Last year was a banner year for GiftCards.com
. The Pittsburgh-based online gift card retailer saw annual growth of 44 percent overall and, in terms of its corporate division - OmniCard - the company saw 40-percent year-over-year growth in the U.S. and 25 percent in Canada.
The repeat purchase rate among OmniCard's corporate clients was 85 percent, a considerable increase from the year before, and an indication that more companies are dedicating more of their budgets toward incentives on an ongoing basis. In 2014, the average gift card reward value for corporate purchases made via OmniCard increased by 22 percent from from 2013.
The company attributes much of its growth in 2014 to growing digital and mobile demand from both consumers and companies. "Although e-gift card sales are still a small percent of the overall gift card market, the growth of this category is amazing," Mark Romanelli, executive vice president of product for GiftCards.com told Incentive
. " A lot of our clients have requested or inquired about a digital solution to their incentive programs for the most part because the reward is immediate, the cost is lower, and it's much easier to administer."
However, says Romanelli, most of the company's corporate clients prefer a mix of both digital and traditional plastic gift cards. "Many of the corporations that we work with have a disparate base of employees or customers and not all are technology minded or comfortable using an electronic payment," he noted. "For these participants, the reward can act as a disincentive and drive them away from the program. To solve for this, late last year we worked with our clients to create a product option call OmniCodes which allows the reward recipient to choose from hundreds of options and select if they wants a traditional gift card mailed to them, or an e-gift card immediately."
Another trend Romanelli noted was the growth of "all-in-one solutions." He said, " A great example of this are some of the companies who administer wellness programs for large corporations. The web applications they provide not only manage the employee's wellness goals but also tie into the company's finance platform, human resources system, and third-party party vendors for things like exercise programs or rewards."
Romanelli also said that the fastest growing industry segments in terms of the company's corporate client base included healthcare; insurance, real estate, property management (referral-based programs); solar energy; and distributors. "Enrollment and health incentives are the largest segments but employee and customer retention was very large as well in terms of the healthcare industry," he noted. "Solar energy companies are providing attractive rebates via gift cards as well as referrals for new customers. This was the biggest jump in sales for us from 2013 to 2014."