By Alethea Price of Burgopak
Not two years ago, I spoke to Startups Magazine about, the role of direct mail in ‘the new norm’ (‘Isolation, you and the letterbox boom’) as a core part of your marketing suite, and still, I find myself thinking that so much, and yet so little has changed.
Thankfully now we are seeing flashes of our pre-pandemic past. No longer trapped in lock-down, or wearing masks in all situations, we are back to eating out, seeing our friends and for many of us, we’re back in our offices enjoying the comradery of our colleagues which we’ve lost through zoom and the dreaded Teams jingle (it still haunts my sleep).
We have some way to go, while for much of the population, working from home is here to stay and ‘hybrid working’ is the future. It’s really no surprise that we’ve seen such a surge in home-workers, with only 5.7% of UK workers reporting that they work exclusively from home in January/February 2020 pre-pandemic, that number rocketed to 43.1% in April 2020, in June 2021 44% of workers aged 30 – 49 were working from home, and while numbers have gradually declined there are still over 30% of UK workers, working at least in-part from home and forecasts are set to stay that way.
So how does this affect gift card delivery? What challenges might we face, and what opportunities are there to be had?
The online arena has expanded dramatically for the gift card sector, and the digital gift card has come into its own, whether for e-mail, print, wallet or more, we’ve seen great growth.
However, it is in omni-channel solutions that the true potential of your digital sales presents itself. The demand for speed, accessibility and in-home services continues to grow, but convenience is no longer the pinnacle of our needs. What really peaks our attention is the ability to choose.
With the rapid growth of digital platforms, the arena has become saturated, making digital offerings sometimes let enticing, or ‘special’. While convenient, they can also be the epitome of a last-minute gift and can become lost in the noise.
To maximise our online offerings, we must balance our service by presenting the ‘phygital’.
Consumers want the option to choose the format of their product. In the case of gift cards, that might be digital, with options for e-mail delivery, QR code or printing vouchers, or it might be a classic physical gift card with optional personalisation or premium packaging for that feeling of luxury that we all still want with the giving and receiving of a gift.
We must remember that the purchaser of a gift card is also rarely the end-user, in fact, they may have never experienced your brand before. The opportunity to tailor a gift card, allows a buyer to make gift cards something personal, and like any other physical product, ordering a physical gift card online, gives that same element of the unknown and anticipation for what will arrive. How will it look? Will it meet your expectations, or will it exceed them?
Consumers are not just hybrid working, but hybrid shopping too. To appeal to the widest audience, digital offerings can be complemented with physical delivery, bringing the brand experience into the home and hands of your loyal customers, and with choice, you also expand the market to appeal to new customers who by finding an option they think a friend might like, they may too become intrigued and become a new consumer themselves in the process.
To find out more about increasing your customer offering through physical and postal gift card solutions, please read: ‘Isolation, you and the letterbox boom’ and reach out if you have any questions about how to get started.