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The Ultimate Guide to Year-End Customer & Employee Rewards with Physical Gift Cards

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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As we approach the holiday season, rewards and gifts are a typical strategy used to show appreciation for employees and customers alike. These gifts are often given in the “spirit of the holiday season” but can also be a key business strategy to show appreciation, retain key customers, as well as reward high performing employees. Read on to learn more about the best physical gift cards for year-end rewards and how you can maximize these gifts with your employee and customer audiences.

Gift Cards for Employee Recognition

Employee recognition gift cards are specifically used to recognize high performing employees or employees who have gone above and beyond for the organization in some way. These types of rewards are great at a year-end awards ceremony or if awards are given out at a company holiday party.

Gift cards are a great way to drive employee recognition because:

  • Gift cards carry trophy value- providing lasting value and memorable experiences that stay with employees long after the balance is spent
  • Using physical cards allows high performers to walk away with a physical gift from the recognition ceremony which makes the material value tangible
  • Employee recognition with gift cards can drive motivation for non-high-performers to strive for recognition in the future

Gifting a restaurant gift card from establishments like Darden Restaurants, which provides a selection of eight diverse dining options, including Olive Garden and Seasons 52, offers recipients the freedom to choose where they would like to redeem their gift. By providing this element of choice, it ensures that the recipients will truly appreciate the reward and that it will continue to serve as a source of motivation well into the next year.

Gift Cards for Employee Appreciation

Employee appreciation rewards should apply to a whole group of employees, simply to show appreciation. At year-end this could be a holiday gift given to a whole department or even the whole company.

Physical gift cards are the perfect choice for employee appreciation rewards because:

  • Gift cards can scale in value to fit any budget
  • Using a card for a multi-purpose retailer like Barnes and Noble allows recipients to apply the balance for a variety of items, including gifts for others
  • Corporate gifting with physical gift cards allow employees to receive a tangible gift, giving the reward trophy value in addition to the value of the card

Employee appreciation gift cards are a great year-end gift that are easy to procure on-time, on-budget and are useful to any employee.

Gift Cards for Customer Appreciation

Just as expressing gratitude to employees at year-end is crucial, showing appreciation to customers during the holiday season can significantly bolster relationships for the upcoming year. Gift cards, known for their flexibility and scalability, emerge as an ideal choice for both businesses and recipients.

Year-End Gift Cards for Customers:

  • Empower Customer-Facing Employees: These gift cards empower employees who interact with customers to establish and reinforce connections with their client contacts.
  • Facilitate Transactions: By providing rewards or gifts precisely when many contracts and commitments are up for renewal, these gift cards can facilitate smoother transactions, benefiting all parties involved.
  • Are Impactful and Convenient: They offer a straightforward, user-friendly gifting option that carries more weight than traditional gifts like gift baskets or baked goods.

Customer appreciation initiatives may appear routine or outdated, but the impact of a well-executed customer appreciation campaign can resonate throughout the entire year, fostering long-lasting relationships.

Gift Cards for Customer Loyalty

When a customer uses your business exclusively, or is contracted with your business over a number of years, their loyalty holds incredible value to your business. It also means there is usually an established customer/vendor relationship that needs to be tended to. Customer loyalty rewards with physical gift cards are a compelling way to rise above traditional customer gifts at year-end. Ensuring that your most loyal customers are happy and feeling well cared for is key to ending the year on a high note.

Year-End Gift Cards for Customer Loyalty:

  • Strengthen Customer Bonds: These gift cards serve as a means to reinforce the bonds with your most loyal customers, who consistently choose your business or maintain enduring partnerships.
  • Bring Innovative Appreciation: Departing from conventional year-end customer gifts, offering physical gift cards as loyalty rewards is a distinctive and innovative approach to express gratitude.
  • Mark a Triumphant Conclusion: Prioritizing the contentment and well-being of your devoted customers is instrumental in wrapping up the year on a victorious and positive note.


Employee and customer rewards are both popular and easy ways to build relationships and loyalty with the two most important assets to your business. Physical gift cards bring flexibility, lasting value and a tangible material gift to these year-end rewards that ensure return on the initial investment well into the following year.


Learn more about how you can start using the Engage2Reward™ gift card ordering portal to fulfill your year-end rewards today!

Topics: Corporate Holiday Gifts, Holiday

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