By Stephanie Crets
My best friend lives in a different city, so giving him an in-person birthday gift was difficult. But I know that he loves Starbucks. So, that morning, while getting my daily venti iced chai latte, I went to the gift section of my Starbucks app and sent him a digital gift card for $15. After swiping a few screens and scanning my thumbprint for payment, the gift was on its way to his inbox. I even got a notification when he opened the email.
Digital gifting is becoming a much more prevalent way of gift giving and more retailers are jumping on this trend. It enhances retailers’ brand awareness, it’s cost effective and gives them the ability to connect with the customer. Customers need a speedy and convenient way to purchase or interact with their favorite brands or stores, so they turn to their phones, which are almost always in their hands.
Tom Zalewski, general manager at Mozido, a mobile payment platform, recently presented at FMI Connect regarding the trend in digital gifting. “The key to success,” he says, “is the services that bring value to both the consumer and the merchant.”
Mobile loyalty benefits merchants because it can attract new customers, reduce churn and improve brand affiliation. Consumers find it easy to earn and redeem awards, there’s no hassle of carrying around a physical card and they can share rewards with friends.
So, mobile gifting:
- Is convenient and easy;
- Drives additional sales and incremental foot traffic from an existing customer base;
- Converts regular customers to loyal customers by increasing basket size and visit frequency;
- Builds a new customer base; and
- Can be viral.
But, as a retailer, how do you get started?
Zalewski explained that you need to give customers the “VIP experience” to make them feel like they’re receiving special treatment. You can reach your customers with mobile offers. These offers can be a wide array of coupons, limited to a user’s favorite location or saved to be redeemed at a future time.
There are two different kinds of offers. A basic offer is a quick and easy way to deliver offers to all customers with minimal data input. A campaign offer, however, has a more selective distribution for those retailers that want more flexibility and control over their delivery.
When a retailer is ready to start utilizing mobile offers and gifting, it should consider the following suggestions from Zalewski to find the mobile path to success:
- Define your mobile objectives.
- Define your gifting objectives.
- Choose your mobile partner.
- Implement the mobile and gifting solution.