Christmas is the season of gift-giving, and one of the increasingly popular gifts is the gift card. In fact, 37% of French people opt for gift cards during the holiday season1. However, the most interested demographic is undoubtedly the Millennials. 42% of them have a preference for electronic gift cards2.
*1 Deloitte Study 2014
*2 UKGCVA and Verdict Retail Study
This demand has been growing every year during Christmas among these young individuals from the Millennial generation. This represents a fantastic opportunity for brands and retailers, considering that this generation makes up 25% of the French working population. But it’s important to understand why these young individuals are so fond of digital gifts. What are the characteristics and advantages that attract them, in order to implement a relevant gift card strategy and program?
E-gift cards are primarily practical for Millennials
Digital gift cards, the perfect Christmas gift for young consumers
Young consumers are known for adapting more easily than other generations to an ever-changing environment over time. Naturally, they seek new solutions to simplify things. They have found answers in the digital realm, which is why they represent the primary online shoppers in the population. This behavior extends to gift-giving. In search of alternatives, they have been greatly drawn to the digitized format of gift cards.
This format is practical. Buying e-cards is very quick and can be done anytime and anywhere. This saves them a lot of time and energy in the search for holiday gifts. With much less stress, they know that the recipient is guaranteed to be pleased. The recipient can freely choose the gift they like the most. Ultimately, the card promises quick and satisfying results, the primary goal for Generation Y.
Brands and retailers, therefore, need to tailor their programs to prioritize convenience to attract them. This begins with a streamlined and condensed purchasing process that does not require prior registration on the brand’s website. Any features that make the lives of young consumers easier are welcome, but be cautious not to detract from the overall customer experience.
As long as it’s a digital and mobile gift card
Another option that specifically interests Generation Y is the ability to store their e-gift cards on any digital device. From computers to mobile phones, they want access at all times. It’s much less risky to lose them this way, which often happens with physical cards. Millennials, in particular, are champions at this. 40% of them have admitted to misplacing a physical gift card before.* However, their preferred place to store their digitized card is on their smartphone and in “Wallet” applications. The smartphone has become an integral part of their daily lives, and young people are the first to use mobile payments, including with gift cards.*
Therefore, offering a card that can be easily integrated into major wallets is a strategic move to attract millennials. Preparing a communication plan and push message distribution through mobile apps can be an added benefit to support young e-card holders.
Consider the community aspect for digital gift cards
Electronic gift cards must be present on social networks
Generation Y considers the community to be an essential part of their lives. Empowered by the emergence of Web 2.0 and technological advancements, young people are constantly connected with their loved ones and friends, reinforcing this sense of community. This is why they have quickly embraced social networks, making them a daily activity. Beyond personal use, the use of social networks has evolved to now be an integral part of the purchasing process. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they are used in the search for Christmas gifts. Consumers pay close attention to recommendations from their peers and influencers and stay informed about the latest news regarding the brands they favor.
But millennials now want to take the next step and be able to make purchases directly on these platforms. This applies to 45% of them.* And digital gift cards are no exception, as 28% of young consumers are inclined in this direction. Therefore, brands must consider integrating this concept into their gift card programs.
*Shopper Observer Havas Paris 2017
To Share Their Christmas Gift
To take it a step further in usage, the option of sharing, a behavior widely seen on social networks, can be considered. Recommendations from loved ones are a significant factor in purchase decisions. Allowing customers who have received or purchased a digital gift card for the holiday season to share this action on social media will be strategic for brands. This action will result in attracting new customers among their acquaintances, who can then be retained for maximum benefit.
Furthermore, in terms of community engagement, millennials often organize group purchases for Christmas gifts. Purchasing a digital gift card together is an additional option that interests them, at least for 54% of them.*
The Lived Experience: A Noteworthy Aspect for Generation Y
Looking for a Personalized and Fun Holiday Gift
For the Christmas season, Generation Y particularly enjoys receiving or giving a digitized gift card rather than cash. Unlike a sum of money, gift cards are more personal and thoughtful gifts. What’s more, e-cards offer as much freedom as cash.
