Merchandise Rewards with Meaning

Merchandise Rewards

For years we’ve understood that tangible merchandise rewards are the most effective method to motivate employee performance improvement, and the latest Trend report from The Incentive Research Foundation confirms it yet again. This is the fifth straight year that the rewards and recognition market has shown 20-30% growth in experience-related rewards including merchandise – and the more meaningful the merchandise reward, the more effective.

Not only are program administrators focused on offering rewards better matched for their program participants, but they’re looking for a deeper meaning and better reason for selecting a product. In keeping with the trend for a more meaningful reward experience, it’s now clear that the presentation experience is almost as important as the reward itself. This makes it even more important to partner with an experienced firm within the incentive, rewards & recognition marketplace to provide appropriate merchandise selections. They will fully understand the importance of customization and personalization, and the need for timely fulfillment to ensure that the delivery experience is as promised.

Brand Names Matter

Electronics continue to be the most popular award category, followed by sunglasses and apparel. Brand names are especially important because they provide a higher perceived value for the employee. It might be hard to guess the value of a generic suitcase, while the value of Tumi luggage is easily verifiable. It is difficult to determine the value of a generic pair of sunglasses, but Maui Jim is a recognized premium brand with associated value. Maui Jim is also a great example of a brand within our marketplace that understands the need for an immersive redemption experience. Maui Jim offers a “try-on” program where they will bring a selection of sunglasses to your event location. Recipients try on various styles, choose their sunglasses and can “wear” their reward immediately.


Program Design Matters

High on the list of things that motivate employees are properly designed reward & recognition programs. Of course, the objective of any performance improvement program is to fully engage the audience and reward them for achieving their objectives. One of the biggest challenges that program administrators face is structuring an effective program. Incentive Professionals can provide guidance in designing effective programs, updating them to keep them fresh, and gathering participant feedback to measure the results.

Although companies are increasingly choosing brand name merchandise as the reward vehicle for their sales incentive and recognition programs, few administrators fully understand the regulations and tax implications regarding non-cash rewards. A certified, experienced Incentive Professional can advise you. The IRF offers additional information in their U.S. Federal Regulations and Non-Cash Awards study.

Over the past several decades, non-cash rewards used by U.S. companies continues to increase. The Incentive Federation estimates that in today’s marketplace, over 80% of U.S. companies are using non-cash rewards to motivate their workforces to achieve greater results. This increase is attributed to an increased focus on employee engagement and technology that enables simpler program design and execution as well as better return on investment calculations. Choosing brand-name merchandise awards that are appropriate to your brand will better engage your participant audience and will ensure that your program will achieve the desired results!





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