Giving and receiving unwanted gifts is an experience all too familiar for most of us. In fact, Americans spend a whopping $9.5 billion on unwanted gifts.
Of course, returning a gift to the giver is not an option, unless you want to effectively severe ties with the person. Today, thanks to advancements in technology, gifting is witnessing the emergence of new companies crafting innovative solutions to an age-old industry.
According to Yaacov Martin, CEO of gifting solutions company Jifiti, gifting can and should be thoughtful, yet flexible
This is achievable by pairing digital product catalogs with the ability to issue digital gift cards. This allows gift-givers to digitally select and send a thoughtful gift, but the recipient can choose how, when, where and even what to redeem; the thoughtfulness of a gift, but the flexibility of a gift card.
Indeed, even if we convince ourselves that it is the thought that counts, we do place monetary value on gifts and gift cards are, in essence, currency. Just like how actual cash can be used tender in countries, gift cards can be spent on goods and services even though offered by a specific business. Even the IRS considers gift cards and certificates as cash equivalents.
The larger brick and mortar firms have their own physical card system and most e-commerce store platforms have built-in rewards points or store credit functionalities. Due to the emergence of mobile technologies, many of these programs are becoming app-based. Starbucks, for example, has an omnichannel system where you can use the system through a physical card while at the store, app, or their website.
Several tech companies are currently catering to this need area.
New players emerge
Startups like Jifiti, Zola, and Marcole offer services for retailers to handle gifts and gift registries allowing businesses to manage gift registries and enable gift option on checkout. Jifiti even offers a branded gift store service like the one that powers Evite’s where companies could sell items from a network of brands as gifts.
Gifting is predominately contextual and triggered by specific occurrences. By inserting gifting options into relevant online websites such as digital invitations, gift registries and greetings cards, brands are retailers are able to make themselves relevant in the gifting space and increase conversion
– Martin from Jifiti.
It’s interesting that, with all the buzz financial technology (fintech) is generating, not much attention has been paid to gift card solutions, especially considering that the industry is at least a $130 billion market in the US.
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