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Importance of Rewards Catalogs for Incentive Programs

One of the top reasons why participants prefer rewards catalogs for incentive programs over a singular high dollar ticket item (think – the top-performing rep gets a big screen TV) is because it gives them the power to choose. With almost every major brand, and often even your local Mom & Pop store, offering a gift card or merchandise of some sort in the B2B space makes it easier to find an item that everyone can enjoy. It ultimately grabs the attention of more participants than just the top performers.

While it seems simple enough to get a catalog setup – the hard part is fine-tuning what to include in your catalog. If you have too many options, participants tend to become overwhelmed and typically default to their local grocery store or gas station card. Too few options and you run into the possibility of missing out on many participants due to not having something that engages them, which is why you went with a catalog in the first place.

Gift Card catalog powered by Ignite for incentive programs

*Pro Tip* – We’ve found that starting out a gift card catalog with 25 – 30 different cards with an emphasis on retail & dining merchants has the most significant impact.  For a domestic merchandise catalog –  try to keep around 200 products or less with various price ranges.  Over time, administrators can then start swapping out lower redeemed cards/products with new ones to keep the catalog fresh and exciting.

But you’re not done there. Participants not only want to choose what they want, but they want to be able to get to it most simply and quickly possible.

Adding the following key features to your catalog will create more flexibility to ensure the best user experience for your participants:

Denominations & Quantity

This one can often be overlooked, but thanks to the e-commerce advancements made by companies like Amazon – it’s almost expected by a participant that one should be able to pick not only the item they want but how many of them, as well as specifics like denominations, color, size, etc. in a single transaction.

Quantity is important for a rewards catalog in an incentive program

Shopping Cart

Another key feature that might not be at the top of your list to implement but plays a significant role in the participant experience. Giving the ability to add different types of cards (or even a mix of merchandise and cards if your program supports both) into a single transaction will make for a better impression. Having to place multiple one-off transactions will more than likely create some annoyance.

Shopping cart in the Ignite Platform for incentive programs with a reward catalog


Maybe not the most essential feature, but for larger rewards catalogs and programs that offer both merchandise and gift cards, this will become a go-to for participants.  Not only will it help participants pinpoint and save items for later, but it can also help administrators better understand behavior flow and customize their catalogs better for their audience.

From an administrator’s standpoint – It’s just as important to add features and functionality in the tracking/reporting aspects to ensure your program is operating the best it can and can be tailored to get the best use for participants.

To that end, the following are some key tools & metrics that should be readily available in an admin portal or dashboard:

Points Earned/Redeemed

Having quick access to track points that participants are earning vs. redeeming will better help you plan alongside your awards budget and anticipate potential payouts.  Over time you’ll also be able to see if you’re awarding too much or too little points compared to the reward options that are available in your catalog.

Transaction Timeline

At a glance, you can see trends on when redemptions tend to be high or low at specific periods of the month/quarter/year, etc. From here, you can build out a communication plan to drive traffic or re-engage participants during slower redemption periods or even add an overlay to keep the program fresh all year long.

Ignite Dashboard for Incentive Programs

Top Performing Items

Having a top redeemed or most popular favorite item will help you dictate what to leave in your catalog and what can be replaced.  It’ll also give you a look into your audience demographic sow hen adding new items in, you can use complementary products/brands.

With Brightspot’s new Ignite Web Platform – all these features are always available along with our own robust Gift Card and Merchandise catalogs.

Ignite powers rewards catalogs for incentive programs around the world.If your incentive program could benefit from bright people and brighter technology, have a look at what we offer on our incentive service page.

Pali Chhabra

Author Pali Chhabra

Pali Chhabra is a Program Manager specializing in sales incentive and employee engagement campaigns. Pali has built a passion for developing impactful campaigns in marketing and events for the past 10+ years. Taking a program from ideation through reconciliation, Pali always strives to achieve the best results possible. Pali’s versatile background helps him excel in both the creative and operational facets of the incentives industry. He can tackle just about any program objective presented to him and has garnered the ability for developing a comprehensive rewards solution for any audience & demographic. Pali maintains an an Incentive Professional (IP) certification.

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Mike May says:

    “Curated Choice” is a new term for what Pali describes. And, IRF (Incentive Research Foundation) studies have shown that choice itself is motivational and engaging. Good blog.