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Gifting BC and AC

By Sanjay Tambwekar, CTO, Qwikcilver Solutions

Life as we know it has changed forever. At this moment, can you imagine going back to living life like we did back in 2019? Pushing to get inside a crowded metro, dancing in a jam-packed club like there’s no tomorrow or taking the kids to their favourite fast food joints without a worry in the world. Well, that was life in BC. For those of you who haven't yet heard of this: BC = Before Covid-19 and AC = After Covid-19. Our lives have been dramatically changed by this tiny virus that has spread through the world with an amazing speed. But every crisis leads to change and innovation that leaves a lasting impact and makes the world a better place. Here are some emerging trends that will be prevalent in our world AC!
  • Increased e-commerce and home delivery
  • Greater attention to health and wellness and related government initiatives
  • Increase in remote working / entertainment
  • Contactless payments
  • Increased reliance on local produce and goods
In the BC era, gifting was mostly about cash in envelopes, cookware, cutlery, appliances, gift hampers, jewelry, etc. But how will the world change with regard to gifting norms from BC to AC ?

The Perfect gift for virtual celebrations

In the AC world, social distancing is now the norm. There is a curb on the number of people in a gathering - not more than 50. It's wiser not to travel in the current situation. And so, people miss out on participating in events - even important occasions like weddings! A lot of parties are now being conducted via virtual chat rooms. While friends and family gather in front of the webcam and raise a cheer to the birthday girl, we miss the hugs and kisses. How does one gift in these situations? Choose an electronic Gift Card that can provide online shopping and contactless delivery! There is a plethora of options on Woohoo. You will certainly find one that is suitable for the occasion, one that matches the taste and the need of the individual, so that your e-gift card conveys the message that the person is special and that you care!

Gifting in the times of remote entertainment

In these times of social distancing, the BC channels of fun and entertainment - movies, restaurants, tourism - are not easily accessible. What are the options? We have taken to home-bound games, online games, and streaming platforms. We now explore travel destinations virtually, experience thrills through games, and enjoy live performances on virtual platforms. Indeed, event organizers see a new reality where they can engage many more people across the globe in a single event at much less cost! If you wish to gift someone you love with such experiences, explore our entertainment options.

A gift that is the need of the hour

Health is truly wealth. Individuals having a healthy lifestyle leads to a productive economy and thus societal wealth. In these times, we are paying more attention to cleanliness and health. Telemedicine is being used for consultations where possible. And now we have the ability to order the medicines online as well. This is particularly helpful for people who are not close to their near and dear ones that need the medical attention. And you can show that you care.

A gift to show your love and support

As the supply chains of the world get reconfigured, another change that we will see is the shift to local produce and local goods. It is also important in this situation to support the local community. Apart from the government initiatives, there will be a push from big platforms to help small businesses come online. And to help them further with cash flows, we will also see them embrace gift cards. For most of us, it will be a way to support a specialty store we love or a friend in need. And we will also see the emergence of Gift Bonds : a gift card that you buy with the promise of a slightly higher value when you agree to redeem a few months later. Here is a prime example from a much loved brand.

A safer alternative to cash and credit cards

Early in March, the World Health Organization warned that the coronavirus may spread through banknotes, and recommended using contactless payments where possible. Handing over a credit card / entering a PIN is also a problem because you touch surfaces which several other people touch. The Point of Sale devices are geared for tap and pay, and that would be the preferred option. E-gift cards can also become an alternative. The cashier systems will be geared to read the barcode and enable the payment. No contact is required. A further evolution is possible with the redemption being led by the consumer via her smartphone.

Final thoughts

The pandemic has pushed consumers to adapt new habits and behaviours that are likely to continue in the long term. With the on-going practice of social distancing, virtual celebrations are becoming common, people are looking for means of remote entertainment and consumers who were previously reluctant to shop online are now embracing e-commerce and the digital mode of payment. Once the consumer gets the taste of convenience that comes with using technology, there is no looking back. This shift in the mindset will also impact the way gifts are exchanged and the way loyalty programs work. Retailers and brands that are quick to address the changing consumer demands by leveraging technology will emerge as winners in the AC economy.

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