Blackhawk Network https://blackhawknetwork.com Optimizing Commerce And Engagement Through Branded Payment Solutions Tue, 12 Nov 2019 16:54:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Keg Steakhouse + Bar Partners with Blackhawk Network for Robust Gift Card eCommerce Solutions https://blackhawknetwork.com/keg-steakhouse-bar-partners-with-blackhawk-network/ Tue, 12 Nov 2019 15:37:25 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11756 Canadian-owned chain selects Blackhawk for its award-winning B2B and B2C eCommerce Solution TORONTO – November 12, 2019 – Branded payments provider Blackhawk Network Canada today announced that it has partnered with the Canadian-owned chain of steakhouse restaurants, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, to lead the chain’s digital gift card sales with its gift card ecommerce solution. Blackhawk’s end-to-end platform and managed services will help grow The Keg’s online sales of digital and physical […]

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Canadian-owned chain selects Blackhawk for its award-winning B2B and B2C eCommerce Solution

TORONTO – November 12, 2019 – Branded payments provider Blackhawk Network Canada today announced that it has partnered with the Canadian-owned chain of steakhouse restaurants, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, to lead the chain’s digital gift card sales with its gift card ecommerce solution. Blackhawk’s end-to-end platform and managed services will help grow The Keg’s online sales of digital and physical gifts to guests and businesses.  

Blackhawk’s CashStar technology platform and full-service support drives program sales growth and delivers scalable program operations and security and risk mitigation.  

“The Keg is continually looking at ways to elevate our guests’ experiences, and we needed a partner that could help us create a more streamlined digital gifting experience,” said Ryan Bullock, VP, Marketing The Keg Steakhouse + Bar. “We selected Blackhawk to lead our digital and B2B gift card program for its digital leadership and operational excellence. Our improved digital offerings will enable us to offer a complete, comprehensive gift card program, ultimately extending our reach and growing revenue.”  

The Keg tapped Blackhawk to create an enhanced overall consumer and B2B mobile and web buying experience for its customers. Blackhawk’s CashStar technology optimizes revenue and provides a seamless customer experience. The flexibility of the platform allows The Keg to bring real-time gifting capabilities to its guests in digital channels, across devices. The restaurant chain will also be able to engage guests and drive sales using fully automated gift card promotions, and benefit from Blackhawk’s customer care that supports communications management and issue resolution with coverage 365 days a year.  

“Blackhawk stands apart because of our focus on innovation, our industry-leading risk mitigation and our ability to collaborate with our clients to meet consumer demands,” said Steve Dekker, managing director, Canada and Latin America, Blackhawk Network. “Combine that with our flexible, reliable platforms, and we’re able to bring merchants like The Keg continued growth while delivering the high level of service their customers expect.”

About Blackhawk Network 

Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment programs to meet our partners’ business objectives. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. With a presence in over 26 countries, we reliably execute branded payment programs in over 100 countries worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments.

Blackhawk is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, please visit blackhawknetwork.com

About The Keg Steakhouse + Bar  

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar has been serving great steaks across Canada and the US for over 45 years. Quality has been a cornerstone of The Keg’s success since its first restaurant opened in Vancouver in 1971. The Keg’s focus has been, and continues to be, on providing exceptional service and quality food in a comfortable atmosphere for its guests. 

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Will Conversational Commerce Become the New Shopping Norm? https://blackhawknetwork.com/will-conversational-commerce-become-the-new-shopping-norm/ Thu, 07 Nov 2019 07:00:08 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11653 Ken Fenyo from Fuel x McKinsey presents trends and use cases in conversational commerce at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit Social interaction is fundamental to human behavior. Companies are finding new ways to use technology to have engaged interactions with consumers in their own homes. Conversational commerce is an automated technology, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that enables online shoppers and brands to interact with one […]

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Ken Fenyo from Fuel x McKinsey presents trends and use cases in conversational commerce at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit

Social interaction is fundamental to human behavior. Companies are finding new ways to use technology to have engaged interactions with consumers in their own homes. Conversational commerce is an automated technology, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that enables online shoppers and brands to interact with one another via voice and chat interfaces. It gives companies, brands and retailers the ability to engage time-strapped shoppers in a conversation rather than hope they tap a button. 

Conversational commerce is not hype. Today’s consumer expects immediate results through conversational customer service and around 80% of businesses claim to already use chatbots, the preferred mode of conversational commerce today, or plan to within the year.1 In addition, a growing number of shoppers today own one or more smart speakers. the total number of smart speakers in the US has jumped by 78 percent year-on-year to reach 118.5 million by December 2018.2 

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Smart speakers (known as digital assistants) such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are becoming the brain for a “smart home”. Consumers are most engaged in giving instructions to turn on the sprinklers, lock doors, preheat the oven, and do much more around the house. Increasingly, consumers are also beginning to use their smart speakers to build shopping baskets, track orders and find new products.  

