by Alex Palmer | May 09, 2017

Gift cards, rebates, and other forms of branded value products can make a tangible impact on customers' relationships with and loyalty to brands. These were some of the findings recently published by stored value and payments provider Blackhawk Network. The research, published in the e-book "Branded Value: Rewarding Experiences Driving Consumer Engagement and Spending," were based on a survey of more than 1,000 American consumers conducted in October of 2016 and found that branded-value rewards were effective at encouraging specific behaviors in shoppers.

Nine in 10 respondents said they would use a gift card or e-gift they received from a brand they had never tried before. Additionally, a majority of respondents (54 percent) said a gift card would motivate them to complete an online purchase, while 30 percent said the same of loyalty points, 28 percent about rebates, and 11 percent said they would be motivated by a mobile payment option. Just under half (47 percent) said gift cards would motivate them to make a purchase in store a product they had planned to purchase online (31 percent said the same about a rebate paid via prepaid card).

"In the past, shoppers might have believed what a brand told them from a commercial alone. Times have obviously changed," said Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk Network, in a statement. "But we believe brands are as powerful as ever -- the ways they connect with consumers have just evolved. Branded value is a perfect example: the act of paying cannot typically be circumvented in the shopping process, but it can be elevated."

She emphasized that brands can generate greater loyalty by finding ways to make their branded payment solutions actually make life easier and add tangible value to customers who use it.

"Our research confirmed that there is a powerful opportunity for marketers to provide branded value solutions that can solve a host of marketer pain points including cart abandonment, declining foot traffic, new customer acquisition, or faltering loyalty," she added. "Even older tools like coupons can be enriched and made more effective with relevant branded value products, targeting, and integrated contextual delivery."

The survey also found that use of branded value is robust. In the last year, 83 percent of consumers used a gift card (plastic or e-gift), 81 percent belong to a loyalty program, 42 percent used a reward received after submitting a rebate, and 36 percent regularly use a mobile or contactless payment option. 

Even better news: satisfaction levels with branded value are high as well. Of gift card users surveyed, 95 percent said they were satisfied and 70 percent very satisfied when receiving a gift card. Ninety-three percent of e-gift users said they are satisfied and 64 percent very satisfied when receiving an e-gift.