Channel partners are the backbone of the retail sector and contribute 70-80 per cent to brands’ sales. But for the critical role played by them, are we appreciating them enough and giving them the due reward that they deserve? Distributors not being incentivized well is a common enough problem in the FMCG sector, this leads to them not being motivated and slowly will have an impact on the brand sales. All eyes are on the consumers and B2C marketing is an apple in the brand’s eye and B2B marketing becomes the ignored middle child who gets the hand me downs.
In the FMCG sector, brands reward their channel partners generally during popular festive seasons. In the past, a cash-based bonus was the most common way to reward and appreciate a channel partner. Cash proved to be an easier way of incentivization for the brand as they didn’t know the personal preferences of their channel partners. Slowly this moved to giving high value aspirational products such as motorcycles, gold coins, home appliances, smartphones and experiences such as travel to giving educational perks to the children of the channel partners. When they receive it for the first time they will be delighted, but how many times can you keep giving these products again and again? Who will keep track of what you have given your channel partner last year to this year? What if he/she already has a washing machine at home and you giving the same product is not going to motivate them or show that they matter to you.
Thanks to technology and its convenience, brands are finding newer avenues in engaging with their channel partners by offering innovative and more meaningful rewards. This is when personalized rewards programs came into existence and use tools such as gift cards to woo their channel partners. Brands also can avail the option of personalizing the gift cards for different occasions, based on the achievement and adding that personal touch. Channel partners are also evolving and prefer to do their own shopping using these gift cards and vouchers. Loyalty programs coupled with technology is used to provide personalized rewards and gives the flexibility to change the reward points depending on the sales on a real time basis. These innovations have also made the entire process transparent and there is no bias involved thus enabling the best channel partner to get his/her deserving reward.
It is no wonder that gift cards are gaining popularity as ultimately, they give the power of choice to the receiver, which in this case is the channel partner! Ensure that your channel partners are adequately rewarded this year by presenting them with a gift card and thus giving them the freedom of choice.
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