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Smartphones Drive Retail Sales

In the tenth edition of Forrester Research’s “State of Online Retailing” report, we learned something profound about how our shopping has evolved. For the first time, smartphones drive retail sales, surpassing computers and tablets in online shopping dollars. Not only have tablets fallen off as a sales driver, but they have also found a new, innovative home in a different corner of the retail cycle.

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The B2B Gift Card Market is Changing, Are You Keeping Up?

The B2B gift card market is ever changing, especially in the Business-to-Business or B2B sector of the market. The B2B sector, which includes third party gift cards, loyalty and incentive programs, corporate wellness and more, now stretches to make up a significant piece of the gift card market.

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Why Retailers Can’t Table Tablet Marketing

We have written about and highlighted articles on the topic of tablet eCommerce and why they are becoming significant to retail marketing strategies, mostly from the perspective of prompting more retailers and merchants to accept gift cards online. This past Fall, eMarketer Digital Intelligence predicted that by 2014, 1 in 3 customers would use a tablet to make their online purchases. Tablet users will increase, and 1/3 of them will purchase online, whether or not they have ever made online purchases before. But even more importantly, Forrester Research reported that the purchase conversion rate for shoppers using a traditional PC is 3% and 4% or 5% for shoppers using tablets. So, retailers could see an increased lift, simply by the consumers’ choice of online tools. That speaks to the need for retailers to capture those new tablet users as customers. Are you ready for this? If a gift card holder goes online to purchase with their shiny new tablet; will they be turned away by your website? Will they ever come back? That’s just 1 piece of the tablet pie. Now, tablets aren’t just in the laptop bag or on the desk …they are IN stores, provided by the store! If retailers offer this intriguing, cutting edge technology in stores, more consumers will be introduced to them and begin to feel comfortable with them, and perhaps become more likely to use their tablet at home to make online purchases…This is in-store marketing GENIUS! In the recent Retail TouchPoints article
5 Ways to Use Tablets For In-store Commerce, we see a plethora of customer friendly tablets are being used in-store by retailers and merchants. “Tablets are here to stay; retailers need to embrace them and strongly consider how they can be used in stores to enhance brand experiences and build brand loyalty.” “Though many retailers are adopting this in-store technology, they’re just starting to scratch the surface of its potential. There are many ways retailers can use tablets to transform the in-store experience.” Says Gary Lombardo, Multichannel, Mobile & Social Commerce Product Marketing Lead, Demandware in the
Retail TouchPoints article. We are excited about these technologies and how retailers and merchants will integrate their gift card programs with their online sales efforts. What other cool ways have you seen tablets used in stores?

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Helping Your Loyalty Rewards Participants Through Tough Times

The growing demand for receiving gift cards doesn’t stop at holiday wish lists and workplace incentives. The simplicity of gift self-selection and using gift cards to stock the household with needed items, are highly redeeming factors for giving or offering gift cards in today’s difficult economy. Loyalty rewards programs are looking at this demand seriously and we’re starting to see gift cards infusing points redemption programs for credit card rewards, airline miles and consumer loyalty programs. The reason for this is simple;
gift cards offer flexibility and help people pay for everyday items….why wouldn’t loyalty rewards programs offer them to engage customers? For the same reasons, cash back programs are on the most wanted list for rewards program participants. But people are also redeeming in droves for gift cards, above more traditional rewards like travel and merchandise. Each rewards points system offers varying redemption options, but offering gift cards should be considered a priority in a world where consumers demand choice and often thriftiness.
NerdWallet takes a look at  American Express’s rewards program and rates gift cards as the top popular choice, above travel rewards and all other options (listing many as “Bad Redemption Options”). Of course, this isn’t the only perspective for why you should offer gift cards as a redemption option in your program…but as the 22nd most valuable brand in the world, American Express’s rewards program is also one of the most successful rewards programs in the world. What’s in YOUR rewards program?

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