Gift Cards as incentive marketing

Gift Cards Gain among Incentive Marketers

Incentive marketing suppliers are selling a record number of gift cards to corporate customers as part of employee recognition and motivation programs, according to the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC), a strategic industry group within the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA).

According to some studies, overall corporate and consumer gift card spending could rise from an estimated $400 billion in 2008 to as much as $600 billion in 2010.

“Make no mistake. Gift cards are and will continue to be an extremely popular — if not the No. 1 — choice in incentive, reward, loyalty and recognition programs,” said Incentive Gift Card Council President Andrew Dodge. “Incentive professionals have come to know that gift cards are ideal for corporate clients looking for a meaningful gift that gives the recipient some personal choice, and are easy to buy, receive and distribute in a timely manner.”

Unfortunately, the economic downturn and tightened credit markets have squeezed many businesses, including a number of national retailers which sell their products from both traditional storefronts as well as via the Internet.

“You don't have to look far to see how many retailers have closed a large number of locations, or have completely gone out of business,“ Dodge noted. “That is why it's critically important that incentive marketers exercise due diligence with any produce supplier, and look very carefully at the potential gift card options on behalf of their clients.”

Dodge continued: “We expect that incentive suppliers will work more closely than ever with gift card providers to assure that the corporate clients' incentive programs are administered professionally.”

ECONOMIC CLIMATE AND GIFT CARDS

As we all recognize, we are in a difficult economic time. Whether small businesses or big box merchants, whether local or national, both consumers and businesses alike are feeling the pressure. There are continual stories of bankruptcies across all lines of businesses. This results in everyone needing to be more diligent and mindful of purchasing and selling decisions.

When it comes to purchasing gift cards for employee recognition programs, here are some facts you should know about current bankruptcy law:

  • Gift cards do not have to be honored. Even if a bankrupt retailer would like to honor their gift cards, they may not be able to per a court order.

  • If the bankrupt company is purchased by another company, the buyer might honor the cards but is not legally required to do so.

  • Gift cards fall in the class of unsecured creditors, which are usually the last to get paid. Secured creditors are at the top of the list — those with debts backed by assets such as real estate or accounts receivable. If the amount of debit held by secured creditors dwarfs the assets of the company in bankruptcy, nothing would be left for unsecured creditors.

The 2007 Incentive Federation Study revealed that gift cards used for merchandise or services were and still are the most effective motivational method used by large companies (those with revenues over $100 million). For corporate customers buying gift cards, merchandise or services, it becomes extremely important to be aware of a company's financial situation and if they deploy best of class business practices.

IGCC members are experienced and knowledgeable about the incentive industry. They operate reputable businesses with high quality gift card products. However, do your research when choosing a gift card supplier, just as you would any other business partner.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING GIFT CARD REWARDS

The Incentive Gift Card Council offers the following tips for incentive professionals who are marketing gift cards as part of a reward or incentive program:

  • When buying gift cards from a retailer that has experienced store closings, ask for the reasons behind them. There may be financially sound reasons for select store closings, but it is smart to inquire in detail about store closings, as well as any scheduled new store openings.

  • Ask the retailer how many store locations will accept the gift card, if they are conveniently located near the intended recipient and if the gift cards are redeemable at the retailers' “e-store” Web sites.

  • Communicate to the recipient the terms and conditions of the gift card, including any fees, the card's potential decline in value over time and any expiration dates. Buyers should be aware that “open-ended” cards issued by banks, shopping malls and credit card companies are more likely to have expiration dates and added fees. However, all gift cards issued by the nation's 25 largest retailers do not expire, and 84 percent of them have no fees, according to the National Retail Federation.

“The vast majority of gift card issuers are reputable retailers with strong histories, customer loyalty and financial resources,” Dodge said. “IGCC's intention is to advise and educate incentive marketing professionals on any potential problems which could occur as some retailers deal with some very hard choices in the months ahead.”

The Incentive Gift Card Council is a strategic industry group within the Incentive Marketing Association (http://www.incentivemarketing.org). The IGCC educates the incentive marketplace and the corporate community on the benefits of gift cards, including choice, value and service, and other key attributes recipients say that they want their awards to have. For more information, visit http://www.usegiftcards.org.

