Cash is king in the reward and incentive business. Crisp bills were eventually outpaced by checks, which have since been surpassed by physical prepaid cards. Today, digital rewards rule, and if you’re still handing out cash, checks or physical cards, you’re behind the curve.
Here are the top five reasons why more and more companies are going digital for prepaid incentives and disbursements.
#1: Online and mobile shopping are on the rise.
Online shopping has become a way of life and continues to gain popularity. It is estimated that 51% of Americans prefer to shop online. In fact, Q1 2017 was the first ever non-holiday quarter to exceed $100 billion in retail ecommerce spending — followed by an increase of 4.8% in Q2 2017. Retail ecommerce now accounts for nearly 1 in every 5 discretionary dollars spent by consumers.* With the virtual world playing such an important part in our “real” lives, digital programs seamlessly fit into your participants’ day-to-day.
#2: Digital delivers a natural brand extension and supports customized messaging.
When you go digital, the payment part of your program is so much more than a simple transaction. With redemption websites participants are encouraged to repeatedly visit to check balances and spend history, and email touchpoints that deliver your individually tailored messages, digital solutions maximize branding opportunities and boost stickiness throughout the payment cycle.
#3: Digital boosts participant engagement with immediacy.
We live in a noisy world, and prepaid reward recipients have short attention spans. One of the primary advantages of digital products is the ability to tie desired actions to an immediate reward. Digital payments deliver instant gratification with funds that can be spent immediately, saved for later or added to mobile apps. This leads to more loyal customers, more grateful employees and more enthusiastic partners and prospects.
#4: Digital makes global delivery easy.
Sending physical rewards to participants across the globe can be costly, time-consuming, and depending on the destination, a bit tricky. Digital programs eliminate these headaches. Digital payment emails provide rewards instantly and can be sent to any email address regardless of the participant’s location. Virtual cards can easily and immediately be used at hundreds of online merchants no matter the cardholder’s latitude and longitude. And, with digital programs, physical cards are only sent after sophisticated global address validation checks are applied by the digital payment platform.
#5: Digital offers greater return on investment.
Shifting to digital has been a successful formula for many companies. By subtracting plastic and postage costs of traditional card programs and adding the immediate rewards of digital, more and more of our clients are winning big. One such company experienced a 15 percent increase in sales with a digital rebate program, and is now looking to expand into new markets and convert its channel programs as well.
Meet the digital demand with Swift
Swift offers several digital options designed to enhance your prepaid program, including our Digital Choice product that allows end-users to choose between a physical or virtual card. All our digital solutions come with customization options for your emails and redemption site that optimize your branding — from logos and images, to custom URLs and variable messaging. And, our digital delivery cuts fulfillment timeframes significantly with rewards served up instantly via email and backed by a secure platform.
Going global? Swift makes global programs a breeze with issuance in more than 9 currencies and 160 countries, and end-user platforms and collateral in 17 languages. You can be confident that program participants will understand the reason for their payment and who sent it — whether they are in the U.S. or around the world.
Still not convinced? Here’s some compelling evidence. In a study of a Fortune 500 company's large incentive program, participant behavior indicates a strong preference for virtual spend. Even when a physical prepaid card is issued, the percentage of reward dollars — approximately 85% — spent at online merchants, through mobile apps or at retailers with both a physical and online presence is significant. If cardholders are voting with their spend, digital payments and virtual transactions are the clear winners. Now's the time to make digital payments part of your program's success strategy.**
Ready to go digital? Or looking to expand your current digital program?
* Sources: BigCommerce, Ecommerce Trends: 147 Stats Revealing How Modern Customers Shop in 2017: https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/ecommerce-trends; U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau News: https://www2.census.gov/retail/releases/historical/ecomm/17q2.pdf comScore, State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy in Q1 2017: https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2017/State-of-the-US-Online-Retail-Economy-in-Q1-2017
** Source derived from internal Swift data (not publicly available).