In “The Power of Merchandise,” Premium Incentive Products contributing writer Rick Dandes brings up the argument that’s ubiquitous in the rewards and recognition world: What do employees really want, merchandise or cash?
Many employees say that they really want cash, but most of the time even they don’t know the real implications behind this. As we’ve outlined in past Hinda Blog entries, research shows that when it comes to effective rewards and incentives, merchandise is a far more powerful solution.
The main reason merchandise is the favored mode of incentivizing employees is because it has trophy value. You can’t exactly wave a stack of cash in front of your friends and coworkers and expect any kind of wow factor – and many companies frown on employees disclosing the amount of their cash bonuses among each other (for good reason). But if the reward is a new iPad® or other coveted item, a good story of how it was obtained comes with that reward.
Plus, it’s too easy to lump a cash bonus in with salary, in which case the bonus likely goes toward bills or other necessities and is quickly forgotten. Dave Peer, President of Hinda Incentives and also of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA), says another good thing about merchandise is that it’s always changing, which can be refreshing and exciting for employees. Plus, it makes pleasing everyone’s variety of tastes that much easier.
While we’re on the subject, what trends does Peer see coming up in the world of merchandise incentives? “Here at Hinda,” Peer says, “we are seeing something different…in that electronics has declined to our number two product category behind home products. We’re seeing products like vacuum cleaners, kitchen electrics and one-cup coffeemakers as most desired merchandise.”
Part of the decline in electronics, Peer says, has to do with the fact that people can now get their camera and their music player integrated with their cell phone, and more people are opting for multi-feature smart phones as opposed to a separate cell phone, point-and-shoot camera and MP3 player.
However, Peer has been seeing an increase in TVs, now that HD and flat-panel price points have come down a bit since their advent. “Our television business has become much more robust than it had been previously,” Peer says. “That’s an interesting trend.”
Other trends Peer sees is an increase in the grills, grill tools and patio accessories segment, which he attributes to people doing more entertaining at home in recent years. He’s seen an increase in high-quality tool sets for similar reasons – people are staying home more and looking for little projects or ways to stay entertained at home.
Read the full article here.