Over time consumers will start outsourcing parts of their purchase decisions to these digital assistants which will present a threat and opportunity to retailers and etailers. With one in every five Gen Z consumers likely to use voice shopping at least monthly, according to Blackhawk research, marketers need to be ready to harness this platform and redefine their marketing and customer service strategies accordingly.3 

During the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit, Ken Fenyo, Consumer Markets Lead at Fuel x McKinsey, gave a master class in conversational commerce by outlining the many ways that this automated technology is enabling customer engagement and drawing on case studies that break down the strategies of organizations that are nailing it. To learn more, access Fenyo’s presentation, Conversational Commerce: Harnessing the Platform for True Engagement

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Blackhawk Network Study: Ditch the Holiday Party and the Turkey – Employees Want Gift Cards and Bonuses https://blackhawknetwork.com/employees-want-gift-cards-and-bonuses/ Mon, 04 Nov 2019 16:36:28 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11729 New research examines what employees most prefer (and expect) from their employers to close out 2019 Pleasanton, Calif. – November 4, 2019 – Ahead of a busy holiday and bonus season, many employers are searching for the right gift to reward employees that strikes the right balance of being both thoughtful and useful. New research1 […]

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New research examines what employees most prefer (and expect) from their employers to close out 2019

Pleasanton, Calif. November 4, 2019 – Ahead of a busy holiday and bonus season, many employers are searching for the right gift to reward employees that strikes the right balance of being both thoughtful and useful. New research1 found that of the top three most preferred and expected gifts this year, gift cards fall only slightly behind cash and check bonuses on the list, while prepaid reward cards fall in the highly preferred category—giving employers a great opportunity to surprise their team members with a gift they actually want this year.

Overall, for Gen Z and Younger Millennials (80%) and Younger Gen Xers (83%) surveyed, receiving holiday gift cards makes them feel more valued by their company. More than 60% of respondents cited the holiday gift as a factor that motivates them to stay with the organization, a big impact for companies looking to stay competitive in a changing employee landscape.

In fact, 80% of employees surveyed view gift cards from their employer as an opportunity to “treat themselves” during a busy holiday season. Sixty-eight percent see it as an opportunity to buy something a bit more expensive for themselves than they would normally purchase.

“These ‘treat yourself’ moments offer a big opportunity for employers to capture their employees’ attention,” said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing at Blackhawk Network. “Based on our research, we know that the holidays are the top occasion for employee incentives. Gifts make employees feel valued and that their organization cares about them. This is especially true for Gen Z and younger millennials.”

According to a recent study2, 91% of incentive managers surveyed reported satisfaction with their card reward programs, and it seems that employees agree. A 2017 study from the Incentive Research Foundation found that gift and prepaid cards as a reward tool outperform cash and bonuses.3 Researchers uncovered that employees view gift card rewards differently: all things being equal, employees in the study viewed gift and prepaid cards as a reward, where cash and bonuses started to become expected.

Other top findings from the holiday reward research include:

  • Cash is king, but gift cards reign supreme. Along with cash and check bonuses, gift cards are the preferred holiday gift, with more than 50% of respondents citing gift cards as their preferred gift this year because of their ease of use, convenience and the ability to buy items of their own choosing. Furthermore, 25% of respondents say that they use gift cards as a “regift” to others on their holiday list—a gift that saves your employees time and shopping. For some employees, the versatility of gift cards make them an ideal option for their own gifting choices.
  • Holiday parties no longer rule. The traditional holiday party may be running its course for a younger generation of workers. According to the study, 40% of respondents said that they expect their company to offer a holiday party as a reward for employees this year, however, only 2% list that as a preferred holiday gift from their company.
  • Bigger is better. While 73% of respondents are generally satisfied with any kind of holiday gift they receive from their employer, the overall value of a gift—including gift cards—impact the way employees feel towards their organization. Employees are most satisfied with their holiday gifts when they have high enough monetary value to be useful and when they are practical and relevant to the recipient. Sixty-two percent of respondents agree that high monetary value is the top driving of satisfaction with a holiday gift, but employers be warned—85% of employees believe that low monetary value on a gift card leads to high dissatisfaction.

