Corporate Gift Cards

Build gift card sales through corporate partnerships

Partnering with local businesses to offer your gift cards as part of their employee incentive program is a great way to expand your gift card sales. Companies typically use prizes, cash rewards, trophies and other awards to recognize employees, customers and partners; however, they may not have thought to give a gift card instead.

Primary benefits of offering gift cards graph

Why gift cards are better than cash rewards for incentive programs

  • More discrete. People don’t feel awkward mentioning a gift card.
  • True gift perception. Gift cards are not viewed as compensation and are more likely to improve work performance.
  • Universal benefits. Gift cards are viewed as a gift and cash, and create a longer lasting impression than just cash.
  • Sharing opportunities. Gift cards are often shared with family and friends.
  • Guilt-free spending. Recipients will treat themselves with a gift card.
  • Long-term positive feelings toward your business.
  • Reinforce positive feelings toward the employer.

What to look for in a business partner

  • Companies that are experiencing sales and growth success and have more than 50 employees.
  • The more employees, the bigger the opportunity
  • Companies that already uses gift cards as tender for employee incentives, rewards and recognition
  • Companies that have an ongoing wellness, safety, attendance or team-building programs
  • Companies that are geographically located near one of your businesses

How companies use gift cards in their incentive programs

Recognize performance 70.2%
Sales incentives 48.6%
Non-sales recognition awards 30.4%
Sport rewards 30.4%
Business gifts 29.3%
Service awards 27.6%
Consumer promotions 14.9%
Safety awards 9.9%
Dealer incentives 9.4%
Wellness programs 6.6%
Start/maintain business relationship 6.1%
Other* 4.4%

*Other may include: surveys and research, new employee referrals, birthdays or holidays, anniversary, and tenure

Finding a business partner

  • Businesses that you have a relationship with
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Businesses that you may frequent as a customer
  • Purchase a mailing list from Experian or USPS
  • Google searches

How to get started

  1. Define volume discounts and/or tiers. Typically companies expect higher discounts for higher value cards or higher quantity purchases, for example:

    - 100-250 $xx cards = 10% discount
    - 251-500 $xx cards = 15% discount
    - 501-1000 $xx cards = 20% discount

    Also consider deeper “limited time only” or “commit for the year” offers
  2. Determine how you will contact target companies: direct mail, email, phone call (tip: mailing a gift card with a personal note explaining your intensions is a good way to kick off the conversation)
  3. Collect contact information of target buyers such as the head of operations, sales, marketing or human resources
    (tip: call sheet example provided)
  4. Research each potential partner per above criteria
  5. Write script and include benefits of partnering with you
    (tip: include messaging of your corporate programs on your website, newsletters, Facebook and other social media outlets)
  6. Coordinate direct mail piece and/or call contacts
  7. Follow up regularly to keep the partnership moving forward
  8. Consider making online ordering an option (Mercury can help you set up a website to sell physical gift cards or eGift cards)

Calling tips

  • Research each business to determine if they have an incentive or recognition program and if they are using gift cards as part of that program.
  • Find a common ground. Do you have a connection at that company? Are you a customer of theirs?

Do you support the same nonprofit or community group?

  • Develop a script that is conversational and memorize it so you sound prepared but not robotic.
  • Ignite some interest by sending prospects a gift card for their own use.
  • Make your calls early in the morning, if possible.
  • Be persistent. According to, 80 percent of new sales are made after the fifth contact, yet the majority of sales people give up after the second call.
  • Follow up with an email.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

Script tips

The following structure works well for an opening statement:

  1. Greeting and introduction
  2. Reference point (something about the prospect)
  3. Benefits of your product or service
  4. Transition to a question or dialogue

For example:

“Good morning, Ms. Marshall. This is Ken Brown with XYZ Restaurant. I read in the local paper that you recently started a wellness program for your employees. Congratulations!

Your team must be very excited. The reason I am calling is because our restaurant has a large selection of healthy menu options, and I thought you may be interested in using our gift cards as rewards and incentives as your employees reach various milestones in your wellness program. I’d like to ask a few questions to determine how we might work together.”

Prepare an outline for the rest of your call to include:

  • Discuss benefits of gift cards over cash and the benefits of your product or service.
  • Prepare for possible objections and your answers to them.
  • Ask for a face-to-face appointment, or close the deal depending on the conversation. Order information should include card quantity, card denomination, delivery date and location.

Why promote gift cards?

• 71% of gift card recipients spend over the gift card amount

• The average sale is 45% more than the value of the gift card

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