. Research Finds Consumer-Reward Programs Enhance Business Performance | Northstar Meetings Group

Research Finds Consumer-Reward Programs Enhance Business Performance

Study finds 91 percent of program managers believe rewards make consumers feel valued.

Large majorities of those who oversee consumer-reward programs find them to provide both value and positive impact to a company's performance. Those were the findings of new research that was just released by payment-solutions company Blackhawk Network, which surveyed more than 1,000 managers of U.S. reward programs, asking them to provide insights into the impact of their rewards and benefits of the programs. Almost four out of five (79 percent) reported that rewards programs positively impact business performance, while 87 percent said that these programs were highly valued by customers.

"Our research showed that the companies surveyed that offer reward-based promotions report higher year-over-year revenue growth and average profit margin per customer compared to those that offer discounts," said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing at Blackhawk Network. She emphasized that while the value of these rewards programs has been long established, many companies overlook the measurable demand for consumer-reward programs. The report found that less than half (47 percent) of respondents actually offer reward programs to consumers.

"Today, rewards programs are easier to implement with fully digital, personalized and customizable options that can be simply managed and quickly delivered," McEndree noted.

As for which types of prepaid cards were preferred in consumer-reward programs, 68 percent of respondents declared a preference for open-loop cards that could be spent at a wide range of retailers, much like a credit card. This was particularly true for the retail and telecom industries. 

Digital rewards were viewed as being particularly impactful. When asked to name which specific awards they found to be impactful, 92 percent of respondents cited digital gift cards. These were followed by unique codes for online gift-card catalogs (90 percent), online gift-card catalogs where points can be exchanged for rewards (89 percent), digital open-loop prepaid cards (87 percent) and reward cards that can be added to mobile wallets (86 percent).