By Todd Tomlin
Managing Director of Consummo Consulting
Today I’m going to share options brands have in eGift card platform providers, but I’d like to first thank Hadie Perkas for not only inviting me as a contributing writer to The Gift Club, but for supporting the gift card, prepaid, loyalty, rewards and incentive industries globally with a place for knowledge sharing, community and networking. I’m excited to see the evolution of The Gift Club and the opportunities for education and partnership it provides.
So many options for choosing an eGift card platform provider; eGift cards now more important than ever
With the global pandemic, consumers have evolved their shopping and payment habits in 2020 towards more digital, contactless options. Incomm’s 2020 Consumer Pulse: Gift Cards report found that out of 16,000 gift card shoppers, their online purchase of gift cards more than doubled the first two quarters of 2020, outpacing YoY growth of 24 percent measured from 2018 and 2019. A Blackhawk Network Holiday 2020 report estimated consumers plan to purchase two times the amount of gift cards from 2019 and spend 19% more.
The increase in digital gift purchases has been met with growth of companies providing the underlying technology for the consumer purchase experience, payment and delivery of eGift cards. The options are many for a brand looking to start or enhance their gift card program: Toggle, 99minds, Rise.ai, Launch, Frizbee alongside eCommerce plugins for Shopify and Magento are available for a brand to get their digital gift card up and running.
Many of these options have come to market in the past 2-3 years and typically offer gift cards as part of a broader range of non-cash currency such as loyalty, coupons, merchandise returns, and the underlying processing needed for these products. The need for a gift card processor separated from the technology platform that distributes the gift card to consumers is available in one technology partners.
On the other side you have the technology providers that were leaders in the industry years ago and continue to innovate their broad range of solutions and services. These include eGifter, along with platforms that are part of broader gift card businesses such as Voucher Express (a Hemingways company), CashStar (a Blackhawk Company), Buyatab (a SVS Company) and Gyft (a First Data Company). The range of innovation amongst these companies vary, with some developing cutting-edge options for their brand partners while others have taken a more “keep the lights” on approach. Similar to the emerging platforms, most of these provide both the gift card processor and technology platform in one partner.
Distribution beyond the “four walls” of a brand’s website plays an important part in selecting the right technology partner for eGift cards. If brands want to participate in B2B sales opportunities and distribute to gift card aggregators, it is important that the gift card platform selected is connected to those broader opportunities for future growth.
Features, functionality, customization, usability, security, technical capabilities, integration/onboarding, customer service, account management and pricing are just some of the other considerations. It is important to keep these in mind when evaluating who to choose for your eGift card provider, but those will not be covered here…this was supposed to be light reading. =)
Whether you are a consumer brand looking to enhance your current gift card program or bursting onto the scene and need a gift card program to meet consumer demand, carefully evaluate your options and what they mean for your program in the short and long term.
About Todd Tomlin
Todd is the Managing Director of Consummo Consulting, which specializing in helping brands run any and all aspects of their gift card program. He also provides business development for technology companies that support the gift card industry and does so for eGifter.
Email Todd: firstname.lastname@example.org
LinkedIn: Todd Tomlin