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  The Indian Gift Card industry has seen the quickest adoption in the Corporate and B2B world. This is expected as the Gift Card is an incredibly powerful reward and loyalty tool for the corporate world. Take the case where Abhishek Sinha, National Sales Development Manager,Britannnia was faced with a massive and a highly heterogenous network of distributors and wholesalers spread across the country. To have a system that would accommodate the requirements and choices of each one in that vast network definitely gives an edge for the business and the loyalty the brand strives for. A parallel situation was experienced when Kotak Mahindra Bank wanted to gratify their diverse set of customers whenever they opened a savings account. Prasanth Tandon, SVP, Kotak Mahindra Bank, credited Qwikcilver and the Woohoo E-Gift Card for enabling instant customer gratification and permanent customer satisfaction. Though similar in size and number, the distributor network which has been critical for the success of a brand like USL-Diageo, has not had its fair share of rewards. The problem stemmed from the low penetration of technology amongst the largely ignored last mile of distribution. B Sridhar, who is the Chief Digital Marketing Office at Diageo-USL, employed solutions from Qwikcilver to effectively tackle the problem and in the process has earned the loyalty of his last mile distributors. Closer to the corporate world, employees and their happiness is what keeps Kankana Baruah, Chief People Officer, Tally on her toes. A happy workforce requires much motivation and employee rewards form a crucial part. From the days of “Cash gifts” to physical gift items which quickly get tagged as repetitive, low quality, useless etc.; organizations across are trying to find the smarter way of rewarding their employees. Thee gift card is the start of the solution to this problem and in one stroke addresses multiple issues that arises in employee rewards – inventory management, quality assurance, packaging and operational issues and most important of them all the employee satisfaction.  For large organizations like Flipkart the immediate tangible benefit of completely avoiding the inventory management hassles and reducing the cost of the same is a huge factor in going the Woohoo way. Hari Kumar who heads Retail : Electronic Devices, Gaming and Gift cards at Flipkart also adds that the power of choice with the Gift Card in hand is not lost upon the end beneficiary who appreciates the reward that much more. With such benefits backing it, it is no wonder that Gift Card Technology platforms have been adopted the fastest by corporate, enterprises and institutions.
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A tricky question, “Do we really know which gift to get for our loved one?”  On this note started the 2nd panel discussion where the panelists recounted their own funny and not so funny experiences of gifts that have backfired. From personal gifting experiences to gifting experiences at weddings, this discussion had it all. The panel led by our moderator Vasanthi dove headlong into the opportunities and challenges for gifting presented by the Great Indian Weddings. The panelists opined that in India gifting is wide spread activity in India, yet we hesitate to ask for a gift, as is evident from the absence of the concept of Wedding Registry. Srinivas Rao, CMO, Lifestyle pointed out that we Indians meticulously scratch off the price tag before we gift, and hence there is bound to be a hesitation in gifting a value based gift card. The Indian “gifter” has however started to gift experiential gifts like a spa experience or travel experience especially during weddings is what Rajshree Bakshi, Global VP – Marketing, Taj Hotels has observed. This same point was echoed by Bimalendu Tarafdar, Marketing Head, Wonderla Holidays and Chetan Kumar, VP, Saavn Media. For KG George, Senior VP, TTK Prestige, whose brand category is already a preferred Wedding Gift, the Gift Card program adds a layer of choice for the consumer of the gift and it also drives footfalls to their exclusive stores. The panelists concurred that while there does exists some reluctance on the part of the customer to pick up a gift card to gift, there is definitely a need for brands to push for innovation in the way gift cards are perceived, sold and experienced in the market today.
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This was the first panel discussion of the Qwikcilver Gift Card Conclave 2017. The disucssion began with a witty Q&A session by the moderator Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO Retailer’s Association of India, where he engaged the audience on why they chose to gift. The candid answers paved the way forward for the panel discussion.

Gifting is an emotional activity and emotions are fundamental to the act of gifting. Formalizing the act of gifting reduces it to an obligation and takes away the joy in gifting says Rajeev Krishnan, MD & CEO Spar Hypermarkets. Gifting has also moved away from occasions and is now an act which is not bound by any occasion or dates. Any day can be someone’s special day. This change in customer behaviour is one of the most visible changes today says Suparna Mitra, CMO Titan. Titan, a brand known for making a gift out of a wrist watch in India is now engaging with the “impulse gifting” customer.