AFFINION LOYALTY GROUP
7814 Carousel Lane
Richmond, VA 23294
http://www.affinionloyalty.com

AMAZON.COM
705 5th Ave. South, Suite 220
Seattle, WA 98104
http://www.amazon.com

AMC THEATRES
920 Main St. Kansas City, MO 64105
http://www.amctheatres.com

AMERICAN EXPRESS INCENTIVE SERVICES
Martin J. Hood
1400 South Highway Dr. Fenton, MO 63099
http://www.aeis.com

APPLEBEE'S
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
http://www.applebees.com

ARROWEYE SOLUTIONS INC.
549 W. Randolph St., Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60661
http://www.arroweyesolutions.com

ART.COM
Gift Card Program
2100 Powell St., 13th Floor
Emeryville, CA 94608
Phone: 510-879-4776
Email: [email protected]
http://www.art.com - or - http://www.allposters.com

VIS BUDGET GROUP
143 Courtland St., Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 800-831-8000
http://www.avisbudgetgroup.com, http://www.avis.com, http://www.budget.com

BARNES & NOBLE INC.
76 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY 10011
Phone: 866-823-6304
http://www.bngiftcards.com

BASS PRO SHOPS/OUTDOOR WORLD INCENTIVES
2500 East Kearney St. Springfield, MO 65898
800-951-1000
http://www.owincentives.com

BATH & BODY WORKS
7 Limited Parkway East
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Phone: 800-688-7075
http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/corporatesales

BED BATH & BEYOND
650 Liberty Ave.
Union, NJ 07083
http://www.bedbath.com

BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM
700 Brazos St., Suite B-700
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 800-462-2632
http://www.bedandbreakfast.com

BEST BUY
7601 Penn Ave. South
Richfield, MN 55423
http://www.bestbuy.com

BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL
6201 N. 24th Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85016
http://www.bestwestern.com

BLACKHAWK NETWORK
5918 Stoneridge Mall Rd.
Pleasanton, CA 94588
http://www.blackhawknetwork.com

BORDERS
100 Phoenix Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Phone: 877-254-9228
Email: [email protected]
http://www.borders.com

BRINKER INTERNATIONAL
6820 LBJ Freeway
Dallas, TX 75240
Phone: 877-724-4438
http://www.brinkergiftcards.com

BROOKSTONE
One Innovation Way
Merrimack, NH 03054 (Map)
Phone: 603-880-9500
http://www.brookstone.com

CABELA'S INC.
One Cabela Dr. Sidney, NE 69160
Phone: 800-753-3219
Email: [email protected]
http://www.corporateoutfitter.cabelas.com

CARA OPERATIONS LIMITED
6303 Airport Rd.
Mississauga, ONT L4V 1R8
Phone: 905-405-5515
http://www.cara.com

CARD EXPRESS, INC.
22800 Savi Ranch Parkway, Suite 120
Yorba Linda, CA 92887
Phone: 714-221-8500
http://www.cardex.com

CARD PERSONALIZATION SOLUTIONS
1005 Republic Dr., Unit A
Addison, IL 60101
http://wwwcrdpersol.com

CARLSON MARKETING
1405 Xenium Lane
Plymouth, MN 55441
http://www.carlson.com

CARLSON RESTAURANTS WORLDWIDE
4201 Marsh Lane
Carrollton, TX 75007
Phone: 800-FRIDAYS
http://www.fridays.com

CASHSTAR
10801 Johnston Rd., Suite 201
Charlotte, NC 28226
http://www.cashstar.com

CHARMING SHOPPES, INC.
3750 State Rd.
Bensalem, PA 19020
Phone: 215-245-9100
http://www.charmingshoppes.com

CHASE PAYMENTECH SOLUTIONS
2075 Kennedy Rd., Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M1T 3V3
http://www.chasepaymentech.com

CLAIM JUMPER RESTAURANT
16721 Millikan Ave.
Irvine, CA 92606
http://www.claimjumper.com