Bottom line for employers? Don’t fall into the category of “worst gift” by giving things that are impractical or perceived as unthoughtful, like company merchandise, extra vacation days or food gifts that people won’t (or can’t) eat around the holidays—just a few of the complaints mentioned by those surveyed.

Blackhawk offers comprehensive rewards options via Hawk Incentives, including a la carte and personalized reward card ordering through OmniCard.com. At OmniCard.com, businesses can order OmniCard Max reward cards that feature more than 160 unrelated retail brands all on the same card. Max cards can be issued the same day they are ordered, personalized with recipients’ names, branded with a company’s logo and offer the perfect blend of thoughtfulness, choice and control for employers in deciding which brands are included on the cards.

To learn more about OmniCard’s extensive reward offerings, click here.

About Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment programs to meet our partners’ business objectives. We

collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. With a presence in over 26 countries, we reliably execute branded payment programs in over 100 countries worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments.

Blackhawk Network is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, please visit blackhawknetwork.com.

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1 The “Blackhawk Network Employee Holiday Incentives Study” consisted of an online survey conducted by Murphy Research on behalf of Blackhawk Network between August 14 and 23, 2019. The sample size of 1,500 was comprised of full-time U.S. employees who expect to receive a holiday incentive from their employers this year, all between the ages of 18–45.

2 The “Blackhawk Network Incentives Study” consisted of an online survey conducted by Murphy Research on behalf of Blackhawk Network between February 4 and 12, 2019. The sample size of 1,002 was comprised of U.S. reward program managers who have full or partial responsibility for purchasing rewards or managing incentive programs at companies that offer employee, customer or channel incentives.

3 “Conscious and Unconscious Reward Preference & Choice: A Biometric Experiment” was published by the Incentive Research Foundation in 2017.

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Earls Restaurant Group Delivers Guest-Focused Digital Gifting Experience with Blackhawk Network eCommerce Solution https://blackhawknetwork.com/earls-restaurant-group-blackhawk-network/ Tue, 29 Oct 2019 20:42:58 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11688 Canadian-owned restaurant group leverages Blackhawk’s CashStar technology to grow its gift card program PLEASANTON, Calif., Oct. 29, 2019 — Branded payments provider Blackhawk Network today announced that it has partnered with Canadian-owned, independent restaurant group, Earls Restaurants Ltd., to lead the group’s digital gift card sales with its CashStar B2C and B2B gift card ecommerce solution. Blackhawk’s end-to-end platform and managed services […]

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Canadian-owned restaurant group leverages Blackhawk’s CashStar technology to grow its gift card program

PLEASANTON, Calif., Oct. 29, 2019 — Branded payments provider Blackhawk Network today announced that it has partnered with Canadian-owned, independent restaurant group, Earls Restaurants Ltd., to lead the group’s digital gift card sales with its CashStar B2C and B2B gift card ecommerce solution. Blackhawk’s end-to-end platform and managed services will help grow Earls online sales of digital and physical gifts to guests and businesses.

With its continued focus on improving the guest experience at all touchpoints and 66 restaurants across Canada and the US, Earls sought to make the digital gifting experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible for its guests. Earls looked to Blackhawk to create an enhanced overall consumer and B2B mobile and web buying experience for its customers. Blackhawk’s CashStar platform optimizes revenue and provides a seamless customer experience through an easy-to-use checkout experience for guests and a sophisticated risk assessment solution that can help Earls complete more sales. The flexibility of the platform allows Earls to bring real-time gifting capabilities to its guests in digital channels across all devices.

Blackhawk’s CashStar technology platform and full-service support drives program sales growth and delivers scalable program operations and risk mitigation.

“At Earls, our commitment is to create the best customer experience possible both in and out of our restaurants,” said Kristin Vekteris, VP Brand + Marketing. “Partnering with Blackhawk’s expertise and superior platform, we are able to offer a best-in-class experience that is consistent with our brand across all channels.”

“Dining has consistently been one of the most popular gift card categories year after year, and Earls recognizes the important role gift cards play as part of its strategy to drive revenue and provide an excellent guest experience,” said Steve Dekker, managing director, Canada and Latin America, Blackhawk Network. “By taking advantage of our award-winning platform, Earls is better equipped to grow revenue through its gift card program and deliver on its commitment to putting the guest first via a more streamlined digital purchase experience.”

About Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment programs to meet our partners’ business objectives. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. With a presence in over 26 countries, we reliably execute branded payment programs in over 100 countries worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments.

Blackhawk is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, please visit blackhawknetwork.com.

