Virtual Gift Cards for Employees: Everything You Need To Know

Cassy Aite
May 29, 2024
Virtual Gift Cards for Employees: Everything You Need To Know

Gift cards are the easiest way to resolve employee gifting or shopping dilemmas. Beyond the greater convenience on your end, gift cards work just as well for employees, allowing them to purchase their gift of choice.

Buying the best virtual gift cards for employees allows you to put this into practice. You can show appreciation for your employees without making them feel less special than their coworkers. Plus, they can all enjoy amazing deals.

If you’re considering a new incentive program, milestone celebrations, employee appreciation gifts, or holiday gifts, use these helpful tips and gifting theme ideas to help you pick amazing, fun, and engaging virtual gift cards that your employees will actually use.

A Guide To Virtual Gift Cards for Employees

When buying virtual gift cards for employees, you work with vendors and platforms. Yet choosing the right one isn’t always easy. For a streamlined approach, choose vendors who offer the whole package, including procuring/producing, customizing, and delivering the cards to employees.

If you follow these steps correctly, you’ll improve your relationship with employees. If you follow them incorrectly, you'll find yourself dealing with a demotivated task force that doesn’t feel appreciated for their efforts.

Why Virtual Gift Cards for Employees Make the Perfect Gifts

You’re probably wondering why you should purchase virtual gift cards for employees rather than physical ones. Aside from the bonus of improved employee engagement and morale, digital gift cards for employees offer even more incentives for employers. Here are some that should pique your interest.

Inexpensive

E-gift cards are an inexpensive, customizable, and cost-effective gift option, especially for corporate gift card programs. You set the price, allowing you to adhere to your budget without issue while delivering a thoughtful gift your employees will love.

Another major benefit is that sending employee gift cards eliminates packaging and postal costs. You also don’t have to worry about shipping fee volatility, which is a common issue with plastic prepaid cards — both gift cards and debit cards.

Greater Control

Another significant advantage of virtual gift cards for employees as the employer or manager is you have total control. The best gift cards allow you to:

  • Set the denomination for each gift/reward card.
  • Take back any leftover money on any card after the expiration date.
  • Choose the vendors where employees can spend the money to follow a specific theme or initiative. (think: productivity, self-care, wellness, skill development)

These are notable benefits if you want employee gifts to serve a specific purpose. Remember to factor in your employees’ perspectives and needs when making decisions on gift card orders. After all, you’re the one trying to impress and appreciate your staff.

Mass Appeal

Finding high-quality physical gifts that please everyone can prove difficult, especially when you're on a budget. However, gift cards are as close as you can get to giving cold, hard cash, only with a bit of sentimentality and thought intertwined.

The only thing to keep in mind is to ensure the gift cards come with a level of flexibility that lets employees buy what they want instead of limiting them to a select few options. For instance, vendors like Uber Eats, Spotify, Deliveroo, or Drizly give employees a lot of options to choose from. Regardless of which vendors you choose, ensure your employees’ gift card purchases are something they’ll readily use online or in-store. They’ll appreciate the forethought.

Branded Customization

If your preferred vendor offers customization, you can buy virtual gift cards for employees adorned with company branding. Customization elevates otherwise boring gift cards and reinforces your brand. You select the color, add a logo, and send a personalized message — among other things — to make your employees feel special. The fact that your gift cards will have a pleasing aesthetic is just the proverbial icing on the cake.

5 Tips To Buy the Best Virtual Gift Cards for Employees

Wide-eyed woman holding a gift card

Gifting multiple employees with different personalities and tastes can be tricky, especially if this is your first time starting an employee rewards or incentive program. To avoid any missteps, here are a few handy tips to help you buy virtual bulk gift cards for employees easily.

1. Stick to Trustworthy Vendors and Employee Favorites

Don’t buy gift cards from shady vendors. Unreputable companies can fail to deliver even if you see the Visa or Mastercard logo, claims of no fees, or other reputed perks.

Only buy from reputable companies with professional, reliable-looking websites. Online auction sites, sketchy third parties, and other similar sources may sell you counterfeit or fraudulently obtained cards — and poof — there goes your money.  

Stick to employee favorites. Pay attention to where your employees like to shop, dine, or be entertained. You can always learn these through virtual happy hours or remote team-building activities. Once you have some insight, choosing the retailers, delivery services, and vendors that will resonate with your staff is that much easier.

Also, avoid imposing your choices on your employees. Just because you like seafood doesn’t mean everyone on your team would appreciate fish n’ chip shop takeaway. Respect their choices.

2. Give a Usable Amount

When giving virtual gift cards to employees, make sure your staff can redeem them without contributing to the purchase. You still want to stay on budget, but don’t turn a gift card into a partial payment.

Pick a virtual gift card for employees that is within your dollar limit while still being usable for the recipient. For instance, if you want to buy employee gifts below $20, Hoppier has partnerships with Starbucks and Dunkin’ for fresh morning coffee and snacks, as well as Amazon, Best Buy, Apple, and Target for WFH setups. Using Hoppier, you can easily send Starbucks gift cards in bulk or Walmart bulk gift cards.

3. Prioritize Employee Convenience

Virtual gift cards should be redeemable locally or online. If you're unsure where employees can redeem their cards, check the locations on the store's website or call the helpline number. Be sure you do your research before purchasing to avoid any headaches.

If you’re unsure how far the recipient is willing to travel or if the exact location is unknown, select Visa gift cards that your staff can use anywhere — in person or online.

