Nowadays, digital is an integral part of our lives. Worldwide, we spend an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes each day online, and 2 hours and 16 minutes of it is spent on social media (according to a report from Hootsuite and We Are Social). Whether through the computer or through our daily companion – otherwise known as “smartphone” – we can safely say digital has utterly changed our habits and consumer behaviors. Consumers, whichever country they are from, have completely different expectations because of it, and that leads retailers to rethink their strategies. They have to evolve along with the new technologies, such as payment methods, which gift cards are a part of.
Evolving in step with consumer behaviors
The emergence of digital technologies has made it possible for consumers to fulfill their desires almost instantly, gift cards must not hinder this new culture of immediacy. Digital gift cards can quickly be ordered and sent by email, unlike plastic cards. They are an ideal last-minute gift.
Simplicity is also one of the main expectations. Many consumers abandon their cart because of an overly complicated purchasing process. E-gift cards can easily be ordered on the brand’s website and instantly sent to the recipient. They can check the card’s balance and expiration date, which are all accessible on the same page to simply manage the card.
Current consumers demand an omnichannel journey. They do not see the difference between digital and physical channels. As a result, several buying processes are possible. To best meet customer expectations, digital gift cards are redeemable both online and in physical points of sale thanks to a code or bar code. And since it can easily be saved on their smartphone, consumers can access it at any time.
Consumers now want to live a tailor-made experience, in line with their expectations and wishes. Personalization is a must on all channels to generate customer commitment. Gift card have evolved in such a way that you are now able to completely customize it. Create a design, write a personal message, record a video, choose the amount, the delivery time, … so many existing features, and many more to come, for a unique product and experience.
E-gift cards, a means of payment
Just like all the other payment methods, gift cards go digital. Many new solutions have appeared online to meet the e-commerce’s need such as Stripe, Square, … or even the creation of online wallets, mostly by the famous Tech Giants. Credit cards have evolved as well, they are now biometric and contactless. These means of payment go hand in hand with digital in order to meet the needs of consumers and be part of their new daily habits.
For example, instant payments have appeared, which allow immediate transfers between bank accounts. Amazon has shortened and simplified their purchasing process thanks to One-Click. And omnichannel is also the reason for the creation and surge of click & collect.
E-gift cards, beyond simple payments
But dematerializing gift cards goes beyond payment, it makes it easier to handle flows. E-gift cards manage additional payments. Meaning that if a customer buys a product that costs more than the amount on the card, he will easily be able to pay the rest of his purchase with any other means of payment. It is all the more interesting considering around 65% of gift card users spend 38% over the face value of their cards when making a purchase.
Thanks to digital gift cards, consumers are able to access new services, like group gifts (several people buying an e-gift card). And finally, using digital mediums enables the brand to track both the buyer and the recipient’s behaviors throughout the process. It will allow the brand to better understand customers and improve its strategy. In fact, digital gift cards can be a game changer for a brand’s digital strategy.
Suggestions for further reading
Digital Gift Cards : an asset in crisis management
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