Access Codes / Vouchers / Gift Cards for digital services

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Top Digital Service Gift Card Features

The top features people look for when purchasing gift cards for digital services include the ability to customize/personalize the gift, no fees charged, time flexibility, ability to redeem the gift card anywhere, and the ability to cancel the gift card any time.

TOP FEATURES — PURCHASING GIFT CARDS FOR DIGITAL SERVICES

  • Customization/Personalization: This feature allows purchasers of the gift cards to choose the design of the gift card and allows one to either add a video message or a personal photo
  • Time flexibility: Users love a gift that allows them to set the time that they want the gift card to be delivered. In addition, the gift card should have no expiration date
  • Fee: Clients seem to prefer gift cards that have no fees associated with the purchase or delivery costs. Additionally, users would prefer an ecard that does not have a service charge or inactivity fees
  • Rewards Program: Since purchasing a gift is not a one-time thing, a feature that offers users rewards for repeat business is appreciated
  • Redeemable: The ability to redeem the gift card both online and physically at stores seemed like a feature most users are interested in
  • Cancellation: Most users seemed to prefer cards that have the option to cancel it if they feel the need to change the gift
  • Urgency: Due to last-minute purchases, users like digital cards that can be delivered immediately to their respondents

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We leveraged a combination of industry publications, expert blogs, market researches, relevant reports, and case studies to compile information on the best features that people look for when purchasing a digital gift. But, nothing relevant turned up.

Subsequently, we reviewed customers feedback on popular gifts cards to see if they provided information about what their top features were. Reviews from trust pilot and giftcards.com reviews were considered. This approach did not yield enough information to produce a reliable result since the reviews noted mostly were about individual websites and not digital gift cards in general.

Following this, we searched sources such as Forbes and Reuters that could provide us insights on the topic. However, the specific information providing the top features that people look for when purchasing gift cards was not available but the search provided more information on companies offering gift cards and features of the gift cards they were offering.

Lastly, we decided to expand our search and analyzed the most common features offered by digital gift card providers currently. We used the list of features offered by these companies to determine the features that look most attractive to a client. In addition, a unique feature like reward programs was included in the result since it seemed like a feature most clients will look for in a digital card. Based on these, a list of seven features that closely relate to what can be considered top features that people look for in a gift card was provided for consideration.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Digital Service Gift-Giving Trends

The 3 future trends for the gift-giving of digital services are the use of AI, personalized gift cards, and contextual commerce.

THE USE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

  • This is a future trend for the gift-giving of digital services as companies have started using AI to solve the many challenges people experience when it comes to shopping and finding the right or perfect gift for that person.
  • In the research by a digital consumer service, it was stated that 45% of Millennials would rather use AI to find gifts for their family or friends.
  • The preference for AI is associated with shopper anxiety even for cognitive shoppers.
  • According to the report of the research, 31% of respondents indicated that they face anxiety locating the right gift to give, while 44% were indecisive about the preference of the gift recipient, and 10% set automatic reminders to dispatch gifts.
  • With the reliance on AI, there are three notable companies (two of which are based in the US) that are using AI to transform gift-giving of digital services.
  • UncommonGoods, LLC is a Brooklyn-based American online and catalog retailer that uses a bot called Sunny. This artificial intelligence helps people get the right gifts for loved ones.
  • Alyce is headquartered in Boston but is located in 7 countries and it uses AI to help both large and small companies synchronize that perfect gifts for their clients.
  • Token is an app from Gift Card Impressions that enables "users to enter information about the gift recipient, including their relationship to the gift-giver, style preferences, the occasion, and the shopper’s budget."