4. Consider the Delivery Method

Modern companies offer flexible delivery options for virtual gift cards. Email, Facebook, and text messages are some of the most convenient methods, but employees may have other preferences.

The easiest solution is to ask. Hold a vote and go with the most-chosen delivery method.

5. Avoid Restrictions

Ensure the virtual gift cards for employees have clearly disclosed fees and expiration dates to ensure everyone has access to all available funds for as long as possible. If you give gift cards with restrictions, always add a note so employees understand the limitations.

Alternatively, you can use Hoppier’s digital smart digital Visa cards, which don’t have expiration dates and work in 60+ countries. Choose the allowance for each employee, and if any unspent money remains, it’ll be refunded to you.

10 Amazing Ideas for Virtual Gift Cards for Employees

Wall of gift cards

Employee gifting doesn’t have to be boring. If you’re looking for inspiration, these virtual gift card themes can get your creativity rolling. Let’s get started!

1. Office Supplies

Welcome your new employees with an office supplies gift card that gives them the funds to buy their favorite office essentials. This can include something practical like stationery or digital devices like a tablet. It may also include niceties that improve the home office, like potted plants or digital photo frames. Your current employees will also enjoy refreshing their office essentials or buying something from their wish list.

2. Health and Wellness

Show your employees you care about their well-being by giving them gift cards to virtual health and wellness classes. Opt for popular fitness programs like yoga or online exercise sessions, or get creative by having employees sign up for a healthy eating class. These classes can teach them the importance of proper nutrition and meal prep when working from home.

3. Electronic Gadgets

Before you see dollar signs flashing in front of your eyes, hear us out. When we say gadgets, we don’t mean the latest MacBook or Galaxy tablet.

We’re talking about inexpensive, functional gadgets like Bluetooth keyboards or earphones, power banks, fitness trackers, and blue light filter glasses. These are particularly useful for remote teams who appreciate handy gadgets to make their WFH life easier.

4. DIY Swag Bags

Employees have a love-hate relationship with swag bags, and rightfully so. What is a person supposed to do with yet another key chain? However, you can display your company’s logo and promote your business in other ways.

The best swag bags are customizable and DIY. Give your employees a swag bag gift card that lets them choose gifts and goodies they like. This will not only help promote your brand but also give your team members something they can use and cherish as a souvenir of their time with you.

Hoodies or pullovers, water bottles, socks, laptop decals, and coffee mugs are some of the best swag items that your employees will appreciate.

5. Online Subscriptions

If there’s one virtual gift card for employees you can never go wrong with, it’s online subscriptions. Offer free subscriptions to employees for gym memberships, personal care, or wellness apps. You can also consider subscriptions to streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime for some after-work entertainment.

6. Happy Hour Celebrations

Help your employees let loose with a happy hour virtual gift card. In addition to gift cards to popular pubs and bars, consider giving them DIYs. Items can include a cocktail kit, customized glasses, garnishes, and drink ideas — the ideal recipe for a relaxing, engaging happy hour

7. Travel Goodies

If you have employees who travel frequently for work, consider giving them a travel gift card for essential items. This can also be an excellent idea if you have a work-from-anywhere policy and need to provide a stipend or meal allowance.

Set an allowance redeemable for travel-related items like luggage, portable chargers, bags, screen cleaners, neck pillows, or food. Any little item that makes their travel easier is always a blessing.

8. Learning Allowance

LinkedIn’s 2024 Workplace Learning Report found that 80% of employees would stay with the company longer if it invested in their careers. As such, a learning allowance is a win-win gift.

Give your employees e-learning gift cards to help them improve their skills and thrive professionally. You could either gift them one course at a time or hand over a lump sum and let them set their learning goals.

Hoppier partners with world-class professional learning platforms like Udacity, Udemy, and Skillshare to give your staff the skills to improve in the workplace.

9. Customized Gift Bags

If you’re looking to buy virtual gift cards for employees as a part of an employee recognition program, we recommend segmenting your workforce based on their interests.

Team up with the virtual card vendor to put together customized gift cards for a specific test. For example, baking enthusiasts can select vendors that offer a baking masterclass or baking accessories.

This virtual gift card for employees would be more suitable for larger teams. You’ll also need to confirm with the gift card vendor if they would be on board with customizing virtual credit cards in small bulk amounts.

10. Experiential Gift Cards

Experiential gift cards focus on in-the-moment activities you can plan for individual employees or team members.

These can be virtual cards for relaxing spa sessions, meditation retreats, fun concerts, or recreational activities. You can consider virtual equivalents like a live stand-up show or an online physical development class, even if you have a remote or hybrid team.

Before finalizing the items for experiential gift cards, talk to your employees for their opinions. This will help you ensure everyone is on board with the chosen idea.

Make Virtual Gift Cards for Employees Easy and Hassle-Free With Hoppier

We’ve already discussed why giving virtual gift cards is an excellent idea. But if you want to make your experience even better, choose Hoppier. Hoppier partners with over 10,000 vendors, including some of the most popular companies for remote workers:

  • Starbucks
  • Deliveroo
  • Uber Eats
  • Drizly
  • Spotify
  • Instacart
  • Rappi
Hoppier virtual gift card

Once you find the perfect gift card amount and theme, customize gift cards to your liking. Set the allowance limit, select the vendors, stylize the card. With Hoppier, you can integrate virtual Visa smart cards as a part of your bulk gifting program and manage your budget effectively while defining the gifting experience. Sign up for a free demo today to see it in action.

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