Going Gift Card Crazy: Why E-Gift Cards Are Taking CyberMonday By Storm
A period marked by an increasingly rampant desire for instant gratification, our age is one of convenience. It’s a shift to digital reliance that can be evidenced not only through the ways in which users shop, but also in the types of products consumers seek out, revealing a startling new emphasis on strictly digital products. And with the holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s no small wonder that such digital products–particularly electronic gift cards–have become more popular than ever, especially among young, tech hungry millennials.
According to a study from Bankrate, a consumer services financial company, 59% of gift cards are now offered electronically compared to a measly 41% in 2010–a whopping 18 point increase. Director of Mercator Advisory Groups Ben Jackson adds that, “Retailers and shoppers are getting more comfortable with the idea of a digital gift card,” with e-gift cards making up roughly 7% of the $85.5 billion gift card market in 2013, or twice the amount of digital cards sold in 2011.
It’s a transition that’s making a name for itself in markets everywhere, and for good reason: it’s easy. With a slew of killer features including near instant access for users, an army of customizable options and social media integration, it’s easy to see why millennials have become e-gift card crazy. One distinct advantage posed by e-gift cards may even be a surprising one: they can’t be lost. Approximately 40% of 18 to 29 year olds surveyed by Bankrate admitting to losing a gift card in their wallet or simply never redeeming a card, a phenomenon known as “spilling”. Because of the eponymous nature of gift cards, they’re accessible any and everywhere from phone apps to in-line email links, making them virtually impossible to lose–winning major brownie points for the millennial vote.
Another feature of e-gift cards that makes them irresistible to today’s millennial group is that they’re customizable. For starters, users now have the liberty to set their own denominations rather than having to choose from a pre-determined amount, a factor which makes them the perfect choice for a quick last minute gift card. Users can also modify multiple elements of the gift card from the faceplate to other interactive options like a ceremonial bowtie to “unwrap” the card, an addition that has obvious appeal for children and younger age groups.
But the most potent appeal for electronic gift cards is perhaps their most obvious facet: their instantaneous nature. Why wait several days or even weeks for delivery (or even waste precious physical resources) when you can simply open an email to redeem a gift instead? Social media savvy millennials can even share their gift card purchases or presents across social media platforms, giving brands an extended outreach unparalleled by traditional forms of advertising.
The rapidly expanding world of e-gift giving doesn’t only benefit consumers–it’s also a godsend for marketers and advertising agencies, too. Marketers can utilize digital gift cards in a variety of ways to acquire new age millennials by offering audiences tantalizing gifts that are rapidly accessible, appealing to the infamous instant gratification streak Generation Y-ers are so widely known for. Apple, for instance, employs this practice frequently with promotional offers designed to reward audiences like free e-gift cards with purchase of every iPad, a time-honored tactic that’s proven to be wildly popular with fervent audiences.
Other companies aim to use the appeal of e-gift cards to engage potential new audiences. For instance, Conde Nast offered new Glamour e-magazine subscribers their choice of rewards between a messenger bag or redeeming a $10 iTunes or Amazon e-gift card. The latter option had users ecstatic with joy, with increased conversion rates skyrocketing up to 48%. (Learn more on this campaign: here)
What does this mean for marketers, then? It tells us that millennials respond to experiences that acutely take their preferences into mind–the types of experiences that will keep bringing them back for more. E-cards are handy not only on account of consumers who love them for their accessibility, but for marketers looking to reward their audiences as well, giving them a dynamic versatility unrivaled in any other type of gift. It’s a tactic clever marketers keep in mind, particularly with the rapid approach of Black Friday and CyberMonday on the horizon; a rare opportunity for brands to communicate more intimately with end users looking to shop smart.
Michael Amar, Ifeelgoods CEO