For the fifth time, NAPCO Research, in conjunction with Blackhawk Network, has undertaken a comprehensive review of the state of merchant gift card offerings. The 2022 review included an assessment of retailers’ e-commerce, mobile and in-store gift card offerings, providing a holistic view of consumer gift card purchase and recipient experience. The full report can be downloaded here.
This year’s report has expanded on its previous four versions by extending the assessment to a multinational audience, adding UK and Australian based merchants as well as US brands. This was done to better capture the total gift card market. A total of 200 retailers (100 US, 50 Australian, 50 UK) were assessed in the comprehensive multinational omnicommerce assessment, representing a wide range of product verticals. Each retailer had a physical store presence and a digital/e-commerce presence.
These 200 retailers were evaluated on over 175 criteria designed to assess expected and emerging capabilities for digital and physical gift card offerings through desktop/digital e-commerce, mobile website, mobile app and stores physical, with a focus on the customer and recipient experience, as well as the B-to-B bulk gift buyer experience.
What we found
The multinational average score for the 200 merchants assessed was 66%, indicating that while retailer gift card programs have strengths (which I will identify), there are also opportunities for improvement. Here is how this multinational average breaks down across the three markets assessed:
- Australia (69%)
- UK (66%)
- United States (64%)
In addition, here is a more detailed report of strengths and opportunities for merchants in each of the three markets:
- Strengths: Digital and mobile, including site search, customization options and payment options.
- Opportunities: Merchants can take their mobile efforts to the next level by engaging, marketing and selling to their best customers through an app. Only two of the Australian merchants had a mobile app.
- Strengths: The mobile buying and receiving experience. Merchants would be wise to double down on these perks, especially as more and more consumers choose to shop via their phone.
- Opportunities: Improve digital and in-store experiences, where each of their averages were below multinational averages for these criteria categories, including site search and gift card landing pages.
- Strengths: In-store performance, including well-stocked and tidy facilities and checkout counters.
- Opportunities: Digital and mobile shopping experiences were lacking, especially the checkout/post-purchase experience. Create an omnicommerce gift card program that delivers the same positive shopping experience regardless of channel.
Tips to Implement in Your Gift Card Program
As part of the multinational report, in addition to data on strengths and opportunities for merchants in each of the three countries across digital/e-commerce, in-store and mobile channels, there are tips for readers to help them optimize performance for each of these channels. Below is just one tip for each channel (there are many more in the report!):
- Digital/E-commerce: Make it easy to find your gift cards online – on your homepage, in the gifts section, and through search (including site search, organic and paid search).
- At the store: Add eye-catching signage to help customers locate gift card displays and drive impulse purchases.
- Mobile: Give your customers options to personalize physical and digital gift cards on your mobile app, not just on desktop. Allow customers to choose from a variety of faceplate options and include a personalized message (text and/or video).
This multinational report is the first in a series of items related to the evaluation of merchant omnicommerce gift card programs. Still to come are regional reports with specific scoring for each market assessed, including Australia, the UK and the US. Additionally, regional reports will include custom merchant ratings. However, be sure to check out the multinational report for more detailed scoring on geographies and channels, as well as tips for optimizing the gift card purchase and recipient experience.