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How Payments, Gift Card Programs are Helping Brands Solve Challenges

These are the 3 key priorities to consider as we head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
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Over the last two years, brands quickly learned how to stay nimble, be flexible and pivot on a dime. But with continued global labor shortages, inflation and murmurs of a recession, the remainder of the year looks like it will continue to bring new hurdles for many organizations.

In addition to trying to anticipate and navigate these new challenges, restaurants are also being driven to prioritize changes that address the shopping habits and preferences that consumers developed that have now been solidified. When done right, payments and gift card programs have proven to offer impactful solutions but implementing and maintaining successful programs is a challenge in itself.

Whether your organization already has a robust payments and gift card program in place, or is just looking to get started, these are the 3 key priorities to consider as we head into the busiest shopping season of the year.

Connect with new payment partners

Consumers have adopted new payment methods and touch free contactless options at rapid rates. When a brand or retailer expands to give customers new ways to pay, they can keep existing customers happy while growing their audience to reach new customers through additional partnerships and potentially connecting to completely new markets. The world is more digital and connected than ever before. With new and more universally accessible payment options, there are entire regions of customers to engage with for the first time.  Having a digital gift card program is one way to help merchants meet consumer needs. According to the WorldPay Global Payment report[1], global ecommerce spending exceeded $5.3 trillion in transaction value and is projected to surpass $8.3 trillion by 2025. There’s a lot of money being spent online, and gift cards — especially egifts that can be sent quickly via email—are a great option for gift-givers. Research from Blackhawk Network[2] shows that 22% of all gift card sales are purchased as last-minute gifts, and eGifts make up 90% of those sales.

Multi-channel flexibility

There’s obviously a lot of talk from retailers about how to maintain the tremendous digital and ecommerce growth we’ve seen over the last two years. However, there is also a lot of discussion about getting consumers back into stores this year. A gift card program is the sweet spot for brands and retailers. From QR codes to selling digital goods in physical stores, gift cards can support ecommerce, but also drive business to physical stores. Overall, for both digital and physical shopping experiences, we’ve seen gift card programs serve as a way to get a physical product on shelves and as an effective digital onramp for new innovations and ideas that has helped brands be able to pivot quickly and efficiently.

Track and analyze results

There’s so much that goes into setting up these programs successfully in terms of both time and money. It’s vital to make sure that everything is being tracked and analyzed from sales and marketing impacts to redemption rates.

Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon

Tracking and analyzing these results will allow a brand or retailer to see what is working best and what isn’t so they can replicate that success. Tracking also helps set the team up for better planning for next year, or more immediately, to simply be able to quickly respond to and make adjustments to programs as new issues or challenges, like supply chain and labor shortages arise.

By prioritizing these key areas, brands and restaurants can start to explore new options and innovations, potentially engage a new vendor or partner, implement a plan and ultimately be able to respond and adjust to this year’s biggest challenges and beyond.

About the Author

Andrew Solomon is VP Online Commerce Solutions US, Blackhawk Network.


[1] The Global Payments Report by WorldPay was released in March 2022 and offers a snapshot of the payments landscape in 40 markets. The report’s data was collected using a survey of 46,000 consumers, secondary research and validation by payments experts from each market.

[2] The Blackhawk Network 2022 Holiday Branded Pay Study was conducted by Leger on behalf of Blackhawk Network in August 2022. The sample size included 2,001 consumers 18+.

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