Ranking the UK Merchants With the Top Omnicommerce Gift Card Programs
NAPCO Research, in conjunction with Blackhawk Network, recently executed a comprehensive review of the state of U.K.-based merchants’ gift card offerings. The subsequent report included an assessment of retailers’ e-commerce/digital, mobile, and in-store gift card offerings, providing an omnicommerce view into the consumer gift card purchase and recipient experience.
The report features data and analysis from the assessment of 50 U.K.-based merchants. Those merchants, which represented a range of product verticals, were evaluated across 169 unique criteria. Key components evaluated included the online consumer purchase and recipient experience of both digital and physical cards (e.g., ease of discoverability, payment options, delivery options); in-store consumer purchase experience of physical cards (e.g., how well-stocked were gift card checkstands and fixtures; how helpful was signage); and the mobile consumer purchase and recipient experience of digital and physical cards, as well as in-store mobile payment options and functionality.
The research was conducted from November 2021 to February 2022. Our analysts went through the research and buying experience, purchasing both physical and digital gift cards from each of the 50 retailers evaluated.
What's at stake? Research from the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) reports that the U.K. gift card market saw an overall rolling year-over-year growth of 8.2 percent in 2021, and a robust 13.6 percent increase from 2019 levels. That market size is expected to continue its upward trajectory in 2022 and subsequent years to come.
What the Data Revealed
By earning 87 percent of the total points across all the criteria, Mitchells & Butler took the top spot in the 2022 rankings. The restaurant and pub operator was followed by TK Maxx, which earned 82 percent of the total points. There was a two-way tie for third place between apparel retail competitors H&M and Zara, with each merchant receiving 78 percent. Rounding out the top five was Hotel Chocolat, which collected 76 percent of the points available in the assessment. The rest of the top 10 rankings looks as follows:
- Claires (74 percent)
- Next (74 percent)
- Ted Baker (73 percent)
- Primark (73 percent)
- Ernest Jones (72 percent)
- ODEON (72 percent)
When looking at the results of all 50 merchants on an aggregate basis, they earned a total omnicommerce average score of 66 percent. So while merchants earned two-thirds of the available points, there's still one-third left to be captured. This indicates that U.K. merchants have ample room for improvement when it comes to their omnicommerce gift card programs. Contributing to the overall omnicommerce average score were the following average scores for the criteria within the three legs of the assessment:
- E-Commerce/Digital: 62 percent
- In-Store: 60 percent
- Mobile: 75 percent
Evaluating the scores by product vertical, the merchants in the jewellery category, a classic gift choice, posted the highest omnicommerce gift card program scores, earning 72 percent of the available points. They were followed closely by the apparel/fashion and speciality verticals (71 percent and 68 percent, respectively). There's an opportunity for businesses in the ‘restaurant – quick serve’ and grocery verticals to enhance their overall gift card offerings, as they earned the lowest average scores among the nine product categories assessed.
In a follow-up article on the 2022 Merchant Gift Card Omnicommerce Evaluation, U.K. Edition, we will dig deeper into the data, including identifying strengths and opportunities for merchants' gift card programs across e-commerce, in-store and mobile channels, as well as share best practices for improving performance in these areas. In the meantime, you can download the full report, which includes the additional details on the rankings as well as more valuable trends and tips gleaned from the data, here.
Related story: 2022 Merchant Gift Card Omnicommerce Evaluation - UK Edition