About Earls Restaurant Group
Earls Restaurants Ltd. is a family-owned operation started by Leroy Earl (Bus) Fuller and his son Stan Fuller in 1982 with its first restaurant in Edmonton, Alberta. Earls has since grown to become one of the most successful, family-owned independent restaurant groups in North America with 66 locations across Canada (56) and the US (10). Stan Fuller still serves as CEO and the brand is headquartered in Vancouver. From humble beginnings as a laid-back burger and beer joint to today, Earls offers a casual yet sophisticated dining experience within its group of independently compelling restaurant locations. While each experience is tailored to the location, Earls is committed to providing a consciously sourced, diverse globally inspired menu from quality ingredients.

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Blackhawk Network BrandedPay Report Forecasts 7% Increase in Holiday Gift Card Spend; Expects Shoppers to Spend 35% of Holiday Gifting Budget on Gift Cards https://blackhawknetwork.com/brandedpay-report-forecasts-increase-gift-card-spend/ Tue, 29 Oct 2019 15:10:52 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11685 New report previews 2019 holiday shopping and gift card trends  PLEASANTON, Calif. – OCTOBER 29, 2019 –Today, global branded payments provider, Blackhawk Network, released its 2019 BrandedPay Holiday Shopping Preview report1. Based on responses from more than 3,000 consumers, the report projects shopper holiday gift card spend will increase 7% compared to 2018, with shoppers expected to spend about 35% of their total holiday gifting budget on gift cards. This is consistent with holiday wish lists, as gift cards […]

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New report previews 2019 holiday shopping and gift card trends 

PLEASANTON, Calif. – OCTOBER 29, 2019 –Today, global branded payments provider, Blackhawk Network, released its 2019 BrandedPay Holiday Shopping Preview report1. Based on responses from more than 3,000 consumers, the report projects shopper holiday gift card spend will increase 7% compared to 2018, with shoppers expected to spend about 35% of their total holiday gifting budget on gift cards. This is consistent with holiday wish lists, as gift cards are enjoying a more than decade-long reign as the most requested holiday gift in the annual survey by National Retail Federation (NRF)2. Shoppers surveyed plan to spend $618.93 on holiday gifts this year on average, a slight increase over 2018. These are among the findings of the report, which identifies trends from Blackhawk’s own U.S. sales data in addition to insights from the organization’s latest research examining consumer sentiments ahead of the holiday shopping season.  

“Our research projects another year of growth for holiday gift card sales, even with the overall holiday spend projected to remain fairly flat compared to 2018,” said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing, Blackhawk Network. “The research also showed a rise in interest from consumers to purchase digital gift cards this holiday season. As consumer demand for omnichannel innovations and alternative payments continues to increase, we anticipate gift card utility will also expand and contribute to sustained growth for the category this holiday and beyond.” 

The BrandedPay Holiday Shopping Preview report includes analysis of Blackhawk’s recent sales data combined with the findings of the organization’s latest research study. The following trends have been identified and look to fuel growth for the 2019 holiday shopping season:  

Consumer confidence is high heading into holidays 

Most consumers (63%) surveyed are confident in the economy with 32% of shoppers surveyed planning to spend more and 25% planning to expand their gift lists to include more people this holiday season. With strong consumer confidence, shoppers surveyed plan on purchasing gifts for eight people on average, estimating they will spend a total of $618.93 this year.  

Holiday shoppers’ love for gift cards continues to grow 

While overall holiday spending is expected to remain relatively flat with most consumers only anticipating a slight increase on overall gift spend, Blackhawk’s research found that 35% of holiday gifting budgets will be spent on gift cards. On average, shoppers expect to spend $213.49 on gift cards this year, a 7% increase over 2018 spending. Additionally, 76% of shoppers plan to buy at least one gift card or egift this holiday season, up from 72% in 2018. The forecasted growth in gift card interest is supported by new products like Blackhawk’s line of curated gift cards, Happy Cards®, and shoppers’ ability to explore new digital distribution channels.  

Gift cards can help alleviate top shopper pain points 

Blackhawk’s research found that many of the biggest frustrations for holiday shoppers this year can be avoided by giving gift cards. In addition to being the most requested gift by recipients for more than a decade, according to the NRF, purchasing gift cards in-store or online can help alleviate top pain points identified by shoppers surveyed, including dealing with crowds (33%), not knowing what to buy or buying the wrong gift (17%) and waiting in lines (13%).  

