Choosing a Gift Card Supply Partner by Todd Tomlin

Do you already have, or would like to start an incentive, reward, loyalty or engagement program that provides program participants gift cards? Great! How then, do you source the supply of gift cards you need to fulfill the interests of your employees, customers or clients? Buy them in-person at a grocery store? That’s an option, but is it convenient, secure and scalable?

Depending on the size and needs of your program, there are a variety of gift card suppliers and technology platforms that have done the heavy lifting for you. While each have nuances, niche go-to-market strategies and areas of specialty, there are one (or more) that would fit your program needs with the ability to scale over time as your program evolves.

To pick a specific partner, you must evaluate aspects of the provider programs including technology, costs, breadth of available brands, currencies, country-specific offerings, contract terms, product availability, digital/physical gift cards, customization options and more.

Looking at the general need of your program, let’s explore some of your options. It is important to note that while specific companies are mentioned in each of these use cases, there is a huge cross-over between provider capabilities.

I Know how to administer/manage a reward, incentive, or engagement program, I just need a supply of digital gift cards.

If the supply of gift cards is all you need, then look no further than InComm, Blackhawk, Tillo, WeGift, Diggecard, eGifter, Voucerline Corporate, Rewards by GCOW, Epipoli, Amilon, Prezze, Merit, Cashwave, ePay, GoGift and Huuray.

Oh. That’s a lot of options, and that’s not even the half of them.

Many have origins specializing in a specific region or country, with ambitions to grow beyond those borders. Merit’s roots are in the Middle East, Cashwave historically focuses on Eastern Europe, GoGift and Huuray in Scandanavia, Prezze in Australia, Epipoli and Amilon in Italy, eGifter in the United States. This list goes on. All of these potential partners have broadened their catalogs but are very much rooted in their country of origin.

Most all of these will have an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing for the pull of digital gift card codes in real time alongside a web-based ordering portal for the gift card brands they offer, comprehensive reporting and more. Important to note that many of these partners may say they offer all of the gift card brands, but quite often they must get individual approval for your specific program and may not be able to secure all of the brands you want in your program due to brand-specific restrictions on various use cases and distribution channels.

I have no idea where to start. I need someone to help create my reward, incentive or loyalty program AND provide the gift card supply.

If you are looking for a broader partner beyond just the gift card supply, a company who has expertise in the motivational and engagement behavior of program participants along with the technology and gift card supply, then companies like O.C. Tanner, Tango Card, Virtual Incentives, Workhuman, xoxoday and many more may be a better option. Each with their own value propositions and intricacies, a deep dive into capabilities is needed before selecting your partner of choice.

An Outlier

A new entrant to gift card incentives for small to mid-size, in-person gift card rewards is CardNow. While U.S.-centric for now, what makes them unique is the ability to have a stock of plastic gift cards in an office. The gift cards are activated as needed using their app, which can also deliver digital gift cards.

Be Sure to Evaluate Before Selecting

The mentioned companies, along with so many others in the gift card supplier industry, are experts at what they do and at least one or more can meet the needs of your incentive, loyalty, rewards or engagement program. Be sure to evaluate no less than three companies when comparing your options to ensure you find the best fit for your program.

As Managing Director of Consummo Consulting, Todd Tomlin is a global expert on gift cards, stored value, branded currency and pre-paid products. He assists individual gift card brands and the supporting companies of the industry to maximize opportunity of the brand, product or service through go-to-market strategy, business development, operations management, strategic partnerships and more. He previously managed Hyatt, Cinemark and gift card programs and currently leads distribution partnerships for the Global Hotel Card Powered by Expedia, the Global Experiences Card Powered by Viator and works in business development for eGifter.


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