Corporate gifting: from a routine to a priority

by | 8 Mar, 2022 | CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

All of us can think of many occasions year-round that can lead to both personal gifting and corporate gifting. But the latter specifically has undergone an important transformation over the past year. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, most businesses have been forced to reshape the way they operate.
Remote working is becoming a common practice, events and conferences are now mostly digital, interactions between colleagues are restricted… giving rise to challenges in establishing or maintaining relationships.

As a result, employers increased their gifting frequency, and the corporate gifting market has experienced a significant growth. This trend is expected to reach $306 billion by 2024*, which makes it a strategic issue for brands and retailers.

What are the benefits for them? How can gift cards fit into this trend? Let’s see how the use of corporate gifts has been reinvented.

*Gift Now 2021 study

A growing phenomenon

Gift giving is deeply rooted in human interactions, but in normal times corporate gifting is nothing more than a business routine. It was usually used to strengthen relationships with employees or clients occasionally. The pandemic turned it into a new emergency and made it a priority for businesses.

“Welcome back” packs are becoming more and more popular, as are “webinar kits”. Those gifts represent a way to compensate for the multiple cancellations: business dinners, specific events, seminars…

Moreover, with remote working on the rise, the number of “digital nomads” increased. In most companies, professionals don’t have to come to the office but can work from home. Corporate gift-giving can therefore be a way to take care of employees even if they’re not physically here.

This new way of working leads to a demand for greater personalization. In addition to have fewer people in the office, gifts are less and less shared of within the company, so employers aren’t just spending money to show their appreciation, they are getting personal. And that doesn’t mean the traditional mug with someone’s name on it. These gifts are now more focused on the individuals themselves: favorite activities, contribution to social causes, attentions for their family… A personal touch that can go a long way.

The corporate gifting benefits

Receiving a gift is a powerful experience creating a connection between the giver and the recipient. Companies can rely on the power of gifting to secure better relationships, to show appreciation for the work of their employees or even to make them feel valued.

Improve and maintain relationships

To maintain a genuine and healthy relationship with your team, you need to make your employees happy. One of the best ways to do this is to offer them small gifts as a reward or as a sign of appreciation. Indeed, studies have proven that small gestures create a close bond between employees and the company. It can help keep spirits up during these difficult times.

Making employees feel valued

Besides lead generation and improved sales, corporate gifting represents an important tool to make the recipient feel valued. 43% of employees rank it among the top three advantages. And it is not limited to the employees themselves: sending gifts for family members’ birthdays, anniversaries, for Christmas and more goes a long way to improve employee engagement. It shows a level of familiarity and indicates that you know them and care about them.

Improve productivity

Corporate gifting can also be a way to motivate employees. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like knowing their hard work is appreciated after they have completed a difficult task. Getting that instant recognition keeps them on a high that will motivate them further as well as improve their loyalty and commitment. Indeed, 70% of employees said that receiving a holiday gift makes them want to work harder at their jobs*.

*Advertising Specialty Institute corporate gifting survey

Moreover, we now live in a world where employees only stay at their jobs for about 4 years.
Millions of frustrated workers quit their jobs for several reasons but 6 out of 10 employees would be more likely to stay at their job if they received meaningful gifts from their employer*. A way, therefore, to improve employee engagement and retention and fill the gap between them and the company.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 study

The gift card: still as popular as ever

With home offices on the rise, corporate gifts have suddenly been used to maximize convenience and productivity. The popularity of headphones, both wired and wireless, saw a big surge.

However, gift cards also have their own advantages and not the least: flexibility, choice, customization, security, versatility, ease of use… They are now trusted by many companies to power their team. That is why physical gift cards and their digital version were the most given corporate gift over the last 12 months and have the potential to remain so*.

*Gift Now 2021 study

The gift card represents the ideal gift for companies, works councils and employees and remains the fastest, most flexible and least expensive tool. The customization of this support (message, visual, with a name on it) makes it possible to issue a unique gift for each that will both please them and give them purchasing power.

Open your gift card program up to corporate customers

The B2B gift card market has been experiencing significant growth for several years now. Today, it represents between 20 and 25% of brands’ program revenues, fueled by companies’ growing interest in employee well-being and motivation. In France, the government even increased the tax exemption limit for gift cards two years in a row for the holiday season. An opportunity that benefits many platforms. That is why brands must develop their program.

Offering a B2B gift card solution can:

  • Increase revenues: the employee will come to the store to spend his gift card and can even spend more than the card’s face value
  • Increase brand awareness and visibility
  • Provide a new customer acquisition channel: with an e-card in their hands, consumers are willing to test and discover new brands

In such a context, the brand’s gift card will then be seen as a reward for all the efforts made by the employee. The brand in question and its universe will be directly associated with the idea of reward. The employee will then enjoy going to its points of sale and his customer experience will be all the more positive.

Once the program is created, the brand can initiate partnerships with gift cards resellers through a network. It is up to the brand to choose and control the platforms on which it accepts to be sold: marketplaces, rewards and incentive programs for employees, cashback platforms… many possibilities are available in order to reach as many companies as possible.

The cost of losing someone and hiring their replacement is quite high. Companies are coming to the conclusion that an investment in unexpected gifts is worth the money when it positively affects employee happiness. Nearly half of employers plan to increase the frequency of corporate gifting post pandemic. A trend that brands and retailers need to take advantage of by offering gift cards.

Suggestions for further reading

The gift card in the world of professional tourism

Digital gift card white paper

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