Dining gift cards will likely top holiday shopping lists again; digital gift cards continue to gain traction 

  • Most popular holiday gift cards by category: The five gift card categories that were best-selling among U.S. consumers in December 2018 based on Blackhawk’s sales data are: dining, open-loop (gift cards that can be used where the network is accepted), toys and electronics, entertainment, and home goods. 
  • Digital gift cards are closing the gap: Physical gift cards remain the first choice among consumers overall, but digital continues to gain traction. Thirty-three percent of shoppers plan to buy digital gift cards this year, up 18% over 2018. 
  • Most popular digital categories: The digital gift card categories that shoppers prefer most according to Blackhawk’s research are: online services, subscriptions or box gifts, prepaid cards and travel. 
  • Big spenders: The gift card categories that people tend to purchase in the highest denominations according to Blackhawk sales data include: Recreation and travel, open-loop (gift cards that can be used where the network is accepted), electronics and toys, entertainment, fashion and home goods.  

eCommerce growth continues 

After Blackhawk saw double digit growth in U.S. online holiday gift card sales last year and with new products and distribution channels in 2019, ecommerce is poised to continue its growth into this year’s shopping season. Blackhawk’s sales data projects: 

  • Top five fastest-growing gift card categories purchased online: The gift card categories (physical and digital) that are fastest growing based on year-over-year U.S. sales data are: grocery and convenience, entertainment and travel, health and beauty, home goods and furnishings and department and big box. 

About Blackhawk Network 

Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment programs to meet our partners’ business objectives. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. With a presence in over 26 countries, we reliably execute branded payment programs in over 100 countries worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments.  

Blackhawk is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, please visit blackhawknetwork.com

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1The “2019 BrandedPay Holiday Shopping Preview” Report is based on the findings in our “Pre-holiday Sentiment Study,” an internet-based survey conducted by Murphy Research on behalf of Blackhawk Network between August 2–9, 2019. The sample size included over 3,000 respondents ages 18+. Gift card category findings are based on 2017 and 2018 sales data from Blackhawk Network from over 50,000 merchant locations across the United States.

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Blackhawk Network Study: Employee Reward Programs Are a Must for Businesses Looking to Retain Top Talent in Today’s Ultra-Competitive Hiring Environment https://blackhawknetwork.com/employee-reward-programs-retain-top-talent/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 21:00:52 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11678 New research examined the latest employee reward trends, why these programs are used, how rewards are chosen and which rewards employees prefer Pleasanton, Calif. – October 16, 2019 – Employee reward programs are a must for today’s businesses competing to retain employees. New research1 revealed successfully-executed employee reward programs deepen employee engagement and loyalty. The research also found that most […]

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New research examined the latest employee reward trends, why these programs are used, how rewards are chosen and which rewards employees prefer

Pleasanton, Calif. – October 16, 2019 – Employee reward programs are a must for today’s businesses competing to retain employees. New research1 revealed successfully-executed employee reward programs deepen employee engagement and loyalty. The research also found that most employee reward program managers are satisfied with the program’s results, and that gift cards are the most popular reward in employee incentive programs aimed at increasing engagement and retention. These are key findings of new incentives research commissioned by branded payments provider Blackhawk Network that examined the latest employee reward program trends, why these programs are used, how rewards are chosen and which rewards employees prefer.

“The U.S. unemployment rate is less than four percent and businesses are operating in an employee market. Employees are being fought over as businesses clamor for the best and brightest—and they expect more from their employers. Companies looking to keep current employees happy are turning to employee reward programs,” said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing at Blackhawk Network. “People want to feel appreciated and valued, and businesses realize that rewarding employees goes a long way in boosting loyalty and engagement, reducing expensive turnover and encouraging employees to work harder. Our research confirms this strategy and provides insights into how to do this most effectively, including offering employees’ favorite rewards: gift cards.”

Blackhawk’s research found that the value of employee reward programs is well-known and that reward programs are must-haves for businesses competing for top talent. Of the businesses surveyed, 94 percent offer employee incentives and the majority are satisfied with them.

Other top findings from the incentives research include:

