spotlighting merchandise rewardsSmall businesses are experiencing high levels of success utilizing incentive programs that feature merchandise rewards, according to a recent IMRA (Incentive Manufacturers and Representatives Alliance) survey/study.  The survey was conducted in partnership with the IRF (Incentive Research Foundation) and focused on companies with between $1 million and $50 million in annual sales.

IMRA found that 55% of U.S. small businesses use merchandise rewards, and 72% of them reported moderate to significant growth.  According to the report, distribution of rewards is consistent with larger companies, using merchandise for reward/recognition/appreciation of employees (89%), salespeople (87%), distributors (83%) and customers (80%).  Top merchandise rewards are awarded for a variety of objectives, including customer gifts (60%), top performers (59%) and sales quotas (53%).

The target audience responded quite favorably about the effectiveness of merchandise rewards –

  • Our merchandise incentives work: they influence morale: 82%
  • The merchandise we include is fresh and interesting: 77%
  • Merchandise as reward is an effective motivator: 80%
  • We provide merchandise rewards as additional, “different” benefit besides compensation: 76%
  • The merchandise rewards we provide reflect who we are as a company: 71%
  • We are satisfied with the way our merchandise incentives work: 76%
  • Our merchandise incentives work – they influence behavior: 70%
  • Merchandise rewards are more memorable than cash: 61%

Companies are using a wide mix of award types, including apparel, electronics, food/beverage, housewares, sporting goods, cameras, watches, clocks and luggage.  Only 5% responded that they utilized gift cards/cash.

Program Rewards are Only Part of the Solution

This report confirms the value of utilizing merchandise rewards for incentive and recognition initiatives, but rewards are but a part of the overall solution.  Successful incentive and recognition programs are built around a clear understanding of objectives, solid program management tools and technology, and effective communication.  Half of the target audience in this study run points-based merchandise reward programs.

For a rewarding experience, contact us today and learn more about our incentive and recognition solutions.  Click here to review the full IMRA Small Business Merchandise Market Study.

As Vice President of QIC, Jeff oversees daily operations as well as the company’s strategic marketing initiatives. He has 20+ years in the incentive and recognition industry with prior lengthy experience in retail marketing/advertising and consumer loyalty.

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