Do Merchandise Rewards Actually Work?

Use Merchandise Rewards to gain a competitive advantage.

In life, people mostly want what they can’t have. Whether that be a job, a person, money, food, or other desirable things usually beyond their reach. It’s a simple psychology.

If they can’t be the hero, then they want to wear merchandise their heroes wear. Likewise, if people dream of owning a Ferrari, then they usually want everything to have a Ferrari logo on it. Those companies that perform a systematic review and create a successful merchandise rewards program focus on putting the unobtainable within reach to build or renew brand loyalty.

Aptly used in business, merchandise rewards are most often used to gain a competitive advantage over the competition. Offering unique and desirable gifts to encourage repeat purchases and brand loyalty, structure your merchandise rewards program with the customer in mind.

We all know the best way to change behaviour is to create desire. And the best way to bring desire into a B2B setting is to create an incentive program based around tailored merchandise rewards.

Picture this:

At the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold full of wonderful tech and gadgets, offered through a branded incentive and loyalty program. But to get them, B2B stakeholders must traverse a road paved with the incentive requirements and other leaderboard criteria set out in your merchandise reward program design. Effectively communicating these points to your stakeholders will see them pushing your brand ahead of all others, and working harder than ever to sell your product. And they know that if they do this, they will be rewarded for being loyal and consistent evangelists for your brand.

We will now focus on how merchandise rewards work and how the team at 212F can help get your staff and stakeholders to that pot of gold!

Merchandise rewards – an overview

Whether your high performers are your staff, your customers or your channel partners, merchandise rewards are designed to increase customer spend and maintain loyalty over the long term. The merchandise on offer in the incentive program will depend on your budget, target audience demographic and overall campaign goals.

But over time, your reward program participants are kept informed of their progress and what they should do to get their reward. The key to a successful merchandise reward program is to keep participants constantly engaged and excited with regular communication about their progress. This will maintain momentum and keep people active in your incentive program longer.

If they can set their own reward goal even better! Now you know what they want out of your B2B loyalty program, and you can target communications and provide sales reps with messages to share with that individual on how they can achieve that dream reward.

Ideas for Merchandise Rewards

212F has great relationships with a number of merchandise suppliers who can provide anything from branded gift cards to home theatre systems, espresso coffee machines, experiences and anything personal that is always on the wish list, not the need list! Wearable tech, sporting equipment, or high end fashion have all proven to be highly successful rewards merchandise in the Australian and New Zealand market.

What is important is that you have some select merchandise that is unique and difficult to come by. This creates desire, which in turn creates growth. Driving growth through a merchandise incentive program is the strongest growth your business can have. This is because business growth built on customer engagement, customer experience, and brand loyalty leads to long term customer relationships, excellent word of mouth, and a strong following on social media

Apart from just the merchandise rewards on offer in the B2B loyalty catalogue, there is additional opportunities for merchandise to get the hook in before a point has been earned. If budget allows, including branded merchandise on registration, welcome pack or for surprise and detail campaigns offers the ability to have your branded in the hands of customers!

Here are some of our top branded merchandise ideas:

  1. USB drives – no one buys a flash drive. That’s because almost everyone has a draw full of branded ones. Flash drives are not a new idea. However, a branded flash drive full of exciting and engaging branded content is. Perhaps create a video of the launch, how to achieve and personal messages from your key stakeholders to directly to your customers.
  2. Phone chargers or battery packs – phones always die at the worst possible moment. Rewarding people with branded mobile phone chargers or battery packs will be much appreciated, and used long term, keeping your brand front of mind.
  3. Merch collection – depending on the target audience, creating a collection of branded merchandise apparel or gifts will keep your loyal customers engaging for a long time. If the program brand is sports base, offer participants sporting bias merchandise, encourage them to collect a full set of swimming accessories, including beach towel, cap, board shorts, sunglasses, and jackets. Whatever you decide, 212F can manage branded merchandise for you, and your participants will sell like crazy to collect the entire set.
  4. T-shirts and Apparel – brand loyalists love collecting branded t-shirts. However, printed t-shirts come in various colours and quality. If you want to make a memorable mark with your participants, then we recommend you allocate the marketing budget to use high quality t-shirt stock. Think of it as quid-pro-quo. If you spend the money on high quality merchandise, your stakeholders and customers will be even more happy to increase their share of wallet with your brand.

Important Elements of Merchandise Rewards

According to the Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance (IMRA) Small Business Most people in sales and marketing knows that it takes five times more effort to acquire new customers than it takes to retain your current customers? Using merchandise to reward your customers and channel partners is a great way of building perceived value in the form of highly desirable items.

  1. The first thing you will need to create is a reward catalogue of the merchandise on offer. Then high performers can choose the merchandise they want, and earn points by changing their behaviour to meet the reward criteria.
  2. Inject passion into your rewards program by offering high quality custom branded promotional products or apparel that create a desire to win mindset.
  3. Offering big brand-name products will earn you a lot of customer loyalty and respect, and design the whole system from start to finish – making it easy for your business.

Of course, there is always this question: Do promotional merchandise rewards actually work?

Do Merchandise Rewards Work?

Let’s look at the numbers.

82 per cent of small businesses reported improved morale and results with a Sales rewards program.

According to the Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance (IMRA) Market Study, 82 per cent of businesses reported improved morale with this type of reward program.

A total of 80 per cent said merchandise rewards are an effective way to motivate stakeholders.

And 61 per cent said merchandise rewards have proven to be more memorable than cash rewards

Additionally, 72 per cent said that they saw significant business growth in the past year thanks to merchandise rewards.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re thinking about customer gifts, corporate gifts, rewarding top performers or highlighting loyalty. A Merchandise Rewards Program will keep your customers close and your sales team even closer. So, paving your road to success with golden treats along the way could be the best way to grow your brand.

To learn more about merchandise rewards, feel free to get in touch with us today.

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