  • Employee reward programs are valuable. Of the employee reward program managers interviewed, 79 percent agree or strongly agree that the programs are important and impact business performance. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed also feel that the programs are highly valued by employees.
  • Employee reward programs drive engagement and loyalty. According to respondents, the main reasons employee reward programs are offered are to deepen engagement, build loyalty and 
  • Employee reward programs drive engagement and loyalty. According to respondents, the main reasons employee reward programs are offered are to deepen engagement, build loyalty and show employees they are valued and appreciated. Ninety-two percent of the respondents felt rewards create employee loyalty and 95 percent felt that rewards make employees feel valued. Additionally, 89 percent of survey respondents are very satisfied or satisfied with the impact their programs have on employee engagement; 84 percent are very satisfied or satisfied with the impact on employee retention.
  • Gift card rewards are potent employee favorites. Sixty-nine percent of employee respondents report feeling valued when receiving a gift card from their employer. They also report that gift cards feel like financial awards (69 percent), make them feel like their company cares about them (66 percent), increase their loyalty to their company (56 percent), motivate them to stay with their company (55 percent) and encourage them work harder (54 percent).
  • Rewards are selected using specific parameters. Of the businesses surveyed, 77 percent offer reward variety. When deciding which rewards to offer, respondents reported ease of use and convenience as key drivers. Keeping these parameters in mind, businesses reported prepaid cards as the most popular go-to reward choice, followed by plastic cards and checks.
  • Personalization is a missed opportunity. Fewer than one quarter of reward program managers surveyed use personalization options like putting their brand or brand name on a plastic or digital card—missing the opportunity to reinforce a positive employee interaction with their brand. Additionally, fewer than one in five surveyed take advantage of adding a thoughtful touch by including the recipients’ name on gift card rewards.

Blackhawk Network offers comprehensive rewards options via Hawk Incentives, including a la carte and personalized gift card ordering through OmniCard.com. At OmniCard.com, businesses can order OmniCard Max reward cards that feature more than 160 unrelated retail brands all on the same card. Max cards can be issued the same day they are ordered, personalized with recipients’ names, branded with a company’s logo and offer the perfect blend of choice and control for employers in deciding which brands are included on the cards.

Learn more about OmniCard’s extensive reward offerings.

1The “Blackhawk Network Incentives Study” consisted of an online survey conducted by Murphy Research on behalf of Blackhawk Network between February 4 and February 12, 2019. The sample size of 1,002 was comprised of U.S. reward program managers who have full or partial responsibility for purchasing rewards or managing incentive programs at companies that offer employee, customer or channel incentives. Industries included in the survey include health and wellness, travel, financial, retail and telecom. The “Gift Card State of the Union” study included a sample size of 3,389 respondents between the ages of 18 and 75.

About Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment programs to meet our partners’ business objectives. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. With a presence in over 26 countries, we reliably execute branded payment programs in over 100 countries worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments. Blackhawk Network is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, please visit blackhawknetwork.com.

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How are Emerging Technologies Reforming our Lives and Ushering in New Business Models? https://blackhawknetwork.com/emerging-technologies-reforming-our-lives-business-models/ Mon, 07 Oct 2019 19:39:57 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11668 Euromonitor explains how technology will transform commerce and consumer experiences by 2040 at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit Emerging technologies are redefining consumer experiences today at an unprecedented speed. A walk into the future through a presentation by Euromonitor at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit in San Antonio, Texas, gave us a glimpse into how these technologies are revolutionizing what it means to live, work, shop […]

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Euromonitor explains how technology will transform commerce and consumer experiences by 2040 at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit

Emerging technologies are redefining consumer experiences today at an unprecedented speed. A walk into the future through a presentation by Euromonitor at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit in San Antonio, Texas, gave us a glimpse into how these technologies are revolutionizing what it means to live, work, shop and play over the next 20 years.  

With the rise of digital commerce and delivery solutions, according to Euromonitor, retail space will be free of inventory that will be repurposed into micro-experiential centers where, as a shopper, you can have a feel of the products in a virtual context. It gets better: your shopping experience will be personalized by the use of facial recognition and automated checkouts. 

At home, Euromonitor predicts that your fridge will be able to order replenishment of food items automatically and, though begrudgingly, have it monitor your eating habits to keep your calorie intake in check! Your kids will have robots to keep them company when playdates are a hassle to plan and your appliances will have the ability to monitor energy consumption to keep your bills down.  

As emerging technologies continue to accelerate the rate of change, it is evident that current norms are soon to be outmoded. Euromonitor’s preview into the future highlighted that business models of today will find it hard to stay relevant tomorrow.  

Companies must continue to reinvent themselves so as to be able to stay in business, explained Michelle Evans, head of digital consumer at Euromonitor International. She also noted that outlets, homes and venues will require a technological upgrade and redesign to prepare for the consumer in 2040. 

Want to learn more about how technology is triggering the emergence of new business models and commerce avenues in the next 20 years? Download the Euromonitor presentation, Commerce 2040: Revolutionary Tech Will Boost Consumer Engagement, shared at our 2019 Summit.  

