Should You Give a Gift Card as a Business Gift?

The debate over holiday gifts has started, and the question is this: should you give a gift card to your employees, partners, and/or colleagues, or should you give a tangible item instead? The gift card’s stored value is a gift that’s similar to giving money to your employees. It is a gift that feels secure; however, does it create the gifting experience that your recipients crave and deserve?

Who Loves Gift Cards? 

When people are receiving gifts, more than 27 percent will get a gift card. This piece of plastic holds the promise of shopping to come, and for some people, the stored value of a gift card is truly valuable.

Who loves gift cards? Boomers enjoy them, as do those from the Midwest. Women are more likely to enjoy them than men. Overall, gift cards are a fairly safe bet. Only 3 percent of people rate them as their least preferred gift. However, sometimes a gift card is a little too safe, and it lacks a feeling of exclamation and enjoyment. Think of gift cards as the pancake brunch of the gifting world: tried, true, and sometimes a little too “inside the box.”

Gift Cards Lack Memorability 

While gift cards are classic and safe, they lack the wow factor and memorability of other gifts. They’re not noted for their unboxing, so there’s not a lot of lead up to the gift. Usually, they come inside a card or an envelope.

While gift cards are a classic employee gift and are appreciated for their ease and portability, they are not as memorable as a personal gift. According to the Knack Business Gift Satisfaction Report, “gift cards continue to be a safe choice for almost everyone, but they no longer generate the memorability that strengthens personal connections.”

Do Gift Cards Build Connections? 

Should you look to cash bonuses, gift cards, or tangible gifts for your employees this year? While employees might appreciate a cash bonus, according to Forbes, “cash rewards have the lowest impact and do little or nothing to improve employee satisfaction and performance.” Unfortunately, when they’re part of a holiday bonus, they’ll likely be used to pay off debt.

Gift cards often satisfy, but you’re not just looking for satisfied gift recipients. You want to create a connection with your gift, and to do this, you need to make your gift memorable. You can show your appreciation more tangibly through a personalized gift that comes with the right items at the right time and with a message that specifically connects you and the recipient with a story, a thought, or a statement of deep appreciation. That’s how you show your employee or client that you care.

How to Get Personal With Your Gifting Practices 

If you’re used to handing out gift cards or monetary bonuses, giving a tangible gift could feel like a challenge. You need to choose the right item for each recipient. Even if some of them are the same, you’ll want to personalize them with a note. You can take that step toward personalization by:

  • Remembering that people enjoy gifts that connect them to their home and family. Acknowledge your clients’ and employees’ lives outside of work by giving them something that promotes family togetherness and enjoyment.
  • Adding in one or two non-food items to the gift can increase its memorability by 30%. Remember to personalize your gift with those tangible items that your recipient will look at frequently. This boosts your connection every time they use the gift, even if it’s a year later.
  • Giving a thoughtful compliment or a connecting story. Use your gift to show them that they mean a lot to your business by adding a personal note.
  • Avoiding the generic business swag. This is not a personal gift; it is promotional material.
  • Adding a monogram or another type of personalization to your gift. This lets the recipients know that this gift was chosen specifically for them, and it feels special and meaningful.
  • Connecting through the senses. Another benefit of a tangible gift over a gift card is that you have the opportunity to make the unboxing and use of this gift into a sensory experience. Choose a smooth, luxurious-looking box, colorful tissue, or burlap and raffia, making the unboxing experience both anticipatory and memorable.

Are you ready to upgrade your business gifting and move from generic gifts to gifts that truly connect? Join Knack today and see how our gifts can improve your client and employee relationships, dedication, and inspiration.