PERSONALIZED GIFT CARDS

  • There are high expectations for personalized experiences by consumers "in many facets of their lives—shopping and gift-giving included."
  • Today's consumers prefer various opportunities for custom-made and personalized options when getting digital gift cards. These custom-made and personalized options include photos, videos, or written messages.
  • According to the research survey from the 2018 State of Consumer Gift Card Preferences that was based on the feedback of 3000 US adults, the percentage of those who prefer to spend more on custom-made gifts ranged between 30 and 40.
  • Over 60% of the respondents think that having a personalized option in a digital gift card is more insightful.
  • The survey also found out that many more Americans are interested in gift card innovations that are considered personal. For instance, 44% wanted gift cards that can be used to play the lottery, while 60% desired a gift card that can be multi-purpose within a particular category, and 64% were interested in gift cards that suggest a local restaurants within a specific area.
  • Many US companies such as Duracard, Omnicard, Giftnow, Vistaprint, Opticard, and Amexgiftcard have started moving toward this trend.
  • In the words of CEO of Blackhawk Network Talbott Roche, "a big opportunity for both physical and digital growth lies with brands and organizations taking personalized gift cards to the next level."

CONTEXTUAL COMMERCE

  • The appeal for digital cards is growing and evolving, particularly with Millennials, who desire making purchases effortlessly within the context of their own environment and social platforms that they are more frequently used to.
  • "Millennial shoppers want to be engaged wherever they are through contextual commerce," according to Blackhawk Network.
  • According to the 2018 survey, over 50% of respondents said they would be more interested in dispatching gift cards they can add to a digital wallet or mobile app.
  • The survey stated that 69% of Millennials and 59% of smartphone users are more disposed to giving gift cards they can add to a digital wallet or mobile app.
  • 60% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 said they are more inclined receiving gift cards sent through messaging apps or social media platforms like Facebook, while 54% were interested in giving gift cards through these platforms.
  • Gift card companies such as Yiftee, Squareup, and Plastic Printers are evolving in the direction of this future trend.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

In considering the future trends for the gift-giving of digital services, we started by finding the unique technology that is likely to cause a major future trend. The use of AI appeals to our research as three international companies have already deployed this technology to the market and users' experiences were already sampled.

Using the 2018 US survey report by Blackhawk Network, Inc., another future trend we discovered is the use of personalized gift cards; as respondents' opinions sampled are more inclined toward receiving and giving gift cards with custom-made options such as videos, pictures, and text messaging. Many gift card companies are towing this line already, although there is the need for innovation as some personalized features (like using a gift card to play the lottery) of the survey feedback are not yet commonplace. Other companies can be found on Smallbiztrends.

Lastly, we used the same 2018 survey report to identify contextual commerce as a third future trend, having sampled feedback from Millennials. Also, gift card companies in the US are identifying with this trend and incorporating it in their services.

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "Some e-gift cards even include special features, like offering several different designs, and letting you add personal photos and even video messages. You can choose custom dollar amounts for some as well, and set up a specific delivery time and date for your gift to arrive to the lucky recipient's email."
Quotes
  • "If you use this website frequently you should check out the rewards program. For every 100 points you earn you'll save $1 on future purchases. You can only accumulate points by buying gift cards from qualifying retailers, referring a friend, using the app and linking your Facebook account. And speaking of the app, it's free, but it's called "Buy Personalized Gift Cards" in the app store, so we almost didn't find it."
Quotes
  • "Part of the Credit CARD Act of 2009 required the Federal Reserve to come up with rules for gift cards to keep consumers from losing their gift card funds. After receiving feedback from consumers, consumer groups, card issuers, industry commenters, and even a state attorney general, the Federal Reserve proposed these rules:"
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Token asks users to enter information about the gift recipient, including their relationship to the gift-giver, style preferences, the occasion, and the shopper’s budget."
Quotes
  • "For example, one of our large international clients is planning to give every employee two gift cards of equal value. One for the employee and one the employee can gift to an organization of their choice."
Quotes
  • "47% of employees wish to receive awards spontaneously for good work, instead of on traditional calendar events like birthdays or holidays."
  • "55% of their annual gifting budget on gift cards."
  • "since today’s employees feel that recognition is one the most important factors of workplace happiness"
Quotes
  • "in many facets of their lives—shopping and gift giving included."
  • "Millennial shoppers want to be engaged wherever they are through contextual commerce."
  • "A big opportunity for both physical and digital growth lies with brands and organizations taking the personalization of gift cards to the next level."