you on time.
Tip 6: Go with a market leader. If you use multiple loyalty programs, look for the ones which offer up the widest selection and the quickest delivery service for when you redeem your gift card reward. You'll find that some programs are better than others for both speed and selection, and when you do, shift more of your day-to-day loyalty to that program instead of spreading it out to the programs that won't support you with the best gift card selection, best customer service, and quickest turnaround time.
"This is one of the key reasons incentive, loyalty and reward programs and agencies use National Gift Card as their card sourcing and fulfillment partner," stated Thiegs. "As the largest and most automated B2B gift card fulfillment center in North America, we're here to make sure our clients' end users have the best experience with their gift card redemption."
After following these tips for getting the cards you want in time for holiday gift giving, lean back and enjoy knowing that you put your points/miles to good use. By giving those on your holiday list a gift card, your loved ones are sure to enjoy choosing the gifts they really want with the gift card you provided.
About National Gift Card Corp.: NGC operates across the U.S. and Canada. NGC also operates in the United Kingdom and across Europe as NGC Corp. Europe, Ltd. NGC is headquartered in Illinois. To learn more about NGC, visit http://www.ngc-group.com or call +1.888.472.8747
CONTACT: Sue Voyles – Logos Communications
SOURCE National Gift Card