From being a sort of gamble and lottery in picking out the right gift, today’s customer and consumer is seeking more and more. Flexibility in the act of gifting is most sought after and consumers want to have a flexible gifting option, opine Shariq Plasticwala who heads the Amazon wallet and gift card program. The Gift Card highlights that flexibility.  Similarly, a gift card also promotes brand loyalty whilst introducing the brand to new customers. This has been a learning the Future Group, reveals Vinay Bhatia, CEO-Group Loyalty and Analytics. Wrapping up the engaging panel discussion the moderator Kumar Rajagopalan called upon the brands to make use of the opportunity presented by the Gift Cards in taking the business forward as well as grab a greater share of the pie than what is the current situation.

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2017

As appeared in by Business Standard Vinay Umarji. 

Issuance of physical and digital gift cards up 150% to over 50 million

GiftCards

Physical and digital gift cards are emerging as a major source of footfalls and sales for retailers across categories. The number of digital or e-gift card transactions has risen three-fold in the last three years, while physical gift card transactions have grown by 41 per cent between 2014-15 and 2016-17. According to a study by Qwikcilver, an end-to-end service provider in the pre-paid gift card space, issuances of both physical and digital gift cards have risen by 150 per cent in 2016-17 to over 50 million, up from over 20 million in 2015-16. “The act of ‘gifting’ is at the crossroads of social and commerce, which arguably, are the two biggest key drivers of consumer consumption. The gifting category in India is also undergoing massive transformation. A continuously widening consumer base, combined with a wide array of gifting options ensures that the category will continue to grow. Qwikcilver is the pioneer in the gift card sector, having powered close to US$1.3 billion worth of gift cards across categories through our robust SaaS based platform,” said TP Pratap, Co-Founder & CMO, Qwikcilver. As per the study, retail consumers are found to be spending anywhere between 50 per cent to 400 per cent over and above the gift card value, with 54 per cent of them redeeming them every 30 days, followed by 26 per cent redeeming them every 60 days. In fact, players like Future Group and Shoppers Stop have altogether launched separate divisions to tackle the growing gifting business. For Future Group, gifting alone is anticipated to touch a revenue of Rs 1000 crore. Giftcards infographics “We believe that gifting is one of the biggest social interactions and social events in our society. At Future Group, we believe that gifting will be a very big business for us, which maybe touching Rs 1000 crore very soon. We have launched a separate division and a new organisation to manage this business – called Future Gifting. This will handle all the Gifting related business of the Future Group. In partnership with Qwikcilver, we have launched Gift Cards, e-Gift Cards and Gift Vouchers for all our formats to be sold and managed through Qwikcilver,” Kishore Biyani, Group CEO, Future Group stated recently at the Gift Card Conclave. According to Qwikcilver, the digital gift card is rapidly gaining growth, contributing almost 65-70 per cent to the overall sales mix in the category, even as the sales mix is expected to stabilise over time, at around 80 per cent digital and 20 per cent physical. From a 61:39 ratio between physical and digital gift cards in 2014-15, the mix has changed to 38:62 in 2016-17. In terms of average load value, which is the total sales value with respect to the total number of cards sold, the ALV has been observed to be higher for utility as well as premium brands. For instance, in 2016-17, the ALV stood highest for hospitality sector at Rs 9,750, followed by spa/saloon at Rs 3,067, online travel at Rs 2,848, electronics Rs 2,649, accessories at Rs 1,573 and apparel at Rs 1,571, respectively. What has helped retailers is in form of uplift, which is measured as the increase in bill value over the gift card value. Gift cards have, apparently, led to consumers spending anywhere between 50 per cent and 400 per cent over and above the gift card value, depending on category. Moreover, increasingly customers are also redeeming their gift cards often, resulting in higher sales for retailers. For the financial year 2016-17, the study found that about 54 per cent of customers redeemed at an average of within 30 days of gift card purchase or re-load. This was followed by 26 per cent redeeming it within 60 days, 13 per cent in 90 days and 8 per cent within 180 days. Meanwhile, according to Pratap, an integrated omni-channel retail experience across categories of retail, e-commerce, hospitality, travel, gift cards and e-gift cards are fast becoming the preferred gifting choice of the new-age consumer
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2017

As appeared on The Hindu by Peerzada Abrar.  

