New report reveals best practices, advancements and areas for growth in e-commerce gift card programs

PLEASANTON, California, May 6, 2020 / PRNewswire / – As Consumers Are Pushed To Buy Online, New Study Finds1 by NAPCO Research, a leading independent retail research firm, examines the progress and areas of growth in digital giving programs. Based on Blackhawk sales data, direct sales (for example, gift cards sold directly from a restaurant and merchant’s website) on partner channels since mid-March are up 92% compared to 2019.2. NAPCO’s Third Annual Merchant Gift Card Ecommerce Assessment offers merchants the opportunity to compare results to previous years to get accurate information on their program performance, view progress in ecommerce sales channels and identify areas of potential growth.

“We have seen unprecedented growth in digital gifts in 2020 and believe that the rapid adoption of digital gift cards by consumers is here to stay. The gift card market is expected.3 reach close to 550 billion dollars by 2024 and now 71% of consumers surveyed say they are interested in digital gift cards over other gifts, ”said Therese McEndree, vice president of marketing at Blackhawk Network. “With this steadily increasing consumer interest in purchasing gift cards, retailers must continue to focus on creating the best possible online experience for consumers. We find that brands that do well digitally across the board are focusing on omnichannel, given the digital customer experience for all shoppers and the use of gift cards as promotional tools and for B2B programs. The good news for retailers is that while there is still a lot of room for overall improvement, there is still a lot of money on the table, especially when we look at buying gift cards online and the experience. of the recipient. ”

The multiplatform assessment assessed 150 brands on 109 unique criteria and found that the gap between e-commerce leaders and laggards was narrowing. This indicates that more and more merchants are realizing the value that a strong gift card program can bring to their organization and are taking the necessary steps to act accordingly. Other highlights of the assessment include:

Home Furnishings Surpass Department Stores as Top Performing Digital Gift Programs
Home furnishings merchant programs overtook department store digital gift programs as the top performing category this year with the highest average score (53%). Department stores (51%) fell to second place this year after dominating all product categories in the 2018 report. Sporting goods brands (50%). Looking at the categories needing the most improvement, Gaming (18%), Grocery / Pharmacy (25%), and Hotel (28%) programs had the lowest average scores.

Biggest overall improvements YOY
Several bright spots emerged from the report, including an improvement in overall year-over-year performance in discoverability, self-use and fraud protection.

  • Discoverability: The average discoverability score (or buyers’ ability to find gift cards) was 57%, up from 55% in 2018. Improved discoverability performance on merchant websites, both desktop and online. mobile, helps to compensate for their difficulties on the mobile. applications.
  • Personal use: Thirty-one percent of merchants provide an accelerated experience for consumers to purchase personal-use gift cards, up from 25% in 2018.
  • Fraud Protection: Twenty-seven percent of surveyed merchants declined at least one legitimate card purchase transaction (a false positive). This is down from 44% in 2018, but it’s still an issue brands need to tackle.

General trends in the gift card program
Several key themes of the gift card program emerged from this year’s evaluation. Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • The office experience is still the best: For the third year in a row, the average score for the merchant desktop experience exceeded that of the two mobile channels: mobile web and mobile app. Merchants got an average score of 49% for their desktop websites, compared to 42% for mobile web and 29% for mobile apps.
  • More payment options equals more gift card sales: Merchants are missing out on opportunities to increase gift card sales due to limited payment options. The average number of payment options for the merchants assessed was 5.76. Over 20% offered no payment option other than the four major standard credit cards. With more and more consumers shopping on their phones, offering multiple payment options that speed up and simplify the checkout process can lead to increased sales of gift cards, especially for those who are more likely to give up their gift card. basket at checkout if they are forced to fill out a long form with payment details.
  • Digital natives are catching up: Native, direct-to-consumer digital brands can disrupt the traditional brick-and-mortar business, but that disruption is surprisingly not extending to online gift card sales. Of the 27 digital native brands reviewed, they are, on average, lagging behind their more traditional retail counterparts when it comes to the e-commerce gift card experience, with below-average performance. in each of the three main channels assessed: desktop, mobile web and mobile app.

The comprehensive report provides merchant scores and rankings in addition to data and information to help merchants assess the strengths and opportunities of their own gift card programs and prioritize areas for investment. The criteria were designed to identify the expected and emerging capabilities of digital and physical merchant-to-consumer gift card offerings through desktop, mobile website, and mobile app. The study also assessed B2B e-commerce offerings and recipient experience for digital and physical cards, including redemption options.

Download the full report here.

About the Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment solutions through prepaid products, technologies and network that connect brands and people. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends into branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. Serving 28 countries, we reliably execute security-focused solutions around the world. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments. Learn more at

About NAPCO Research
NAPCO Media is the parent company of Total Retail, a digital retail publication, along with 15 other brands. Total Retail publishes daily content and hosts webinars and industry events for its audience of more than 70,000 retailers.

Led by a former Forrester Research analyst, NAPCO Research partners with retail clients for their personalized research and thought leadership needs.

1 The 2019 Merchant Gift Card Ecommerce Rating is an analysis conducted by NAPCO Research on behalf of Blackhawk Network in 2019. The analysis included 150 top merchants determined by industry rankings and measured against more of 100 criteria.
2 Gift card growth results are based on 2019 and 2020 Blackhawk Network sales data.
3 Global Gift Card Market Insights, Forecast to 2025 was published by QYResearch Group on September 24, 2018. The report comprises an analysis of the global market size of the Gift Cards market in key regions including North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America and Middle East & Africa.

Courtney Brunkow
[email protected]

SOURCE Blackhawk Network

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