✨  Don't miss out! Register for our Employee Appreciation Webinar scheduled for 29th February.🎖️
✨  Don't miss out! Register for our Employee Appreciation Webinar scheduled for 29th February.🎖️

Register now

Live Webinar: Secrets to Building a Successful B2B2C Growth Flywheel
Save your spot now

The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

Visit Hr Glossaries

Merchandise Rewards

Merchandise rewards can be redeemed for a wide array of goods, ranging from small items like accessories and household goods to larger, more valuable items like electronics and travel packages.  

Merchandise rewards are used to acknowledge your hard work and dedication and to foster a sense of appreciation and loyalty within the workplace.

What are merchandise rewards?  

Merchandise rewards are a type of reward program where employees earn points, miles, or credits that they can redeem for physical products, typically through a catalog or online platform.  

These programs are used by businesses to motivate desired behaviors, such as:  

  • Driving desired actions: Programs can reward specific actions like signing up for newsletters, attending events, or leaving reviews.
  • Enhancing employee engagement: Companies can use merchandise rewards to motivate employees and recognize achievements.
Listen, recognize, award, and retain your employees with our Employee engagement software  

What are the drawbacks of merchandise rewards for employees?  

The drawbacks of merchandise rewards for employees are:

  • Limited selection: The program's appeal depends heavily on the merchandise offered. If the selection is boring, irrelevant to your interests, or poor quality, it might not be a strong motivator.
  • Earning rate and time investment: Earning enough points for something you really want can take a significant amount of time and effort. This can feel discouraging, especially if the rewards aren't perceived as valuable enough compared to the effort required.
  • Expiration dates: Some programs have expiration dates for points, adding pressure to use them before they lose their value. This can be stressful if you haven't yet found something you want or haven't accumulated enough points.
  • Administrative burden: Tracking your points, managing your account, and navigating the redemption process can add a layer of administrative burden on you. It might feel like extra work on top of your regular duties.
  • Perceived value vs. actual value: Just because something is "free" doesn't necessarily mean it's a good use of your points. Consider the actual value of the merchandise compared to the effort required to earn it.

What are the best types of merchandise rewards to offer employees?  

When it comes to merchandise rewards for employees, the key is to offer a selection that is both appealing and motivating. Here are some of the best types of merchandise rewards to consider:

1. Practical and usable items

  • Branded merchandise: High-quality company swag like t-shirts, hoodies, water bottles, or tech accessories can be a great way to boost employee pride and brand awareness.
  • Tech gear: Wireless headphones, portable chargers, or even computer accessories can be valuable and relevant rewards for many employees.
  • Office supplies: A nice desk organizer, a high-quality pen set, or a comfortable ergonomic mouse can enhance the employee's workspace and daily work life.

2. Lifestyle and wellness items

  • Gift cards: Gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants, or even experiences like movie theaters or sporting events offer flexibility and cater to diverse preferences.
  • Fitness trackers or gym memberships: Encourage a healthy lifestyle by offering fitness trackers or gym membership reimbursements as rewards.
  • Wellness items: Stress balls, noise-canceling headphones, or self-care packages can promote employee well-being.

3. Experiences and personalization

  • Experiences: Tickets to concerts, sporting events, or amusement parks can be exciting and memorable rewards. Consider offering local experiences or getaways relevant to your area.
  • Charitable donations: Allow employees to choose to redeem points for donations to their favorite charities, adding a meaningful element to the program.
  • Personalization options: Offer customization options for certain rewards, like engraving initials on a water bottle or choosing the color of a company t-shirt. This adds a personal touch and increases perceived value.

4. Additional tips

  • Variety is key: Offer a mix of merchandise categories to cater to diverse employee preferences and interests.
  • Consider demographics: Tailor the selection to your workforce's demographics. Younger employees might prefer tech gadgets, while others might value gift cards or experiences.
  • Track preferences: Gather feedback through surveys or focus groups to understand what types of rewards resonate most with your employees.
  • Align with company culture: Choose rewards that reflect your company culture. A fun and casual company might offer quirky branded merchandise, while a more professional setting might favor high-quality tech accessories.

How do merchandise rewards work?  

Here's a detailed breakdown of how merchandise rewards programs typically work:

(A) For employees  

1. Enrollment: Employees sign up for the program, often by creating an account with the company or organization. This allows them to track their points or credits earned.

2. Earning rewards: Employees earn points or credits through designated actions set by the program. This can include:

  • Purchases: Earning points based on the amount spent, encouraging higher spending for more rewards.
  • Completing tasks: Programs might reward specific actions like attending workshops, referring friends, or completing surveys.
  • Achieving goals: Earning bonus points for reaching milestones like making a certain number of purchases or achieving performance targets (for employees).

3. Tracking rewards: Employees can typically access their online account to view their point balance and track progress towards redemption goals.