Qwikcilver is the single largest service provider in the prepaid space. Bengaluru-based Qwikcilver aims to manage gift card transactions worth $4 billion in the next two years. The start-up has a 90% market share in the gift card segement, the firm’s co-founder Pratap T. P. said in an interview. “We are looking at $4 billion of throughput (for gift cards) being managed,” said Mr. Pratap, 47-year-old co-founder and director of Qwikcilver. “We are not saying that we have invented gifting. It is the oldest hobby in Indian mythology. But we are packaging gifting fundamentally to the new age Indian consumer.” The gifting industry in India is estimated to be worth about $40 billion and about 2% of it comprises the ‘gift card’ category. This is an opportunity that new-age firms may not have tapped so far.

Prepaid card A ‘gift card’ is a prepaid payment card issued by a retailer or a bank to be used as a substitute for cash for purchases in a specific store or affiliated businesses. Qwikcilver has become the single largest end-to-end service provider in the prepaid gift card space to the retail and services industries in India, South Asia and West Asia The company said that it powers nine out of every 10 gift cards and e-gift cards in India and West Asia.They are being used for occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and various festivals.

 

An alumnus of BITS Pilani, Mr. Pratap founded Qwikcilver in 2008 along with his batch mate Kumar Sudarsan. The firm has built a software-as-a-service platform and in-house technology that manages the entire gift card programme of retailers. This includes design, storage and transactions pertaining to it. Qwikcilver sells this technology to customers such as Amazon, Flipkart and Tata Group. The platform has been deployed in more than 10,000 brand stores across the country. Last year it managed 200 million transactions worth ₹3,000 crore. “Gift card actually drives footfalls for the retailers. Once you enter the store, you will end up spending more than the value of the gift card,” said Mr. Sudarsan, aged 48. Qwikcilver is backed by marquee investors such as Amazon, Accel, Helion and Sistema.

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2017
Qwikcilver GiftCards
As appeared in Entrepreneur India by Sneha Banerjee. 

The custom of gifting is infused in Indian culture and value system. Gifts have always played an important role in traditional occasions like religious festivals, anniversaries and weddings. They have assumed a significant role in modern age celebrations, involving millennials, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and a host of other such occasions. Though Indians are particular about issues like size of the gift, packaging and are always careful enough to remove the price tags, several factors have now emerged that are bound to motivate them to use e-gift cards and gift cards. A survey by Qwikcilver reveals e-gift card transaction has increased threefold in the past three years. Even the purchase of gift cards has risen exponentially, displaying a growth rate of 41 per cent in the 2016-17 financial year, compared to 2014-15. The industry is estimated to have the potential to touch $40 billion mark in the Indian market as per industry estimates. Panelists at the Future of Gifting Conclave, held in Bangalore earlier this week, spoke about factors which, they believe, will drive the use of gift cards in years to come

1. More Reasons To Make Merry
The emergence of a number of widely marketed occasions has taken the art of gifting to a whole new level. Apart from the regular ones, people prefer to gift their near and dear ones on occasions like Valentine’s Day, Father’s/Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving among others. Gift cards are crafted to suit these functions and are tailor made to suit customers’ requirements.

2. Digital Drive The emergence of ‘Digital India’ happened much before the official campaign started by the government of India in the form of e-gift cards. India’s urge to make digital payments will force people to prefer e-cards and gift cards over the traditional practice of exchanging money inside closed envelopes.

3. Formal Occasions Gift cards can be a savior in formal occasions and parties, where one does not have a clue of what the host would prefer as gifts. Industry events and corporate parties are occasions where people want to give expensive gifts that will make the receiver truly happy. A well-packaged gift card with a nice brand name on it serves the purpose perfectly.

4. Democratization Of Gifts Gift items have also evolved over the years. Jewellery, cash and cookware are now considered mundane items. The general craze is for a whole new range of innovative, customized articles. Coupons for health spas and salons, movie tickets, sponsored honeymoon packages and healthcare visits are some of the other new options that are gradually gaining traction.

