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Most Retailers Fail to Capitalize on Sharp Increase in Consumer Demand for Digital Gift Cards, Finds New Research from Incisiv, Sponsored by GiftNow
[June 29, 2022]

Most Retailers Fail to Capitalize on Sharp Increase in Consumer Demand for Digital Gift Cards, Finds New Research from Incisiv, Sponsored by GiftNow


Incisiv announced today the release of its 2nd Annual digital maturity benchmark report, 2022 Gift Card Program Index, sponsored by GiftNow, a Synchrony solution. The report highlights 18 retailers out of 75 benchmarked that offer the most mature gift card program experiences for shoppers, as well as recommendations for retailers to improve digital gift card capabilities.

While some gift card programs have evolved in the past year, legacy technology has limited the ability of many retailers to gain a competitive advantage and deliver customer value. According to Incisiv's research, 67% of customers prefer instant gifting; however, only 12% of retailers currently offer gift card delivery via text message (SMS).

"The gift card industry is still outpacing the broader retail industry in terms of growth," said David Weinand, Incisiv's Chief Customer Officer. "However, to truly optimize gift card revenue, retailers need to look at the latest in gift card technology offerings. Personal and flexible are what consumers and businesses are looking for in gift card purchases, so retailers need to upgrade their offerings to win."

Additional key findings of the research include:

  • 52% of customers indicated they select retailer gift cards based on relevant online promotions, but only 33% of retailers promote gift cards on their homepage.
  • Only 16% of retailers surveyed offer the ability for shoppers to add gift cards to their mobile wallets.
  • Home improvement retailers have the most mature functional capabilities for gift card ordering and delivery, offering more flexible delivery options and expedited fulfillment capabilities.
  • 80% of shoppers prefer some form of gift card personalization, with 30% of shoppers willing to pay an additional $3 to personalize their gift cards.
  • 59% of employers prefer digital gift cards over other incentives to reward employees, indicating an opportunity for retailers to drive sales with corporate gifting programs.

"With consumer demand for digital gift cards increasing rapidly, retailers have a tremendous opportunity to grow their share of revenue by enhancing their program's experience, transparency and flexibility," said Pari Raccah, SVP and General Manager at GiftNow. "Retailers should assesstheir current gift card program technology to ensure they can meet consumers' expectations for a fun, personalized, and streamlined experience that stands out from the competition."



Benchmark Report Highlights

The Incisiv Gift Card Program Index research evaluated 75 retailers, highlighting 18 Digital Maturity Leaders within and across retail segments - apparel, department stores, home improvement and specialty retailers. The Leaders, including Belk, Best Buy, Ulta, and Williams Sonoma, are the benchmark for gift card program capabilities. Each offers differentiated capabilities and experiences and are functionally mature across most of the four assessment areas:


  • Research & Discovery: Visibility, link to gift card pages, reviews and details
  • Ordering & Fulfillment: Purchase process, payment options and fulfillment modes
  • Purchase Experience: Personalization and access to various categories of gift cards
  • Recipient Experience: Customer support and communication on redemption

Incisiv's David Weinand will present highlights from the research on a Retail Dive webinar, "2022 Gift Card Trends and Highlights," on July 21, 2022. He will be joined by GiftNow's John Grech, Benita Johnson of Home Chef, and Barbara Hagen of ThriftBooks. Register for the complimentary webinar here.

Click here to download the complete findings from Incisiv's 2022 Gift Card Program Index, compliments of GiftNow.

GiftNow is a holistic Gift Experience Management (GXM) solution that takes the friction out of gifting. With GiftNow's purpose-built GXM platform, gifters can send personalized digital gifts and gift cards in seconds and recipients can exchange or modify their items before they ship, benefiting gift givers, recipients, corporate gifting programs and retailers. For more information, please visit www.giftnow.com.

Survey Methodology

Incisiv conducts detailed assessments of global retailers' digital capabilities based on its proprietary benchmarking framework, which combines shopper and executive insights with experience audits. Incisiv's methodology considers the impact of specific digital capabilities on performance metrics that matter most, such as conversion, average order value (AOV), churn and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT). The index comprises the top apparel, department stores, home improvement and specialty retailers (by annual revenue) across four different segments. Each retailer's gift card capabilities and experience are assessed using an observational methodology.

About Incisiv

Incisiv is a next-generation industry insights firm that helps retailers and brands navigate digital disruption in their industry. Incisiv offers consumer industry executives responsible for digital transformation a trusted platform to share and learn in a non-competitive setting and the tools necessary to improve digital.

About Synchrony

Synchrony (NYSE: SYF) is a premier consumer financial services company. We deliver a wide range of specialized financing programs, as well as innovative consumer banking products, across key industries including digital, retail, home, auto, travel, health, and pet. Synchrony enables our partners to grow sales and loyalty with consumers. We are one of the largest issuers of private label credit cards in the United States; we also offer co-branded products, installment loans, and consumer financing products for small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as healthcare providers.

Synchrony is changing what's possible through our digital capabilities, deep industry expertise, actionable data insights, frictionless customer experience, and customized financing solutions.

For more information, visit www.synchrony.com and Twitter: @Synchrony


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