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Loyalty360 Shares Blackhawk Executive’s Insights on the State of Customer Loyalty https://blackhawknetwork.com/loyalty360-shares-blackhawk-executive-insights-customer-loyalty/ Wed, 25 Sep 2019 20:34:56 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11647 A leading resource for all things customer loyalty, Loyalty360, recently sat down with our own vice president of sales, Bill Warshauer, to gain a deeper understanding of the state of customer loyalty; the shift from physical to digital outlets; and just how vital data is for brands looking to increase ROI. Throughout the discussion, Bill […]

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A leading resource for all things customer loyalty, Loyalty360, recently sat down with our own vice president of sales, Bill Warshauer, to gain a deeper understanding of the state of customer loyalty; the shift from physical to digital outlets; and just how vital data is for brands looking to increase ROI.

Throughout the discussion, Bill shared the major challenges facing brands today and offered some insight into what they can do to address them:

  • How customer loyalty is shifting to incent. A lot of brands are looking to incent consistent behavior and engagement with their different constituencies and that drives the need for them to be rewarded and incented in a more frequent and timely manner.
  • Brands need to engage with customers where they are in real-time. An example of how to do this is by using a real-time tool, such as a digital, near-real-time catalogue of offerings to be leveraged and filtered based on the type of customer you’re looking to incent.
  • The physical to digital channel shift. The future is empowering participants with the opportunity to select and leverage a reward where they want to go and engage, whether it be through mobile wallets, in-app purchases, tap-to-pay or other digital tools.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a surprise-and-delight campaign. These engagement tactics are becoming a highly-used tool. It’s a low denomination reward that is providing value to loyal customers in their normal, day-to-day lives. Bill shared examples such as a free cup of coffee or donut on us as common and impactful ways to surprise and delight.

Bill also touched on the importance of data in making many of these ideas become a reality, including how data can aide in tracking timeliness, repeat visits and incremental spend that proves value and increases ROI.  

Click here to read the full article in Loyalty360.

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The State of Retail: Trends in Consumer, Retail and Payment Preferences https://blackhawknetwork.com/trends-in-consumer-retail-and-payment-preferences/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 15:40:14 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11637 New research from Blackhawk Network examines buying behavior and purchasing trends in-store and online PLEASANTON, Calif. – September 17, 2019 – Amid the rapid pace of transformation across the retail industry, new research1 from Blackhawk Network reveals how people want to shop, pay and engage with retailers today. Although digital growth in retail continues, traditional modes of […]

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New research from Blackhawk Network examines buying behavior and purchasing trends in-store and online

PLEASANTON, Calif. – September 17, 2019 – Amid the rapid pace of transformation across the retail industry, new research1 from Blackhawk Network reveals how people want to shop, pay and engage with retailers today. Although digital growth in retail continues, traditional modes of shopping and payments such as in-store purchasing and cash maintain a strong foothold in US retail consumer behavior. These are among the findings of the latest research commissioned by global branded payments provider Blackhawk Network.

“Transformation is occurring across retail in response to changing consumer preferences, advancements in technology and the evolution of payments,” said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing, Blackhawk Network. “Our research highlights areas of vast disruption. Brands that are thriving are those actively looking for ways to overcome new challenges by creating fresh, seamless experiences to engage customers across the channels they find most valuable. At Blackhawk, we are continually examining and embracing these changes in order to evolve and enable our partners to meet shifting consumer needs.”

Key trends currently shaping the retail industry according to Blackhawk’s latest research:

In-store shopping is alive and well. Despite widespread retail innovation and disruption, traditional brick-and-mortar retail shopping remains relevant.

  • Consumers are purchasing at retail stores as often, if not more often, than they did last year. Sixty-three percent of consumers surveyed are purchasing in-store as often as last year. Twenty-eight percent of consumers surveyed said they are using retail stores more frequently, compared to only nine percent of shoppers who report using retail stores less often.
  • Convenience and speed are top motivators. Seventy-six percent of consumers surveyed reported convenience as their top motivation for shopping in-store. Fifty-six percent cited speed of purchase as a top motivator.
  • In-store shopping provides the highest satisfaction out of all purchasing options. Ninety-two percent of shoppers surveyed report being somewhat or very satisfied with the in-store shopping experience, more than other purchasing options.
  • Brick-and-mortar stores have the greatest repeat use. Physical retail stores see a significant amount of repeat use, driven largely by the buying power of loyal, older generations. Eighty-two percent of boomers surveyed said they purchase from retail stores at least monthly.

Online purchasing growth trends. Brick-and-mortar still has a strong foothold in the market, but with the support and purchasing power of younger generations, digital and mobile shopping continue to grow.