5. The Guilt Of Distance Today, most of us are forced to stay away from our loved ones because of educational or professional priorities. We love to send gifts to our family and friends on special occasions, for being away from them. E-gift cards come to the rescue of consumers who can ship their love in the form of tailor-made gift cards. This also helps those who are looking for instant gift solutions. It is also useful in group-gifting situations. According to Qwikcilver, gift cards are a ‘unicorn growth’ category in India and have developed at a significantly faster pace here than any other western country. Retailers and e-retailers, who were quick to adopt the gift card category, have now built a highly lucrative, additional revenue generation system.
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2016
As appeared in The Economic Times . 

The gift card segment in India is likely to get a huge boost this festive season with projected growth of 400% over the last year, according to the Qwikcilver Gift Card Survey. The survey was carried out across 400 towns across 10,000 points of sale and also factored in the buying behaviour of 4,00,000 shoppers on Woohoo, the company’s ecommerce platform. Qwikcilver cofounder Pratap said gift cards were becoming the preferred gifting option, with the company averaging almost 3-4million cards a month.
Giftcard Infographics
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2016
As appeared in Times Of India by Madhav Chanchani. 

Riding on the back of the fast growing Indian etailing market, gifting card solutions provider Qwikcilver sees the value of active cards on its platform reach . 2,000 crore by the end of March.` The company, which counts Amazon among its investors, expects to increase this value further five fold in the next three years. Giftcards Infographics Qwikcilver has over 150 brands on board, of which 30% are online players. Two years ago, online pla yers accounted for 10% of the brands on its platform. With proliferation of online brands, Qwikcilver also sees the share of digital gift cards increasing to 60% in three years from 20% now. “We have 1.2-crore active gift cards in circulation, which we expect to increase to 2 crore by March,“ said Pratap TP, chief mar keting officer at Qwikcilver.

