Festive Gift­ing

The gift-card in­dus­try in In­dia has grown by leaps and bounds in the past years, with 10 mil­lion cards sold an­nu­ally. The pur­chase of gift cards has risen ex­po­nen­tially, dis­play­ing a 41 per cent growth in 2016-17 over the pre­vi­ous fis­cal. G-cards is a gro

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Front Page - By Sachin Goel

For re­tail­ers, gift cards is a grow­ing seg­ment and a rev­enue gen­er­a­tor

With the festive sea­son on, gift cards are trend­set­ters in terms of their ease-of-use. The nov­elty lies in mak­ing them ap­pear sen­si­tive and car­ing enough so as to of­fer the re­ceiver a wide range of presents to choose from. In more ways than one, the value of gift cards go a step be­yond the essence of O Henry’s clas­sic tale, The Gift of Magi, which un­der­scores the im­mense value of gifts in spread­ing love, trust and com­pas­sion in the world we live in.

The Gift of the Magi story goes like this: Della Dilling­ham Young is a beau­ti­ful woman with brown, knee-length hair. She is poor and has only $1.87 in her house­hold. Come Christ­mas, she has to gift some­thing to her lov­ing hus­band Jim. Della sells her hair and with the money she buys him an el­e­gant chain for his pocket watch he so cov­ets. All happy and ex­cited, Della re­turns home with the pre­cious gift and waits for her hus­band’s re­turn from work. But alas! Jim had sold his pocket watch in or­der to buy an or­na­men­tal comb for his lovely wife’s long tresses! With the touch­ing story, O Henry brought alive the poignancy of pre­cious sac­ri­fices. It re­minds you of the Gift of the Magi, the three wise men who were first to see baby Je­sus af­ter his birth. The wise men brought gifts of gold, sym­bol­iz­ing the Son of Lord’s king­ship on earth; frank­in­cense, a sym­bol of the de­ity that Je­sus was to be­come, myrrh and em­balm­ing oil, for Je­sus died at the cross for the sake of mankind.

The prac­tice of gift­ing is in­grained in our value sys­tem. Gifts have al­ways been im­por­tant in fes­ti­vals, an­niver­saries, wed­dings and on other spe­cial oc­ca­sions. In­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ships are a cen­trifu­gal force in In­dia, be it in our daily lives or in busi­ness. Gifts, within that realm, are an ex­ten­sion of this whole process. Man­age­ment con­sul­tant Technopak es­ti­mates that the to­tal size of In­dian cor­po­rate & per­sonal gift­ing mar­ket put to­gether is about Rs. 250,000 crore to­day, more than five times the Delhi State Bud­get pro­posal for the on­go­ing fis­cal.

No won­der that the gift-card in­dus­try in In­dia has grown by leaps and bounds in the past years, with 10 mil­lion cards sold an­nu­ally. The pur­chase of gift cards has risen ex­po­nen­tially, dis­play­ing a 41 per cent growth in 2016-17 over the pre­vi­ous fis­cal. The in­dus­try is es­ti­mated to have the po­ten­tial to touch the $40-bil­lion mark.

These days, the gift­ing cul­ture goes be­yond show­ing happy in­ten­tions to your loved ones. Peo­ple are far more sen­si­tive and ra­tional about their choice of gifts. The sender of the gift takes into con­sid­er­a­tion sev­eral things be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion – the personality, likes and dis­likes of the re­ceiver, need of the gift in one’s life, etc. Many a time, these as­pects are tough to an­a­lyze. In this sit­u­a­tion, gift cards come to the res­cue.

In the e-com­merce and start-up in­dus­try, gift­ing through ‘g-cards’ is now a grow­ing seg­ment. It gen­er­ates im­pres­sive sales and is a reg­u­lar source of rev­enue gen­er­a­tion for the por­tal and new busi­nesses. Pop­u­lar on­line shop­ping des­ti­na­tions and sin­gle-brand re­tail­ers keep com­ing up with ‘Gift Card Pro­grams’ for their con­sumer base – be it for pro­mo­tional pur­poses, bonus or top-up in­cen­tives. The cards can be re­deemed in­stantly and they are some­times time-bound too to catch the pleas­ant el­e­ment of sur­prise and won­der­ment.

The to­tal size of In­dian cor­po­rate & per­sonal gift­ing mar­ket put to­gether is about Rs. 250,000 crore to­day, more than five times the Delhi State Bud­get pro­posal for the on­go­ing fis­cal.

The e-com­merce in­dus­try has ac­tu­ally fur­ther eased the process of gift­ing with dig­i­ti­za­tion. With e-gift cards, one some­times feels that the emer­gence of ‘Dig­i­tal In­dia’ was much be­fore the of­fi­cial cam­paign was ush­ered by the govern­ment. In­dia’s new-found in­ter­est in dig­i­tal pay­ments has en­cour­aged peo­ple to pre­fer e-cards and gift cards over the tra­di­tional prac­tice of money-in-en­velopes.

Now, it does not mat­ter if gift cards have phys­i­cal or vir­tual forms. For, they of­fer choices, of­ten on­line to off­line and vice-versa, in terms of giv­ing the ‘gifted’ the right and will to ex­er­cise the right to choose. With the ad­vent of dig­i­ti­za­tion, ge­o­graph­i­cal di­vides are no longer a bar­rier in the gift­ing in­dus­try to­day. E-gift cards come to the res­cue of con­sumers who wish to ship away their love and care to their loved ones via gift cards.

What has also hap­pened is that with the spread of con­sumer cul­ture, we are see­ing a rise in the will­ing­ness, po­ten­tial, abil­ity, and the affin­ity to pay for in­no­va­tive prod­ucts. This has fur­ther cre­ated a dis­tinct space for long dis­tance gift­ing. Along with the rapid adap­ta­tion of the vir­tual world, on­line gift­ing has be­come a re­al­ity. At a time when there’s the stress and busy-ness to con­sider, what bet­ter way to en­hance the on­line gift­ing ex­pe­ri­ence fur­ther by adding the mat­ter of choice with it?

With the ad­vent of dig­i­ti­za­tion, ge­o­graph­i­cal di­vides are no longer a bar­rier in the gift­ing in­dus­try to­day. E-gift cards come to the res­cue of con­sumers who wish to ship away their love and care to their loved ones via gift cards.

The writer is CEO, Homepunch.com, an In­dian on­line home ap­pli­ances mega­s­tore, of­fer­ing a wide va­ri­ety of small ap­pli­ances.

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