But where digital cards stand out is in their personalization, which is highly appreciated by young consumers. From visuals to messages, the buyer can do it all. They can choose from visuals provided by the brand or even take their own photo. They can even create a short video from their imagination to enhance their Christmas gift.
Millennials can make gift cards fun and quirky by showcasing their creativity. Fun is highly appreciated, and content in this tone is widely shared on social networks. So, for Christmas, receiving a digitized gift card with a funny video on their phone is a perfect experience for these young people.
Brands and retailers should think about integrating e-card personalization features into the purchasing process to make it experiential.
With a Seamless Experience
But does the experience end when the card is delivered? No, far from it. Millennials consider shopping as a “relaxation moment,” according to Ipsos, where they explore and make purchases on a whim. With the e-gift card, this experience takes on a whole new dimension. It can be an opportunity to purchase an experience they love (holidays, festivals, etc.) or access products they couldn’t afford under normal circumstances. The digital card enhances the pleasure of shopping, making it a perfect gift for the holiday season.
That’s why, when spending the gift card, it’s essential to have a smooth and hassle-free process to ensure the experience isn’t disrupted.
The Digital Gift Card Must Be Omnichannel for Young Consumers
Omnichannel is a concept dear to the hearts of Generation Y. Even though they appreciate digital channels, it doesn’t mean they forget physical stores, which they equally love. In fact, they have no problem making Christmas purchases on a PC, smartphone, or in a physical store. They can switch from a PC to their mobile and finally go to a physical store for a single purchase without any hiccups. And, of course, they want a seamless experience across different channels. Fluidity, transparency, and immediacy are crucial aspects. That’s why the e-gift card should be easily redeemable both in physical stores and online. Millennials want choices and freedom in their buying process.
In fact, 82% of them want access to as many products in physical stores as on the website.* This statistic implies that they want an equal experience everywhere. Hence, the strong desire (70%) to move towards “phygital” for stores. The e-card can be one of the avenues to develop.
The E-Card: A Relevant Stimulus for Millennials
Fostering Loyalty Among Generation Y
The digitized card is a highly favored Christmas gift among millennials. But besides selling them as products, brands can use them as tools to attract Generation Y during the holiday season.
It’s well-known that young consumers love loyalty programs. It’s no surprise to find that they are enrolled in an average of 6.5 programs and are active in 4.2 of them. Loyalty systems are excellent entry points for brands. The goal: attract young consumers who are already customers to do their Christmas shopping in the brand’s stores or on its website.
So, how can this be achieved? Well, by offering the right rewards during the holiday season. Generation Y is sensitive to gift cards as rewards for their loyalty. In fact, 61% appreciate the opportunity to exchange their points for a gift card.* This is because these cards are flexible and give their holders a choice. In fact, they prefer an electronic gift card. Digital rewards are popular among young people (65%).* Sent instantly, they can use them directly.
Attracting Millennials for Their Year-End Shopping
Beyond loyalty, brands and retailers have the opportunity to acquire new millennials during the Christmas rush through e-gift cards. In this context, they can be used to differentiate themselves in terms of promotions. Indeed, this generation is price-sensitive and appreciates discounts. However, being accustomed to promotions that don’t excite them, they are looking for something else. What they want is cashback. This is entirely possible with digital gift cards. For example, instead of offering a direct discount on a specific product, you can offer a fixed amount on a gift card. Millennials can then come back to spend this card, continuing their Christmas shopping or simply treating themselves.
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. To maximize their chances, brands and retailers can use digital gift cards as a new product and as a marketing tool to acquire and engage millennials. E-cards are a product they love due to their convenience and the experience they provide. However, to truly attract Generation Y, a digital gift card program must still be omnichannel, customizable, shareable, and practical. That way, they will become the perfect gift for all young consumers.
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