APEX Panel: Designing for Success in Digital Gifting
For retailers and brands setting their sights on digital gifting, it’s important to maintain a strong focus on card design and delivery to ensure the best possible customer experience, said a group of retail and gifting experts this week at the All Payments Expo in New Orleans. Devoting the time and effort to creating a well-designed program—whether working with a third-party partner or in-house—can reap major benefits for the brand, according to panelists.
For many brands, the relatively low cost and nimble production and delivery of digital offer the advantage of being able to update gift card offerings frequently and represents an opportunity to experiment with different designs, noted Sophie Harwood, manager, corporate products and gift cards for Cineplex Entertainment, one of Canada’s largest movie theater operators. Digital production enables Cineplex to offer new cards about every month to feature designs based on current films and seasonality, she said. “We also use [digital cards] as a way of testing future plastic cards. If we have what we think is a good idea, we’re not going to print the full volume of plastic cards before we test it with digital to see what the desire is for that particular design,” Harwood added.
Holly Glowaty, co-founder of retail gifting consultancy K+H Connection, agreed. “Digital is a great space to do testing. Be innovative; try to push boundaries and see what your customers respond to,” she recommended. “It’s a low-cost way to try something new.”
The flexibility of digital also makes it easy to offer channel-specific designs, enabling brands to tailor gift cards for direct consumers, loyalty or incentive programs, noted Jo-Anne Pusateri, senior manager, corporate gift cards, partner programs and loyalty at Hudson’s Bay Company. “In loyalty or incentive, it’s important to the sponsor that the recipient can associate the reward with the activity that originated that reward,” she noted. “Digital makes it much easier for our retail or loyalty program partners to co-brand the card,” she said, adding that Hudson’s Bay is working with some of its clients on a service that enables reward recipients to digitally turn the reward card into a generic gift card that can then be gifted to a friend or relative.