Face off Economic Challenges with Collaborative Partnerships that Deliver Value within the World of Gift Cards

By Andrew Johnson of Diggecard

It’s not all doom and gloom but we can’t escape a growing cost of living crisis

The Retail Think Tank2 has foreseen a “tough start” to 2022 for many businesses although, despite this, it says that most of its members are expecting it to be a “generally more positive year” with a predicted retail growth of between 1% and 2%. Adding to this, data from KPMG indicates that we are now out of the “rebound effect” that was felt post-pandemic, where consumer confidence resumed and businesses saw the benefit.

Putting the data aside, you don’t need to be an economist or analyst to grasp the fact that 2022 and beyond is likely to bring significant pressure to household finances as we go into another period of uncertainty. No matter which income bracket we are talking about; increased inflation, interest and taxes teamed with continued supply chain issues and escalating energy prices will have an impact on how much money households will have to spend.

As a result, consumers and businesses will be looking for more ways to achieve value, right across the board.

Collaborative partnerships that deliver value

Move over full-scale outsourcing (or trying to do everything in house); collaborative partnerships are key in delivering real value. In the past month, a new partnership was announced between Costa and M&S – now you can buy M&S food in a Costa café. This is a great example of how a business known for its impeccable food is partnering with another who has nailed the café business. Both are working side by side, doing what each does best, to deliver something of increased value to the consumer, which will, in turn, deliver commercial value to both partners. Win-win!

It’s not quite so easy to find such a headline hitting partnership in the world of gift cards, but the same rules apply! By creating value making partnerships, retail and leisure brands can focus on their core business whilst gift card experts deliver programmes that open new sales channels and increase customer loyalty. Also, there has never been a better time to expand the reach into gift cards because the pandemic has improved the perception of gift cards according to the latest research from the GCVA (State of the Nation 2022).

Furthermore, according to the same report, over half of gift card recipients are introduced to a new brand or organisation, and this rises to 67.3% of Gen Z consumers, and over half of those go on to become regular customers. Gift cards are a great way to deliver value to retail and leisure brands and also to shoppers and recipients.

Value that continues along the value chain

Moving further along the value chain within the world of gift cards; collaborative partnerships between experts can deliver value to all parties. From the supplier, to the business buyer and finally to the end-user.

A great example here is a gift card benefits programme. Starting with retailers and leisure operators who can access a lucrative and growing sales channel as their brand appears within employee, customer and member programmes.

Businesses who bring on board a gift card benefits programme are able to leverage gift cards to deliver increased value to their target audience helping to drive loyalty, acquisition and engagement levels. This is key in the current economic climate where customers and members may become less loyal as they ‘shop around’ for the best deals, and where employees may need engagement via alternative means, when pay increases and bonuses may not be possible.

Finally, end-users of such a programme are able to achieve value by making great savings on their favourite retail and leisure brands at a time when household finances are under more pressure than ever. Recent research by the GCVA highlights the continuing significance of employee benefit, reward and B2B schemes in which 39.5% of consumers received at least one gift card over the last three years through work rewards or incentives

By working in partnership, brands and businesses can tap into expertise, and create value whilst continuing to retain control of their business and brand identity.

Collaborate with gift card experts

For businesses looking to create value with gift cards, a collaboration with a gift card expert will allow an organisation to continue to focus on their core business whilst driving increased value with a trusted partner.

Retail, leisure or hospitality brands can increase revenue and provide more value to customers with a white label gift card programme or small retailer solution. Find out how The Body Shop is using gift card solutions to provide a customer experience with increased value.

For businesses and agencies looking to offer increased value to customers, employees and members at a time when they need it the most, a gift card benefits programme enables savings on retail, leisure and hospitality brands from everyday items and one-off purchases. Find out how Anytime Fitness are doing this to deliver added value to their membership base.

All in all, with uncertain and potentially challenging times ahead, it is key to find ways to increase value through symbiotic partnerships, which create mutual benefits right across the value chain, whatever the industry or business size.

At Diggecard, whether you are a retail, leisure or hospitality business, a platform partner, or a business or agency looking to use gift cards for rewards, incentives, benefits and promotions, we can offer you plenty of gift card expertise and collaboration that will benefit you and your customers.