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5 Branded Currency Predictions for 2019 (archived)

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

(archived post. View original)



1.Self-use will continue to rise in new and unexpected ways.

There are a number of reasons why self-use is a growing trend. The secondary market and ability for consumers to purchases gift cards at a discount through promotions paved the way to help shift views from simply gifting to other uses. The rise of subscription services such as Butcherbox, Rent the Runway, and Homechef have shown that consumers are comfortable committing their budgets to brands rather than goods month-to-month. In 2019, growing brands such as direct to consumer and e-commerce first merchants will take try new ways to sway consumers to include their brand into their budgets to blend these trends.


2.Premium packaging will be the standard and share-ability will be the goal

When it comes to key gifting times such as holidays, birthdays, and special occasions, consumers want to receive gift cards, and gifters want to make sure the experience is as memorable as it can be. Offering premium packaging at multiple touch points such as an up-sell option online or in the third party space will help brands stand out from the crowd. By increasing the uniqueness of the packaging, brands increase their share-ability taking what used to simply be a small billboard in the consumer’s wallet and turning it into an opportunity for consumers to share their brand experience with all of their followers.


3.Merchants will define what branded currency means for them (and shift as needed).

One of the best things about a gift card program is its flexibility and customization so each brand can use it to meet their own unique goals—that’s why we prefer the term branded currency. It used to be that merchants would spend time focusing on developing a gift card program for just that, gifting. But even merchants with brand new programs are testing out using gift cards in new ways. Thanks to the flexibility, customization, and ease of use that many processors and digital card services offer we’ll see brands using gift cards to focus on their unique goals such as customer retention or increased spend.


4. Technology will continue to drive gifting, purchasing, and transaction innovation.

It used to be that the only options available to consumers was to either buy product or a gift card. Now there are many different ways that customers can select the perfect gift through innovations such as the giftNow buttons seen on many major retail websites and group gifting option like that capability provided through eGifter. Prepaid technology is being used by Jifiti to transform POS consumer financing. Additionally, for day-to-day purchases, ibotta lets consumers earn cashback and cashout when they want. And new technology like Marqeta’s Just In Time Funding gives merchants a whole new level of control for authorizing purchases.


5.B2B will become more niche and rooted in strategy.

While it may seem that B2B sales are become more streamlined due to recent acquisitions, that just means that there is increased rooms for merchants to get creative for new opportunities. Co-branded collaborations and new perspectives aside from the traditional retail and incentive spaces will be essential for program managers to grow their B2B sales.


Bonus: Industry connections and increased education will be more valuable than ever.

With as fast as technology and trends continue to grow and change, it’s essential that gift card, loyalty, sales, and marketing managers continue to connect and learn about the resources and opportunities available. Attending conferences like Flourish Conference is one of the easiest ways to learn from experts in the space and make the connections needed so your branded currency program can grow.

Learn more about Flourish Conference 2019.

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