  • Online shopping on a laptop or desktop computer with delivery selected is the second most frequently used shopping method. According to the research, nearly half (46 percent) of consumers surveyed currently use this method to shop at least monthly.
  • Consumers are utilizing multiple channels for online purchasing. Forty-nine percent of consumers surveyed purchase on a laptop or desktop computer at least monthly, and 41 percent purchase on their mobile phone.
  • Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to shop using their mobile phones. Eighty-one percent of Gen Zers and 83 percent of millennials surveyed have used a mobile purchasing option, compared to just 69 percent of Gen Xers and 43 percent of boomers.

Traditional payment methods still dominate. Payment option usage among those surveyed has remained steady, but how the payment options are being used is changing. For example, paying through a retailer’s app still requires a credit card or debit card, but it is uploaded to and used through the app.

  • Top payment methods among shoppers surveyed:
    • Credit card (52 percent)
    • Cash (43 percent)
    • Debit card (42 percent)
  • Digital gift cards continue to gain momentum. Physical gift cards are still preferred by in-store shoppers surveyed, but digital and physical gift card usage has evened out online. Eleven percent of shoppers surveyed report using digital gift cards as a top method of payment online, compared to 10 percent for physical gift cards.
  • There is growing interest in points-based payments, especially among younger generations surveyed. Twenty-nine percent report paying with points more often than they did last year. Additionally, 70 percent of consumers surveyed said they are somewhat or very interested in paying with points.

1Blackhawk Network Retail Trends and Transformations research includes two online surveys conducted by Murphy Research on behalf of Blackhawk Network between February 4 – 12, 2019. “Retail Trends and Transformations” included a sample size of 3,381 respondents between the ages of 18 and 75. “Gift Card State of the Union” included a sample size of 3,389 respondents between the ages of 18 and 75.

About Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment programs to meet our partners’ business objectives. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. With a presence in over 26 countries, we reliably execute branded payment programs in over 100 countries worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments.

Blackhawk is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, please visit blackhawknetwork.com.

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The Battle for Grocery in the Digital Age https://blackhawknetwork.com/the-battle-for-grocery-in-the-digital-age/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 20:04:17 +0000 https://blackhawknetwork.com/?p=11630 Publicis Sapient explores how the successful grocers of the future are transforming their market strategies at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit As shopper behavior continues to move toward new digital services, the battle for consumer wallet share in online grocery is growing fiercer. While only 5 percent of grocery transactions occur online today, growth in […]

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Publicis Sapient explores how the successful grocers of the future are transforming their market strategies at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit

As shopper behavior continues to move toward new digital services, the battle for consumer wallet share in online grocery is growing fiercer. While only 5 percent of grocery transactions occur online today, growth in online grocery sales is set to accelerate to more than 20 percent in just five years as the connected economy matures, to reach $100 billion by 2025.1 It is a battle no grocer can afford to lose so meeting the evolving expectations of consumers has become crucial.

Consumers are demanding faster and more complete experiences and have radically different ideas of “traditional grocery”, according to a presentation by Jon Reily, Vice President of Global Commerce Strategy Lead at Publicis Sapient, at the 2019 Blackhawk Network Summit in San Antonio, Texas. Reily explained that consumers’ changing preferences and rising need for convenience give them leverage in how they deal with grocers, and grocers need to put the mechanisms and channels in place to meet consumers’ needs, on consumers’ terms.

As demographics continue to shift and new consumer perceptions of traditional grocery develop, what has worked in the past will not work tomorrow especially. According to Reily, successful grocers of the future will be the ones who are revisit their core go-to market strategies, change how they compete and win in the digital age, and build a relationship with consumers early on.

Branded payments can help. Research shows that branded payments increase customer acquisition by 28 percent over discounts and that loyalty programs can drive 200 percent higher engagement with digital reward cards.2 Only a third of consumers have received gift cards as part of a promotion, leaving much room for marketers to maximize the benefits of this strategy in grocery and other traditional retail environments.3 To learn more about how the grocers of the future are expanding their digital footprint and ecommerce capabilities to respond to customer expectations while overcoming challenges, download Reily’s presentation, The Battle for Grocery: How Traditional Grocery can Compete and Win in the Digital Age.


1 “The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper study” includes a Food Marketing Institute online assessment survey by retailers and manufacturers on the FMI website from February to November 2017. The study is also supported by interviews with FMCG retail and manufacturing executives and used consumer information from Nielsen’s Digital Shopper Fundamentals survey, 2017.

2 The findings were derived from internal sales data from Blackhawk Network during 2018.

3 “Gift Card State of the Union” is an online survey conducted by Murphy Research on behalf of Blackhawk Network between February 4 and February 12, 2019. The sample size of 3,389 U.S. consumers was comprised of respondents between the ages of 18 and 75.

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