The Beginner's Guide to Bulk Gift Cards in 2021

Thomas Paris
July 15, 2021
The Beginner's Guide to Bulk Gift Cards in 2021

Organizations often present their employees with gift cards during birthdays, festivals or holiday celebrations, and on career milestones. There are a great deal of options when it comes to gifting employees, and because each has unique interests, tastes, and preferences, the gifting process can be daunting.

While being mindful to pick the right gift cards, organizations also need to consider their allocated budgets and brand identity — bulk gift cards are one way to save. And in this guide, we'll show you how you can create a personalized experience with a single card.

Bulk Gift Cards for Employees

Bulk gift cards allow organizations to source a large volume of gift cards while sticking to the allocated budget and theme. Organizations usually work with bulk gifting vendors or platforms that take care of procuring or producing, customizing, and delivering gifts to employees. A well-executed bulk gift card program builds trust, improves the employer-employee relationship, and elevates the employee experience.

The challenge with bulk gift cards is to pick options everyone would enjoy while keeping the program scalable and sustainable as the company grows. Here's what to consider as you plan your gift card program for 2021.

5 Questions to Simplify Your Bulk Gifting Process

Remember how we spoke about bulk gift cards being challenging? They don’t have to be. By answering these five questions, you can pick the right set of gift cards for your employees.

1. Who Are the Recipients?

Consider your employees’ needs, interests and tastes to know what they would enjoy. You can do so by devising surveys that indirectly uncover their gift preferences.

Your employee demographic and cultural backgrounds will also inform your gifting strategy.

2. What Is the Occasion?

Every event calls for a unique gift. Here is a list of occasions that are apt for bulk gifting:

  1. New employee onboarding
  2. Birthdays, weddings, or personal events
  3. Work anniversaries, promotions, etc.
  4. Festivals and holiday celebration
  5. Goal or project completion
  6. Retirement or farewell gifts
  7. Employee appreciation

3. How Do You Want To Make Your Employees Feel?

The emotions you are trying to invoke will primarily be determined by the occasion. For example, an onboarding kit or a holiday gift will instill a sense of belonging, whereas the career milestone gifts will make them feel valued and appreciated for their work.

Similarly, you can make work anniversary gifts memorable or surprise team members with a gift card to a spa or department store.

Based on the emotions you seek to invoke, you can divide your gifts into two categories, or gifts can be a combination of both these categories:

  1. Material gifts: These gifts are tangible items such as coffee mugs, wireless chargers, company swag, etc.
  2. Experiential gifts: These gifts revolve around life experiences. Gym memberships, meditation or mindfulness courses, or executive dining are examples of experiential gifts.

4. Should You Choose Novelty or Utility Gifts?

Novelty gifts act as mementos and serve as a reminder of an event or activity, whereas utility gifts have a practical use.

In most cases, the occasion will determine whether you choose novel or utility gifts. For example, an onboarding kit can have utility items such as stationery, a diary or journal, flash drives, cardholders, etc. On the other hand, a parting gift can be a novel souvenir such as a personalized gift basket.

5. How Can You Make It Memorable?

Adding a personal touch to your gifts will make it memorable for your employees. It’s a tad difficult to make your gifts special when you get them in bulk, but working with the right vendor could do the trick.

Handwritten notes, unique gift wrapping, personalized stickers, engraving, decals, or embroidery can help you add a personal touch without overshooting your budget.

Why Should Organizations Incorporate Gifting?

Gifts are given to show appreciation for someone, or sometimes as a ritual during holidays and festivals. Here are three specific ways organizations can improve employee relationships through gift-giving.

1. Express Gratitude to Your Employees

A team member appears grateful on a blue background

Gratitude shows appreciation and leaves a positive impact on both the giver and the recipient. Giving gift cards during onboarding, holidays, or special occasions is a wonderful way to express gratitude to your employees.

2. Improve Employee Experience

The implicit notion behind giving gifts is showing you care and spreading joy. Giving gift cards to your employees helps enhance the employee experience.

3. Recognize and Reward Your Employees

Gift cards can also be used as rewards. When employees meet their targets or perform exceptionally well, rewarding them with a gift card is a great way to recognize their contribution and keep them motivated.