Pratap co-founded the company along with Kumar Sudarshan in 2008. Pratap said the weighted average value of cards is `. 2,500. Qwikcilver, which is backed by venture capital firms Accel Partners and Helion Venture Partners, charges merchants 1% to 3.5% of the activation value of cards. While Flipkart was one its first ecommerce clients, the firm also has Cleartrip, Snapdeal, MakeMyTrip, Amazon, Hoopos.com and Yepme among its clients. The firm sells gift cards of Amazon and other brands online. The gift-cards category has become one of the fastest growing segments for etailers. According to Amazon, the cards retail and corporate businesses has seen a 500% year-on-year growth in India. For Qwikcilver, growth was not easy in the initial years. “We believe this growth should have happened three years ago,“ said Pratap. The company raised $10 million in a round led by Amazon in December 2014.
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The Indian gift card market is expected to receive fresh funding of up to $50 million which will enable key players such as Amazon-backed QwikCilver Solutions to ride the next wave of growth in digital cards. Increasing consumer adoption of gift cards over the last two years, especially digital gift cards over physical cards, has seen QwikCilver’s sales growing 300 per cent year-on-year. The ₹3,000-crore Indian gift market card is expected to touch ₹9,000 crore by FY-2018. Qwikcilver Cofounder TP Pratap, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, QwikCilver Solutions Pvt Ltd, told BusinessLinethat currently, 5 million gift cards worth ₹1,000 crore are in circulation activated by the 100 brands the company has partnered with across 20 different consumption categories, spanning departmental stores, food & beverages, e-commerce, retail fashion chains, PVR entertainment, among others. “The fresh infusion of funds by our partner brands will take us to the next level of growth, where we are aiming for ₹3,000 crore in sales by March, enabled by QwikCilver gift cards,” Pratap said. Founded in 2008 by Kumar Sudarsan, TP Pratap and Bhaskar Vasudevan, the start-up raised $10 million in Series C funding in December, led by Amazon Asia Pacific with participation from its existing investors, Helion Venture Partners and Accel Partners. The start-up recently acquired Sourcen, a mobile technology start-up, for its team of 12 who specialise in mobile app development. While the acquisition did not involve a cash payout, stock options have been given to some of the key members of the Sourcen team. “We were working with Sourcen over the last six months on developing Woohoo, a mobile app we launched last month that aggregates multiple payments options for consumers to transact at various retail outlets. We decided to acquire Sourcen and will ramp up the team by hiring mobile developers who will help integrate multiple currencies such as MobiKwik, Paytm, Vodafone and airline currencies to our platform” said Pratap. To support its growth, the company has made a spate of high profile hires over the last 12 months. QwikCilver hired Sanjay Tambwekar as its CTO, from NetApp; Saurabh Sharma to head product management, from Google; Anu Mathew to head Human Resources, from HCL Infosystems; Mahesh Bhalla to head Sales, from Dell and Gyaneshwaran to head Operations from IBM. The headcount has grown from 100 people, eight months ago to 250 people today. On hiring-spree “We are in the process of doubling our headcount over the next 12 months and are ramping up our core technology team of 25 to 75 over the next three months,” said Pratap. QwikCilver also has its own website, GiftBig.com (now Woohoo.in) that sells gift cards usable on any of the 100 brands that it has partnered with. Sourcethehindubusinessline.com
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2014
Qwikcilver, India’s pioneering & leading Gift Card Technology company is set to take the next big leap this festive season. Qwikcilver who currently enjoys 90% market share in the Gift Card processing technology segment is projecting this segment to sell 30 lakh Gift Cards this coming festive season. The last fiscal year, the company reported a category sales of 25 lakh Gift Cards and this year it is projecting to further leverage this growing trend and driving sales of over 30 lakh gift cards. Despite the slowdown in the economy and the falling rupee, Qwikcilver and its other initiatives continue to aim high. The company is certain about achieving their aims owing to the trusted retailers an brands adopting this category; various denominations and the extensive variety of brands available under Qwikcilver that are custom made to suit every pocket size. Gift cards are available from Rs 200 going up to Rs 50,000 depending on the retail category. Qwikcilver is funded by well-established Venture-Capitalist firms, Helion Venture Partners and Accel Partner. Founded in 2008 by Indian Retail and IT Industry professionals from BITS-PIlani-IIM, the robust Qwikcilver Gift Card Platform manages more than 100 India’s leading brands and corporates. The bourgeoning Gift card market has shown a 300 percent growth over the last fiscal. The Qwikcilver gift card programs have been deployed across more than 300 Indian cities in over 6,000 premium brand outlets and portals and are growing constantly. The company has launched all variants of gift cards in India – plastic physical gift cards, virtual gift cards, mobile-based gift cards. In terms of the target market, psycho graphically the core consumers are urban-city dwellers who love gifting the freedom of choice to their near and dear ones. Mr. Pratap TP, Co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Qwikcilver Solutions adds, “Over the last three years, the festive season off-take of gift cards has seen a spike ranging from 150 to 200 percent across retail categories. Brands and retailers have also driven the off-take by making their gift cards increasingly available with better merchandising, visibility, and packaging with gifting themes to suit the festive occasions. The uplift witnessed by retailers through their respective gift card programs range from 150 percent to as high as uplift of 400 percent. This makes the gift card a key driver and strategic part of the product portfolio.” Commented Kumar Sudarsan, Co-Founder & Director, “Qwikcilver has established trust & credibility with long-term strategic partnerships with India’s leading brands and retailers such as Tata – Trent, Titan, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Reliance Brands, Cafe Coffee Day, Shoppers Stop, HUL-Bru Cafe, Landmark, Lifestyle, Starbazaar, Westside, Flipkart, Makemytrip, Microsoft, Yahoo, Intel, Satya Paul, Peter England, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Louis Philippe, Arvind Brands, TTK Prestige, Raymond, Celio, Hidesign, Holii, Puma, Calvin Klein, French Connection, Arrow, William Penn, Pavers England, Sapna Book House, Fastrack, PVR Cinemas, Helios, Starmark, Titan Eye Plus, Viveks, YLG, O2Spa, Mast Kalandar, Babyoye, Yepme, and Printo among others”. The company also runs an online gift card portal GiftBig.com, the e-tailing brand portal also known as “India’s first fully integrated online gift card mall” It has also grown to become India’s most preferred destination for gift card fans of over100 trusted brands. The portal has now launched “Instagifts”, an instant gifting innovation for anywhere in the country Source: The Techpanda
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