COM DATA
101 Bullitt Lane, Suite 305
Louisville, KY 40222
Phone: 877-803-3396
http://www.storedvalue.com

CONNEXIONS LOYALTY TRAVEL SOLUTIONS
6442 City West Parkway
Eden Prarie, MN 55344
http://www.cltsloyalty.com, http://www.distinctivedepartures.com

CORPORATEREWARDS.COM
307 Fifth Ave., 4th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 877-922-GIVE
http://www.corporaterewards.com

CRACKER BARREL OLD COUNTRY STORE
P.O. Box 787
Lebanon, TN 37088-4064
Phone: 800-333-9566
http://www.crackerbarrel.com

CRATE AND BARREL
1860 West Jefferson
Naperville, IL 60540
http://www.crateandbarrel.com

CRUTCHFIELD
1 Crutchfield Park
Charlottesville, VA 22911
Phone: 800-388-2911
http://www.crutchfield.com

CVS PHARMACY INC.
One CVS Dr. Woonsocket, RI 02895
http://www.cvs.com

DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC.
6100 Lake Ellenor Dr. Orlando, FL 32809
Phone: 800-642-7336
http://www.darden.com

DAVE & BUSTERS
2481 Manana Dr. Dallas, TX 75220
Phone: 214-357-9588
http://www.daveandbusters.com

DISCOVER FINANCIAL SERVICES
2500 Lake Cook Rd.
Riverwoods, IL 60015
http://www.discovernetwork.com

DISNEY'S INCENTIVE REWARDS
P.O. Box 10000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
http://www.disneyincentiverewards.com

DOMINO'S PIZZA LLC
30 Frank Lloyd Wright Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48106-0790
http://www.dominos.com

DUNKIN' DONUTS BRAND INC.
130 Royall St. Canton, MA 02120
http://www.DunkinDonuts.com

EDDIE BAUER INC.
10401 NE 8th St., Suite 500
Bellevue, WA 98004
Phone: 800-233-4174
http://www.eddiebauer.com

FAIRMONT-RAFFLES HOTELS & RESORTS
1000 W. Leland, Suite 10-F
Chicago, IL 60640
http://www.fairmont.com/ovationrewards

FIFTH THIRD BANK
Michele Herron
38 Fountain Square Plaza, MD 10909A
Cincinnati, OH 45263
http://www.53.com

FIRST DATA PREPAID SERVICES
3980 Mission Way
San Leandro, CA 94578
http://www.firstdata.com

FOOT LOCKER GIFTCARD SALES / PATRIOT MARKETING GROUP
1201 Alta Loma Rd.
W. Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: 800-690-5996
Email: [email protected]
http://www.footlockergiftcard.com

FOOT LOCKER INC.
112 W. 34th St., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10120
http://www.footlockergiftcards.com

GIFTCARD PARTNERS INC.
47 Pine Plain Rd.
Wellesley, MA 02481
http://www.giftcardpartners.com

GIFTCARDS.COM LLC
495 Mansfield Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Phone: 877-944-3822
http://www.giftcards.com

GIFTCERTIFICATES.COM
11510 Blondo St. Omaha, NE 68164
http://www.giftcertificates.com

GIFTS.COM/ GIFTCO
8833 Sunset Blvd., 3rd Floor
West Hollywood, CA 90069
http://www.gifts.com/corporate

GLOBOFORCE, LTD.
144 Turnpike Rd., Suite 310
South Borough, MA 01772
http://www.globoforce.com

GODIVA CHOCOLATIER, INC.
1 Meridian Blvd., Suite 3C-1
Wyomissing, PA 19610
Phone: 866-888-6095
Email: [email protected]
http://www.godiva.com

GREAT LAKES SCRIPCENTER, INC.
P.O. Box 8158
Kentwood, MI 49518-8158
Phone: 800-727-4715
http://www.glscrip.com

GSP MARKETING
320 West Ohio
Chicago, IL 60654
http://www.gspmarketing.com

HALLMARK INSIGHTS
121 S. Eighth St., Suite 700
Minneapolis, MN 55402
http://www.hallmarkinsights.com

HALLMARK TRIBUTES
2501 McGee St., P.O. Box 419580, MD 334
Kansas City, MO 64141-6580
http://www.hallmarktributes.com

