Rewards 2.0: Rewards and Incentives of the Past



In our last blog post, we covered the era of Rewards 1.0. Continuing in our rewards history blog series, we will now focus on Rewards 2.0 and its unique attributes. Remember those printed catalogues with pages and pages of rewards? Those were the days of 2.0…

Rewards 2.0 was the era of rewards spanning between the 1980’s to just prior to the year 2000. Leading up to 2000, Internet solutions for business and ecommerce were limited in scope and were not quite commercially viable.

This twenty-year period was the golden age of merchandise rewards. During this time, rewards were often distributed through a single, warehouse-based incentive provider. Reward selection was directly impacted by the medium of your incentive solution, which was primarily a printed rewards catalogue.

It was simple: a printed catalogue had a limited number of pages that dictated the number of rewards a program could offer.

Reward selection in the era of 2.0 was correlated to the size of your program provider’s warehouse. In the majority of programs, reward selection was prescribed based on what the reward provider thought you would like (we’re glad these days are gone)!

What about global rewards?

The notion of global rewards was a rarity for most programs. If available at all, global coverage was limited to smaller, lightweight items that could be easily shipped from the provider’s warehouse to members worldwide. As a result, international members had to endure the high price of delivery, added taxes, and duties that were levied on all imports. This often meant that the final cost of a reward could easily be double the regular retail price. What’s worse? Shipments often took many weeks to arrive and reward choice for international participants was, to say the very least, minimal.

What about program design?

In the age of Rewards 2.0, program communication, design, and execution was print driven. The nature of the medium dramatically slowed member communication and engagement. Due to these limitations, reward choice was limited to a small selection of curated items that was often pre-selected by the rewards provider. Not only was reward choice limited, member interaction and engagement was impossible due to the nature of the printed catalogue.

By 2000, technology, and in particular the Internet, was about to catch up to the rewards industry. Starting in 1999, there was a massive change in how technology would soon impact everything from how we shop, how we listen to music, and this would permanently alter the rewards landscape!

More than just rewards were about to be disrupted!

Oh how the times have changed in the land of rewards. Learn more about the evolving landscape of rewards with Rewards 3.0 in our upcoming blog.