4. Redemption options: Once enough points are accumulated, participants can browse a redemption catalog or online platform to choose merchandise they desire.

(A) Merchandise variety: Programs offer a variety of merchandise options, such as:

  • Branded items (clothing, mugs, accessories)
  • Electronics
  • Clothing and household goods
  • Gift cards
  • Experiences (concert tickets, travel packages)

(B) Tiered reward systems: Some programs have tiered systems where higher point balances unlock access to more valuable merchandise options.

5. Redemption Process: Participants initiate the redemption process through the program platform, specifying the chosen item and delivery method

  • Delivery or in-store pickup: Depending on the program, redeemed merchandise can be delivered to your address or picked up at a designated location.

(B) For organizations

  1. Program design: Businesses define the program's goals (e.g., increasing customer loyalty, boosting sales) and establish the earning criteria (actions rewarded and points awarded).
  1. Merchandise selection: Businesses curate a selection of merchandise that aligns with their brand, target audience, and budget.
  1. Program management: Businesses can choose to manage the program internally or use a third-party platform that handles:
  1. Point tracking: Tracking participant activity and point accumulation.
  1. Redemption management: Processing redemption requests and fulfilling merchandise orders.
  1. Data analytics: Providing insights into program performance and participant behavior.

How do merchandise rewards motivate and engage employees?  

Merchandise rewards programs can be a powerful tool to achieve employee goals. Here's how:

1. Employee benefits

  • Free or discounted merchandise: Employees earn valuable items at no additional cost through their hard work and dedication. This could include company-branded swag, electronics, gift cards, or even experiences.
  • Recognition and appreciation: Merchandise rewards publicly acknowledge employee contributions, making them feel valued and appreciated within the company.
  • Motivation and engagement: The opportunity to earn rewards motivates employees to go the extra mile, take on new challenges, and strive for excellence.
  • Increased morale and satisfaction: A well-designed program can significantly boost employee morale and satisfaction, leading to a more positive and productive work environment.
  • Improved company culture: Merchandise rewards foster a culture of recognition and achievement, strengthening employee engagement and loyalty.

2. Organization benefits

  • Enhanced employee performance: Motivated employees are more likely to perform at their best, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.
  • Reduced turnover: Recognizing and rewarding top performers helps retain valuable talent and reduces employee turnover costs.
  • Stronger company culture: A positive and engaged workforce fosters a stronger company culture, attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Improved brand advocacy: Proud employees who receive and wear branded merchandise become walking advertisements for your company.
  • Flexibility and customization: Merchandise rewards programs can be tailored to fit your budget and company culture, allowing you to target specific behaviors or goals.

How to track the success of a merchandise reward program?

Tracking the success of your merchandise reward program is crucial to ensure its achieving your desired outcomes and delivering a valuable return on investment (ROI).  

Here are some key metrics and methods to consider:

1. Participation rate

  • Measure: Track the percentage of employees who have enrolled in the program. A high participation rate indicates strong program awareness and employee interest.
  • Action: If participation is low, consider promoting the program more effectively or revisit the enrollment process for any barriers.

2. Program engagement

  • Measure: Monitor how frequently employees engage with the program. This could include tracking logins to the rewards platform, points earned through various activities, and overall redemption activity.
  • Action: Analyze which activities or rewards are generating the most engagement. Use this data to refine your program and incentivize desired behaviors more effectively.

3. Redemption rate

  • Measure: Track the percentage of points or credits that are being redeemed for merchandise. A healthy redemption rate suggests participants find value in the program and the rewards offered.
  • Action: If the redemption rate is low, it might indicate a mismatch between the merchandise offered and participant preferences. Conduct surveys or gather feedback to understand what kind of rewards would be more enticing.

4. Return on investment (ROI)

  • Measure: Calculate the program's ROI by comparing the program's cost (including administrative fees, merchandise, and platform costs) to the benefits it generates. Benefits can be measured in terms of improved employee performance, or reduced turnover.
  • Action: Analyze the ROI to determine if the program is generating a positive return. If not, consider adjusting program elements like reward costs or target behaviors to improve cost-effectiveness.

5. Employee satisfaction

  • Measure: Conduct surveys or focus groups to gauge employee satisfaction with the program. This can provide valuable insights into their experience and suggestions for improvement.
  • Action: Use feedback to refine the program and ensure it meets participant expectations. Consider incorporating a tiered system with more desirable rewards for higher engagement levels.

6. Additional tracking methods

  • Track specific goals: If your program aims to increase employee experiences, track how point-earning activities will help in enhancing employee productivity.  
  • Monitor website traffic: See if the program drives more traffic to your website or branded merchandise pages.
  • Social media mentions: Track any mentions of your program on social media to gauge brand sentiment and program awareness.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

Quick Links

Employee Engagement solutions

Recognised by market experts