HAMMACHER SCHLEMMER
9307 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Niles, IL 60714
Phone: 800-931-9341
http://www.hammacher.com

HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL
6100 Old Park Lane
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: 800-723-ROCK
http://www.hardrock.com

THE HERTZ CORP.
225 Brae Blvd.
Park Ridge, NJ 07656
Phone: 800-654-2200
http://www.hertz.com

HOME DEPOT INCENTIVES INC.
2455 Paces Ferry Rd., N.W. B10
Atlanta, GA 30339
http://www.homedepot.com

HYATT HOTEL CORP.
71 S. Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60606
http://www.hyatt.com

INCENTONE
160 Chubb Ave., Suite 203
Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
http://www.incentone.com

INCOMM
1116 Forest Creek
Benbrook, TX 76126
http://www.incomm.com

INCOMM
250 Williams St., Suite M100
Atlanta, GA 30303
http://www.incomm.com

INNOVATIVE PREPAID SOLUTIONS
1905 Oaks Way
Oklahoma City, OK 73131
Phone: 405-475-2902 - or - 405-630-6806

JCPENNEY INCENTIVE SALES
4775 Trail Ridge Rd.
Blair, NE 68008
Phone: 800-832-4438
http://www.jcpgiftcard.com

JET INC.
1500 Centre Circle
Downers Grove, IL 60515
http://www.imaginejet.net

JOS. A. BANK CLOTHIERS INC.
500 Hanover Pike
Hampstead, MD 21074
http://www.josbank.com

KOHL'S
N56 W17000 Ridgewood Dr. Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
http://www.kohls.com/corpgiftcard

L.L.BEAN DIRECT TO BUSINESS
15 Casco St. Freeport, ME 04033
Phone: 800-470-4288
http://www.llbean.com/business

LA CENSE BEEF LLC
945 North Montana St. Dillon, MT 59725
http://www.Lacensebeef.com

LANDS' END
5 Lands' End Lane
Dodgeville, WI 53595
http://www.giftcard.landsend.com

LOWE'S COMPANIES INC.
1000 Lowes Blvd.
Mooresville, NC 28117
http://www.lowes.com/giftcards

LOYALTY INNOVATIONS
2120 S. 72, Suite 750
Omaha, NE 68124
http://www.loyaltyinnovations.com

MACY'S CORPORATE SALES & SERVICES
151 West 34th St., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10001
http://www.macys.com/corporategifts

MARKETING INNOVATORS
9701 West Higgins Rd.
Rosemont, IL 60018
Phone: 800-401-3698
http://www.marketinginnovators.com

MARRIOTT INDIVIDUAL INCENTIVES
One Marriott Dr. - Dept. 955.23
Washington, DC 20058
Phone: 800-835-7754
http://www.marriott.com/incentives

MOVIE GALLERY | HOLLYWOOD VIDEO | GAME CRAZY
9275 S.W. Peyton Lane
Wilsonville, OR 97070
Phone: 888-456-4599
http://www.hollywoodvideo.com /giftcards

MT&L CARD PRODUCTS and FULFILLMENT SERVICES
2911 Kraft Dr. Nashville, TN 37204
http://www.mtlcard.com

NATIONAL GIFT CARD CORP.
800 McHenry Ave., Suite A
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 888-472-8747
http://www.ngc-group.com

NBO SYSTEMS INC.
3676 W. California Ave., Building D-100
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
Phone: 800-545-5776
http://www.nbo.com

NIKE INC.
1 Bowerman Dr. Beaverton, OR 97005
http://www.nike.com

O'CHARLEY'S
3038 Sidco Dr. Nashville, TN 37204
Phone: 888-488-4372
http://www.ocharleys.com

OMAHA STEAKS - SPECIAL MARKETS
11030 “O” St. Omaha, NE 68137
Phone: 800-228-2480
http://www.osincentives.com

OPTIMUM CARD SOLUTIONS
855 S. Fiene Dr. Addison, IL 60101
http://www.optimumcard.com

