Toy brands and businesses in the children’s sector are already gearing up for the upcoming year-end, which promises to be challenging once again. With a significant portion of their revenue generated during Christmas, including 30% in December 2021, this period is undoubtedly strategic.
This year, prices are expected to increase given the current context, while at the same time, the budgets of the French are expected to decrease, at least for 26% of them.
Faced with this challenge, toy and children’s brands have every interest in increasing their presence and points of contact. An interesting lever for this year-end is CSEs (Employee Committee). Every year, they allocate 14% of their budget to December festivities, including the famous Christmas trees that bring together employee parents and their children.
Gift cards, specifically the digital version, are an excellent entry point to reach all employee parents and their children. They are a gift that is increasingly in demand on one side and valued by companies.
Let’s explore the strategies and regulations to put your gift card in the spotlight.
What Does the Law Say About Gift Cards as Corporate Gifts in France
First, let’s delve into the realm of laws and regulations. Fortunately, it offers exemptions for rewards, including gift cards.
The amount in 2023 is 5% of the monthly ceiling of the social security system, which is €170 per employee per calendar year. Companies are exempt from social security contributions on this €170 in France.
To qualify for this exemption, three conditions must be met:
- The reward must be offered during one of the “authorized” events by URSSAF.
- The amount of €170 per employee must not be exceeded.
- The nature of the gift offered must be related to the event.
Among the URSSAF events, the one that interests us is Christmas. Christmas is for employees but also for their children up to 16 years old in the calendar year.
Since rewards can be cumulative per employee if the €170 limit is not reached, Employee Committees (CSEs) often offer a gift card to employees and a gift card to their children. For example, a €70 gift card for employees and €120 for their children.
And if the gift card must be related to Christmas, the one for children will revolve around the world of toys and children. This is a great opportunity for brands in this sector.
Moreover, gift cards are increasingly favored by companies for their convenience and quick ordering, while perfectly managing their budget. It’s simpler than choosing toys from a catalog.
Why Children’s Gift Cards Are a Good Alternative for corporate committee and HR
Gift cards, especially their digital version, are practical for CSEs. Instead of taking time to search for one or more products, make purchases, manage delivery and stocks before the D-day, gift cards can be ordered in a few clicks.
If it’s an e-gift card, it can be sent instantly or scheduled for a specific date (Christmas or the company’s Christmas tree event).
Personalization is not neglected either. CSEs can choose a design, write a personalized message to each employee, send a dedicated email, and choose a different amount based on services, etc.
As for the habits of employee parents, they are increasingly connected, thanks to the HR and CSE platforms in place. They also have the habit of buying toys online, with a third of sales made on the internet.
And for parents and children who prefer physical stores, omnichannel gift cards offer the choice of spending online or in-store.
Marketing Strategies for Toy Brands on CSEs
Now that we’ve seen that gift cards are a reward for employees and their children that CSEs are increasingly choosing for Christmas, how can toy and children’s brands access these companies?
Opening Your Child’s Gift Card to Multidistribution
The very first point is to open up your gift card to distribution. This means offering your digital gift card to HR and CSE solutions like ProwebCE, HelloCE, etc. They are always looking for new offerings for their catalogs.
And toy and children’s brands are at the top of their target list since there is a high demand from their clients.
For distribution, you have two choices:
- List and get in touch with each distributor individually. This involves negotiating the commission (business model), accounting, marketing, communication, maintaining relationships, etc.
- Use an aggregator. An aggregator is a partner who can assist with contracts and negotiations. But the most interesting part is that they already have a network of distributors. It allows for a quick start and optimal penetration of companies, CSEs, HR. A network that grows every year without the brand needing to prospect on its own.
Launching Christmas Marketing Campaigns on CSE Platforms
Now that your gift card is featured on CSE and HR platforms’ catalogs, you need to stand out in the eyes of employees.
Most CSE solutions generally offer a marketing campaign section: featuring the gift card for a defined period, a banner displaying the brand’s universe, a common promotional campaign, etc.
During the holiday season, it’s relevant to coordinate multiple campaigns across various platforms simultaneously to maximize your chances of being chosen by employees and, ultimately, acquiring new parent-customers.
Launching a B2B Ordering Platform on Your Website
CSE platforms are usually chosen by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and some large companies. However, for very large companies (such as Airbus, Thales, etc.) with a dedicated employee service, they prefer to go directly through the brands.
As a result, a gift card ordering platform with features tailored for professionals (bulk purchase of multiple gift cards at once, invoicing/quotes) is an additional and welcome point of contact.
In addition to your B2C journey on your website, you open up a path for B2B. A service that will interest everyone not using CSE/HR solutions. It’s a way to cover 100% of the CSE market.
That being said, you need to work on the visibility of this B2B service as Christmas approaches. For example, you can launch campaigns on social media, especially LinkedIn and Facebook, targeting HR teams in companies.
And every year, don’t hesitate to reach out to companies that have already placed orders.
Bonus: Managing Toy Shortages at Christmas with Gift Cards
Last year, toy brands experienced a 10% increase in stock shortages, which translates to missed sales opportunities, especially during the holiday season when demand is high.
Today, brands are implementing email reminders as soon as a product becomes available or giving consumers the option to add it to their wishlist. These are good solutions but delay the sale, with the risk that the customer may not return.
This is where gift cards come into play. When a product is no longer available, children’s brands can offer the consumer the option to purchase a gift card of equivalent value. This results in an immediate sale, with the purchase of the product from the brand at a later date.
Gift cards multiply the points of contact with the target audience of CSE and HR in companies, whose final customers are employee-parents. Listing them in CSE/HR solution catalogs, opening a dedicated B2B ordering path, and launching targeted marketing campaigns as Christmas approaches are effective ways for toy and children’s brands to maximize their revenue while acquiring new parents.
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