Top 5 gift card incentives ideas throughout the customer lifecycle

A. Fernández

A. Fernández

4 min

Gift cards and prepaid cards are incentives that attract, engage, and retain customers. Gift card incentive ideas have become increasingly popular in all industries due to the variety offered, and their simplicity makes people view these products like cash. They increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty and advocacy.

Designing and delivering an effective incentives plan that builds customer retention can be a big challenge for brands. For that reason, more and more companies are using gift cards for different types of incentives programs, helping them to drive up their ROI strategies.
The best approach to implementing an effective incentives strategy is to assess it against the customer lifecycle stages. With specific plans for every stage of the customer journey, every business can successfully drive an incentives program using gift cards. The idea of implementing them in the marketing plan will help brands to get loyal brand advocates.

The convenience of a Gift Cards Incentive Program

Gift cards are commonly found within marketplaces incentive ideas, but they’re also being used as incentives across industries outside of traditional incentives marketing fields, many of which didn’t previously use much of them, including:

  • Mobile game studios
  • NGOs
  • Digital research firms
  • Corporate / HR platforms 
  • Academic institutions
  • Social media platforms
  • Gambling companies

But, how effective are they really? Gift cards are one of the best examples of non-cash incentives. They are able to carry all of the benefits typically associated with such incentives. As with all incentives programs, gift cards can benefit companies as they can encourage positive behaviors in customers. When looking for marketing incentive program ideas or consumer reward programs, gift cards will always be listed as the first recommendation. They are easy to send and redeem, and a gift card always will fit with the customer’s needs.

According to the Q2 2021 Global Gift Card Survey, the gift card industry in the United States is expected to grow by 9.7% on an annual basis to reach US$ 170784.8 million in 2021. This growth is expected to continue over the forecast period, reaching a CAGR of 8.8% during 2021-2025, and is expected to reach US$ 238973.8 million by 2025. This makes gift cards a fantastic choice for any kind of incentive program.

Furthermore, online purchases of gift cards have increased in the last few years, and the ongoing pandemic has changed consumer habits, making them more digital. That’s why digital gift cards are increasingly used along marketing strategies to attract customers in their different lifecycle stages.

Source: Next Move Strategy Consulting. Gift Card Market Revenue, 2019-2030 USD Bn)

Top 5 gift cards incentives ideas within your customer lifecycle

A successful gift card strategy will contemplate the multiple stages during your customer lifecycle. Moving your target audience from potential buyers to advocates to your company could be easier than it seems with the proper incentives strategy. Below we have listed some incentives ideas using gift cards that will help you kick-start a remarkable incentive marketing campaign.


Using gift cards rather than discounts can create a sense of urgency around a sale or promotion. This solution is so simple, and it allows a business to promote and incentivize the purchase of a product.


Retention boils down to keeping customers engaged, happy, and spending. If a customer is studying the product and comparing it with the competitor’s, a retention strategy using digital incentives such as e-gift cards can keep customers engaged.


Referral marketing is a tactic that makes use of recommendations and word of mouth to grow a business’s customer base. Since a word-of-mouth impression can drive 5x more sales than a paid tactic, it is crucial for any kind of business to invest in this kind of strategy. Rewarding customers with a free gift card when they recommend the product or service to their friends and family is an incentive idea to start with referral marketing.


The most important client can be the one that you already have got. If you want the customer to purchase other products or services that can fit with their needs, use digital gift cards to incentivize them to buy the products, building loyalty at the same time.


Re-engagement is serving ads to the audience who have already shown intent to purchase via a previous engagement. When adding to those adds an incentive such as a discount or digital gift cards, you can win the inactive customers back.

One API, multiple ideas to incentivize your customers

The best thing about all these gift card strategies ideas is that starting to implement them is an easy, fast and intuitive experience. Thanks to today’s technology, building customizable gift card services is possible within minutes.

To get started, a developer just needs to integrate your website or app to a digital gift card API, which can be up and running within a day. 

Reloadly’s gift card API makes this task straightforward, allowing your team to: 

  • Integrate your website or app quickly and easily
  • Send gift cards to multiple people (bulk) in five regions within five seconds
  • Access an ever-expanding catalog of retailers including popular brands, such as Amazon, Apple, Nintendo, Roblox, and more
  • Set precise values of gift cards via a dashboard with over 100 currencies

In Conclusion

Using digital gift cards as incentives in your marketing campaigns is a great way to improve your relationship with the clients and customer loyalty. Besides that, the widespread use of this kind of incentive will attract and impress the audience at first sight, motivating them to return to your brand.

After integrating a Gift Card API, to begin with incentive marketing, surely customers will come to your brand for their next purchases.


This might also interest you:

Content by developers to developers.

Subscribe to The Monthly Reload for Developers and start receiving all the developers’ updates.

The Monthly Reload: the newsletter for you

Subscribe to our Newsletter and don’t miss any news about our industry and products.

It’s time to build, make your first API call today