ONLINE CATALOGS ARE BECOMING more sophisticated. These Web-based programs offer winners the freedom to select awards without being confined to a printed catalog with a limited selection of products.
“Online programs have become much more dynamic,” confirms Brian Galonek, president of Sturbridge, Mass. — based All Star, a full-service incentive house and performance improvement company, and president of the Online Incentive Council. “Participants have a better view of the product with lengthier descriptions. Plus, companies can add and delete products on a whim.”
A big plus is ease of use: An administrator can change award assortments as warranted to make the program as exciting as possible. If electronics is a popular category, he or she can add items as they come on the market. If a category is not as popular as planned, items can be removed with a few clicks of a mouse.
An innovative feature of today's online catalogs is a “specials” category, where products can be acquired for fewer points than usual. The concept works well for seasonal merchandise; for example, a company can offer football memorabilia for the start of football season. The next feature will be 360-degree images of products, which Galonek expects to be available in the near future.
Another trend is more diverse offerings. Some online catalogs include the opportunity to make charitable contributions, or to win merchandise from the company store or even products manufactured by the company.
Companies are also using catalogs to consolidate their incentive programs, says Michelle Smith, vice president of strategic sales for San Francisco — based Bravanta, a full-service incentive and recognition company.
“A lot of companies have cash incentive opportunities for employees to earn stocks and savings bonds, and this can now all be easily and seamlessly merged and blended,” Smith says.
For more information, visit www.useonlineincentives.org.