3 Ethics of Gifting

There are no rigid rules when it comes to gifting. But there are a few cultural and ethical considerations for bulk gift cards.

1. It’s About the Recipient

Gifting isn’t about you — it’s about them. Get gifts that appeal to the interests and preferences of the recipient. Understanding the emotions you want to invoke will help you make the right choice.

2. Pick Appropriate Gifts for the Occasion

When buying bulk gift cards, make sure that they suit the occasion and reflect your company values and theme. For example, your gifting preferences would be different for different festivals. Understanding the values and cultural significance behind these festivals should guide you in the right direction.

3. Don’t Compromise on Quality

When buying in bulk, there's a risk of gifts not being of premium quality. Gifts are souvenirs, and they will be remembered long after you give them to your employees. Work with the right vendor to ensure that the gift quality isn’t compromised despite the quantity.

10 Bulk Gift Card Ideas To Help You Get Started

There are plenty of ideas when it comes to bulk gifting. If you are looking for inspiration, here are 10 easy bulk gift card themes to help you get started. You can customize these suggestions for the occasion.

1. Office Essentials

Colorful office supplies that employees can buy with a bulk gift card

The perfect gift card to welcome a new employee is an office essentials gift card that can be redeemed for stationery or digital devices like a pen drive or memory card.

2. Gadgets

A gadget gift card could include allowance for functional gadgets like power banks, Bluetooth earphones, fitness trackers, and so on. Employees have a much higher screen time since the shift to remote work, so adding thoughtful extras like blue light filter glasses or sit-stand desks to reduce eye strain is a great idea.

3. Travel Goodies

A travel gift card offers tremendous value to employees who travel frequently. This can be a hit if your organization has a work-from-anywhere policy. You can earmark this allowance to be redeemed for items such as bags, luggage, travel chargers, screen cleaners, portable chargers, travel mugs, and water bottles. The allowance could also include hand sanitizers and surface sprays since they’ve become travel essentials.

4. DIY Swag Bags

While most organizations provide swag bags to employees on various occasions, only a fraction of these gift items are actually used by employees. We recommend giving your employees a swag bag gift card that empowers them to choose gifts and company goodies they want to use everyday.

Swag bags can help you promote your brand while also giving employees something they can use and cherish as a souvenir of their time with you. You can offer redemption for common items such as laptop decals, tees, hoodies or pullovers, socks, water bottles, and coffee mugs.

5. Happy Hour Gifts

If you're hosting a party or celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or festival, the happy hour gift card goes well with all. You can get quite creative with your happy hour gift card. A few items to include are customized glasses, a cocktail kit, cocktail garnishes, and some bartending guides.

6. Experiential Gift Cards

Although experiential gift cards work well for any occasion, using them for birthdays, work anniversaries, or rewards can make employees feel appreciated. Experiential gifts are all about in-the-moment activities, and you can plan them for individuals or for teams.

Meditation retreats, spa sessions, recreational outdoor activities, and concerts are a few examples of experiential gift cards.

7. Online Subscriptions

Often, employees want to pick up an activity or hobby, but they need a nudge to start. Offering free subscriptions or gift cards can provide that much-needed motivation and help team members get started.

The subscription could be for health and fitness apps, gym memberships, personal care or wellness products, or streaming platforms.

8. Customized Gift Bags

Customized gift bags work well for employee rewards and recognition. You can segment your employees based on their interests and work with a gift vendor to put together customized gift bags for each interest. For instance, you can give portable speakers or headphones, or board or card games such as Mixtape to a music buff.

9. Sustainability-Focused Gift Cards

Sustainability focused gifts of reusable bags and straws

Sustainable gifts cut down waste and promote an eco-friendly lifestyle. These gifts reinforce the values your organization stands for.

Sustainability-focused gift cards could offer items as simple as reusable coffee cups and filters, copper water bottles, metal straws, or bamboo cutlery, or can get as comprehensive as assorted gift bags.

10. Gamified Learning Allowance

Employees often want to improve their skill sets and stay ahead of the curve. You can help them by offering gamified learning gift cards. Do this via a series of courses. Try gifting them one course at a time. They must successfully complete the course to unlock the next one.