OSI RESTAURANT PARTNERS / OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE INC.
2202 N. Westshore Blvd., 5th Floor
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 866-551-1666
http://www.OSIRestaurantpartners.com

PANERA BREAD
16326 Chuckwagon
San Antonio, TX 78247
http://www.panerabread.com

PAPA JOHN'S PIZZA
2002 Papa John's Blvd.
Louisville, KY 40299
http://www.papajohns.com

PIER 1 IMPORTS
100 Pier 1 Place
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Phone: 888-743-7142
http://www.pier1.com

PIZZA HUT
14841 N. Dallas Parkway
Dallas, TX 75254
Phone: 972-338-7185
http://www.pizzahut.com

PREPAID SOLUTIONS USA
8001 South Cass Ave.
Darien, IL 60561
http://www.prepaidsolutions.com

REAF MARKETING
10933 Shadow Glen Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45140
http://www.reafmarketing.com

RED DOOR SPAS
300 Main St. Stamford, CT 06901
http://www.reddoorspas.com

REGAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
3635 S. Monaco Parkway
Denver, CO 80237-1230
Phone: 800-784-8477
http://www.corporateboxoffice.com

REGIS CORP.
7201 Metro Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55439
http://www.regiscorpgiftcards.com

RK INCENTIVES
2510 Oak Island Pointe
Orlando, FL 32809
http://www.rkincentives.com

ROYAL PERFORMANCE GROUP
2100 Western Court, #80
Lisle, IL 60532
http://www.rpgglobal.com

RUTH'S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE
500 International Parkway Suite 100
Heathrow, FL 32746
Phone: 800-487-4785
http://www.ruthschris.com

RYMAX MARKETING SERVICES INC.
19 Chapin Rd., Building B
Pine Brook, NJ 07058
Phone: 800-379-8073
http://www.rymaxinc.com

SALESFORCEXP
PO Box 247, 27020 Noble Rd.
Excelsior, MN 55331
http://www.salesforcexp.com

SEARS HOLDINGS GIFT CARDS
3333 Beverly Rd.
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
Phone: 800-549-8151
http://www.sears.com/corpgiftcards

SELLING COMMUNICATIONS INC.
520 White Plains Rd., Suite 120
Tarrytown, NY 10591
http://www.motivationstrategies.com, http://www.solatech.com

SHELL GIFT CARD
2100 Western Court, Suite 80
Lisle, IL 60532
Phone: 888-SHELL-04
http://www.shellgiftcard.com

SIMON PROPERTY GROUP
225 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46204
http://www.simon.com

SPAFINDER INC.
257 Park Ave. South, Floor 10
New York, NY 10010
Phone: 888-ALL-SPAS
http://www.spafinder.com

STAPLES CORPORATE INCENTIVES
500 Staples Dr. Framingham, MA 01702
http://www.staples.com/incentives

STONER BUNTING MARKETING
210 West Grant St. Lancaster, PA 17603
http://www.stonerbunting.com

SVM - GIFT CARDS
999 E. Touhy Ave., Suite 250
Des Plaines, IL 60018
http://www.svmcards.com

T.J. MAXX / MARSHALLS / HOMEGOODS / AJ WRIGHT
TJX Companies
770 Cochituate Rd.
Framingham, MA 01701
Phone: 800-333-1387
http://www.tjxmaxx.com/corp _rewards.asp

TARGET
3701 Wayzata Blvd, TFS-4BG
Minneapolis, MN 55416
Phone: 800-5GIFTS5
http://www.target.com/corporate giftcards

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT
1000 Universal Studios Plaza
Orlando, FL 32819
http://www.UniversalOrlando.com

VIRTUAL INCENTIVES GROUP INC.
16326 Chuckwagon
San Antonio, TX 78247
http://www.virtualincentivesgroup.com

VISA U.S.A.
900 Metro Center Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404-2775
Phone: 650-432-1406
http://www.visa.com

WALGREENS CO.
200 Wilmot Rd., MS# 2171
Deerfield, IL 60015-4681
Phone: 877-492-4222
http://www.walgreens.com

WILLIAMS-SONOMA INC.
3250 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: 800-838-2589
http://www.williams-sonomainc.com

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