E-gifting is on the rise. Marketing Innovators International, Inc., a full-service agency of employee engagement and incentive programs and technologies, for example, started offering e-gift cards in 2012 for its employee and sales incentive client programs. "E-gift card redemptions for these programs grew 111 percent in 2014 from 2013," says Cindy Mielke, CPIM, vice president of marketing.
Although convenient, e-gifting can lack excitement. "Personalization is definitely critical," says Gary Lombardo, vice president of marketing for CashStar, a provider of omni-channel digital gifting solutions. "When the user experience is more personal, it becomes more engaging and impactful."
One way to personalize the experience is by understanding the recipient's past transaction experiences. "Then you can surprise them with a reward directly from a category they are interested in," adds Lombardo. Create a Buzz
Another way is to create buzz around the awarding of the e-gift on social media. Send out a tweet declaring who just earned an e-gift for working so hard.
The primary drivers for new technology adoption lie in convenience and flexibility. With the addition of loyalty programs, digital and mobile wallets are on the crest of becoming a more mainstream option for in-person and online transactions.
"Loyalty program users are more likely to engage in e-gifting if they receive frequent email reminders, if they've previously gifted points or miles, if they've received a rewards bonus, or if they have a co-branded credit card," explains Christopher Barnard, president of Points.
Users of Points have shared some heartfelt stories about how they've gifted or transferred miles to family members and friends. One user even gifted airline miles so that an unemployed friend could visit a sick family member.
Programs can leverage that memory-creating capability by letting users know that buying, gifting, and transferring points or miles is one of the program's key features, adds Barnard. Points' preliminary research has shown that loyalty program users crave flexibility and want a variety of earning/redemption options in the programs that they join. E-gifting provides a benefit that can be meaningful to both the giver and the recipient. Supporting the process on any device and giving users the opportunity to share info about it on social media makes e-gifting a seamless, satisfying, and social experience.