Gamifying the learning experience helps organizations improve their training and development initiatives, and allows employees to meet their learning goals.

Improve the Bulk Gift Card Experience With Virtual Credit Cards

In many instances, selecting gifts in bulk isn’t feasible. The reason is simple: Gifts don’t come in a one-size-fits-all package. A better alternative to bulk gifting is virtual credit cards like Hoppier.

Hoppier cards can be personalized to your organizational context and employee needs. The massive vendor ecosystem, combined with end-to-end spending visibility, helps you craft unique experiences while staying within budget.

Here is how you use Hoppier virtual cards:

  1. Define the gifting experience you want and set a budget for the card.
A Hoppier open-ended bulk gift card
  1. Choose from a list of vendors based on the experience you want to provide. For instance, if you are throwing a birthday party, you can pick vendors that offer personalized birthday cakes and beverages. You can also include online stores to let employees choose the gift they want.
Vendors that employees can shop with using their Hoppier bulk gift card
  1. Empower your employees to donate to a charity of their choice or split their allowance.
Charities that employees can donate to with their Hoppier bulk gift card
  1. Set redemption deadlines to reclaim unused allowance.
Program start and end dates for a Hoppier bulk gift card

Hoppier helps organizations maximize their gifting ROI and create bespoke employee experiences.

Why Hoppier?

In addition to personalizing the bulk gifting experience for employees, here are three major benefits of Hoppier cards.

1. Autonomy Over Gifts

Hoppier empowers employees to design their own experience.

This autonomy reduces your workload and puts the power of decision-making in employees’ hands.

2. Convenience

Even while working with a third-party vendor, you must negotiate and handle the purchase, storage, and delivery.

Hoppier eliminates this process. You can allocate, disburse or deactivate the card whenever you want.

Similarly, employees can use their benefits right away or wait it out, making the whole process more convenient than traditional bulk gifting.

3. Eliminate the Paradox of Choice

Contrary to the popular notion, offering more options doesn’t always simplify the decision process. With Hoppier, you can limit spending to a handful of vendors in each category based on the occasion and the business.

How To Choose a Bulk Gifting Partner?

Now, regardless of whether you choose to go with traditional bulk gift cards or virtual credit cards, here are five considerations to keep in mind when evaluating a gifting partner.

1. Flexibility

Evaluate the flexibility of the gifting partner or platform in terms of dynamic requirements. The gifting partner should be able to meet your needs whether it’s just a handful of employees or an organization-wide program.

When it comes to digital cards, the platform must provide flexibility on budget allocation, assigning new cards, and deactivating cards in real-time.

2. Usability

The gifting platform should be simple to navigate. The last thing you need is to dedicate time and resources to explaining how employees can redeem their gift allowance. The user interface and experience should be well laid out. Whether it’s allocating a new card or checking total spending, all features should be easily accessible.

3. Customer Support

We recommend setting up a demo with your shortlisted gifting partners to understand how their interface works and the benefits. Ask about the ramp up time and their onboarding process.

4. Vendor Tie-Ups

Vendor partnerships are one of the most important factors when determining a gifting partner. If your employees work out of different locations or remotely, it's crucial to ensure that the listed vendors with your prospective gifting partner are accessible to all employees.

5. Reporting

The gifting platform should provide you with comprehensive analytics. You should be able to view and analyze your spending, redemption, and troubleshooting patterns. Knowing how your employees are using the platform and the vendors they prefer will help you plan your upcoming celebrations.

Where To Go From Here?

Bulk gifting requires a significant amount of planning. You need to understand the occasion, pick a gift, choose a vendor, collect samples, submit employee shipping details, place an order, and track packages post-shipping. Of course, bulk gift cards offer economies of scale, but they're also a lot of work and might not invoke the same kind of enthusiasm and emotions for all your employees.

Integrating virtual credit cards as a part of your bulk gifting program reduces stress, lets you manage your budget effectively, and provides autonomy to employees over their gifting experience. Set up a free demo to see if Hoppier fits your bulk gift card needs.

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