Research Identifies New Shoppers Who Are Transforming Retail

CashStar, the industry-leading provider of prepaid commerce solutions, in conjunction with Texas A&M Center for Retail Studies and Retail TouchPoints, today released the results of new research that identifies a new and highly influential segment of shoppers. Based on a survey across more than 1,300 consumers, the research shows that this segment, described as “Brand Mavens,” are digitally engaged and brand loyal shoppers who have strong peer influence. Brand Mavens have significant purchasing power and connecting with this segment is critical to the long-term success of retailers.

Brand Mavens actively motivate consumers in their circle of influence to try new brands and purchase more, initially through the use of gift cards. When combined with loyalty rewards, coupons and promotional offers as a way to manage all purchasing interactions with a brand, gift cards become a form of branded currency and are even more desirable to Brand Mavens. Branded currency is the foundation of their digital engagement, brand loyalty and influence, and makes it easy for them to shop a brand. In fact, 68% of Brand Mavens said they would like to utilize one card for completing payments, accessing loyalty points, and redeeming coupons and promotional offers.

Representing 53% of U.S. shoppers, these brand loyal consumers are predominately female (60%), financially responsible, in committed relationships and educated. They also have huge purchasing power and influence to generate significant increases in revenue and loyalty. The average Brand Maven spends approximately $1,100 on gift cards annually and redeems an average of $700 in cards – a total direct annual purchasing power of $1,800. Their purchasing power rises exponentially as they indirectly influence others to buy and redeem gift cards, and become loyal brand purchasers.


Analysis also shows that Brand Mavens are:
  • Pervasive: Brand Mavens have influence across all major retail verticals. They shop with gift cards and influence purchase and loyalty most frequently with restaurants (85%), department/big box (73%), and fashion and apparel (64%) retailers. They also frequently shop and influence purchasing decisions with health and beauty, home goods and furnishings, and outdoors and sporting goods retailers.
  • Omnichannel: Brand Mavens are cross-channel shoppers. While they redeem gift cards in the store and on the website most frequently, they also redeem via mobile and social channels. Their most-visited channel is the physical store (90%), with the retail brand website not far behind (79%), as well as mobile (37%).
  • Informed: Brand Mavens are voracious consumers of information, seeking out content before they make a purchase. They diligently gather product information and 66% read product reviews before completing a purchase. Their network is also important, with 61% consulting friends, family or co-workers before making a purchase.
  • Social: Brand Mavens are active social media users, enhancing their position as opinion leaders and influencers. Analysis of the survey data shows that Brand Mavens have a well-connected social network and broad presence on social media, which they use to inform, educate, advise and influence others. Close to one third (28%) share feedback about experiences via Twitter, Facebook, Google and other social channels.

“It’s clear from our research that Brand Mavens are an important segment with significant purchasing power and tremendous peer influence,” explained Retail TouchPoints Editor-in-Chief Debbie Hauss. “Understanding how to identify and engage these ultimate brand advocates will be core to the success of every consumer-facing brand.”


Additional findings include:
  • 75% of Brand Mavens are more likely to re-shop a brand if they can use their gift card for payment
  • Of those using mobile wallets, 54% use retailer native mobile apps to manage and redeem gift cards with brands; 48% use third-party mobile wallet apps, such as Apple Passbook, MCX CurrentC and Google Wallet
  • 55% consider joining a brand’s loyalty program and 51% are interested in tying their gift cards directly to a retail loyalty account
  • 47% encourage friends, family and co-workers to join retail loyalty programs, which is significant because 90% of consumers trust peers when making purchasing and loyalty decisions
  • 55% influence others to purchase gift cards and 56% want to re-load a card, which will result in additional sales and long-term loyalty

“Brand Mavens are a group that certainly cannot be ignored,” said CashStar Vice President of Marketing Gary Lombardo. “The research supports the idea that retailers need to enable gifting and prepaid commerce experiences across channels and devices throughout the customer lifecycle to capture the attention of this important segment.”

Learn More:
View the Infographic: Brand Mavens Cannot Be Ignored!

Source: BusinessWire


651 554 8533

TAGS:   card services, Loyalty, Rewards and Membership, trends


RGCA Forecasts Big Gift Card Sales This Summer

More than 70 percent of shoppers will be giving gift cards this spring and summer during the assortment of gift-giving holidays that are approaching, including graduations, Father's Day, and weddings, according to research from the Retail Gift Card Association. The RGCA confirmed that the gifts remain popular with recipients as well, with 95 percent of consumers hoping to receive gift cards this spring and summer season.

"Large-scale retail trends, like movement towards omnichannel and increasing awareness of digital offerings, continue to be reflected in consumers' use of gift cards," Timm Walsh, RGCA chairman of the board, said in a statement. "And our biannual research has confirmed again that shoppers still consider gift cards to be safe, preferred gift choices. This spring and summer season should bring increased sales of this favored gift product."

The RGCA surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers on their use of gift cards and habits for giving and receiving the cards, the release stated.

The RGCA study also found:

  • Gift cards' popularity continues to grow: Just last year, two thirds of shoppers planned to buy gift cards during the spring and summer gift season, and that number has grown to more than 70 percent this year.
  • Omnichannel flexibility is key: In tandem with the growing consumer demand for omnichannel connectivity across all facets of retail, 80 percent of gift givers want their recipients to have the option of redeeming gift cards online or in person, and 87 percent of recipients want to be able to redeem via either channel as they choose.
  • Awareness of e-gift cards is growing: As more shoppers receive e-gift cards, the awareness of this type of gift is growing. 27 percent of gift recipients have now received e-gift cards, a 5 percent increase from last holiday season.
  • Physical gift cards still reign supreme: Most shoppers (56 percent) plan to give physical gift cards exclusively, and the most common denomination is between $25 and $50. Reasons why physical gift cards remain preferred include wanting to give a physical or packaged gift, when the recipient doesn't have a smart phone and because the gift giver simply prefers physical gift cards to e-gifts.
  • All gift cards are not created equal: The most popular types of gift cards this spring and summer for givers and recipients alike include those to restaurants (47 percent), department stores (30 percent) and online marketplaces such as Amazon (29 percent).

Source: Retail Customer Experience


651 554 8533

TAGS:   card services, holidays, trends


FREE WEBINAR: Gift Card Fulfillment Trends of 2015

For the third year in a row, the Travel Tags Market Research Team is taking a first hand look at the gift card fulfillment of over 100 retail brands with an online presence. Documenting the user experience from start to finish, we'll be presenting an overview of common practices and popular trends related to:


  • Card design
  • Holiday promotions
  • Digital and mobile gift cards
  • Carriers and giftability
  • Shipping costs and timing
  • Ordering process
  • YOY comparisons
  • Fulfillment packaging


Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Time: 1pm - 2pm CT
Cost: FREE


Click to Register!

TAGS:   card fulfillment, card services, Education, trends, Webinar