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In addition to threatening people’s health, wallets and jobs, large-scale crises always have a significant impact on brands and on the economy. At first, it might seem like there is little a brand can do to face the fast-moving and unknown variables of a global crisis. However, some tools can help brands stay one step ahead.

With people quarantined and stores closed, one solution remains: online shopping. Considering egift sales are up 44% year-over-year, going digital has never been a better option.

Consumers turn to digital gift cards in times of crisis

E-gift cards have shown to be an off-the-shelf solution for customers. In a recent study addressing the COVID-19 crisis, 70% of respondents reported they would turn towards egifts for the upcoming holidays. They are seen as an ideal alternative during the crisis since they can be purchased, sent and spent online.

Pleasure of gifting, pleasure of buying

Long-distance gifting

Digital gift cards are the perfect gift to celebrate from afar. They are simple and convenient. Customers can freely customise the card to turn it into a unique and personal gift. Moreover, their gift is instantly sent, there are no shipping costs and no delivery struggles. Wherever they are in the world, they can still spoil their loved-ones. Customers who buy them don’t feel like they’ve missed out on a celebration. They can take comfort from the fact they were able to make their relatives happy, in spite of the circumstances.

Drive higher-margin purchases

Recipients, on the other hand, take pleasure in browsing through the brand’s products, and feel free to buy spontaneously. They can then indulge themselves by shopping online or going in a physical shop later on. Gift cards encourage people to spend more than they would otherwise. Since they are not only spending money earned by the sweat of their brow, gift card users tend to spend about US$53 more than the card’s face value.*

*2019 First Data study on UK consumers

Preparing the post-crisis period

Even in times of crisis, brands must look at the silver lining. And e-gift cards can be that hopeful ray of light after the storm. In order to take full advantage of their programs, brands should not only offer gift cards as a product, they should implement it in their marketing strategy. During a crisis, mastering this key asset in their gift card program can make all the difference.

An ideal marketing tool

Digital gift cards are a formidable promotional tool. They work wonders when skilfully integrated to sales incentives and other promotional strategies. Brands should not underestimate the influence gift cards can have. During the COVID-19 crisis for instance, they can be sent as rewards after an online purchase, or can be given out in order to boost sales after the quarantine. Once the quarantine ends, customers who received gift cards from a brand are more likely to head straight to their shops before any other. Moreover, during the containment, it will boost their online traffic and encourage spontaneous purchases on their website.

Customer acquisition

During crises, it can seem even harder for brands to reach new customers and make themselves heard. Gift cards are a great way to stand out among the competition. Whether they are gifted by a relative or the brand itself, recipients have free money to spend. Gift cards can tip the scales in the brand’s favour, and turn consumers into loyal customers. According to Trifecta Research Group for SVS, in 2014 28 % of gift card holders were able to discover a previously unknown brand thanks to this tool. In short, it is an investment that will pay for itself in the long run.

SMEs and digital gift cards

A crisis tool

Restaurants, small shops, local retailers… The COVID-19 crisis forces them to only rely on online sales and delivery services to keep their head above water. Since the crisis started, an unprecedented number of SMEs took up digital gift cards and their sales have grown like never before. The situation, despite it all, has offered opportunities for growth and business innovation.

A long-term solution

If digital gift cards are a great tool to face the immediate crisis, they are also a long-term solution. Once their programme is up and running, brands can turn it into a lasting sales incentive! With the right expert advice, digital gift cards can become a great addition to any marketing and loyalty scheme. They will be of great use when the time comes to re-open businesses, and will boost these brands’ sales on the long run.

Global crises can lead to difficult times for brands, but even in the face of adversity, they are not completely helpless. Digital gift cards can be leveraged by consumers as well as brands to show kindness and generosity. They display a brand’s willingness to adapt their way of selling and interacting, and provide solutions to stay in contact with their customers. More than a short-term emergency solution, digital gift cards are an opportunity for lasting growth.

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