Prepaid is beginning to show it’s potential

Date: April 10, 2018
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General Manager, Debbie Rose, comments on the problems people come up against with other reward models:

The reward market is proliferated with many options which is great for choice. Giving audiences a choice, makes them feel like they’re in control and calling the shots. But too much choice can sometimes be overwhelming and even lead to them not making a decision at all, otherwise known as ‘choice fatigue’. So, in my opinion, it’s becoming increasingly important to support audiences with their choices.

Out of date

Paper vouchers are dated and I’m certain, soon will be no more. They are the poor relation to other reward choices often causing the recipient issues on redemption, which quite frankly, in an environment where speed and efficiency are key, can be disengaging for all. Gift cards are quicker but offer ‘compacted choice’ in that they can only be spent in that one shop.

Both these options require either building and maintaining relationships with retailers or using a third party to negotiate rates on your behalf. With high street shops going in and out of fashion much quicker these days, and consumers edging back towards supporting independent and local retailers again, keeping the retailer mix right is time consuming and therefore a costly exercise. And can you actually ever get the mix right for everyone? Buying a single voucher type is the best way to maximise commercials yes, but to what detriment? Giving out a reward that only highlights how little you know the rewardee and serves only to disappoint? Not to mention managing issues when retailers ‘go out of business’ as we have seen recently with Toys R Us and the past with retail giants such as Woolworths. What happens to the rewards already awarded? Suddenly they become useless and the sentiment of a reward is damaged.

Reward points are confined to the desktop, which isn’t supporting how the new generationals want to work with technology or agile enough for today’s pace of life. Again, they are redeemable against a relatively narrow catalogue, leaving some recipients disengaged as what they want, or need, is simply not available to them. Worse still is they are left to choose something, whether wanted or not, to ensure they don’t lose out on the points they have been awarded.

With technological advances and changes in consumer behaviours (not least the amount of choice on offer), an omnichannel approach is more important than ever. Consumers now search out the unique or niche and it’s near on impossible to scale this type of reward up to make it viable to offer to all.

Specialist organisations offer a great concierge service, especially for internal reward programmes, but there is no getting around the fact that some recipients don’t want to disclose their preferred reward item, or that they won’t know what they want until they see it on the main high street.

Where next then?

Prepaid offers the ultimate choice locally and globally, but channeled through one simple proposition. The retailing space has changed significantly in just a few years so offering your audience consistent, helpful and personalised offering across all channels is key. Prepaid allows you to deliver rewards both online and offline, ensuring you are meeting the recipients needs wherever they are.

To back this up, vital data (cleansed and anonymised to ensure all data protection regulations are adhered to) can be analysed to help organisations get under the skin of their audience. Understanding individuals’ behaviours in turn can have a huge impact on decision making for future promotions, recognition schemes, or goodwill programmes.

As well as a branded card with a generic purpose, cards can be designed to fit a certain purpose or initiative. For example, we are working with brands that want to offer a specific reward such as ‘enjoy a movie on us’ or ‘have a coffee on us’. We can use the branding of the card to deliver this business message without the need of buy-in from specific retailers.

Prepaid really is only just starting to realise its potential – there’s still so much more to come!