Consumers have begun an organic transition into mobile payments and digital currencies. They are slowly filing cash, check, and credit cards right into the history book, next to the floppy disks and video tapes.
One example of this is the steady increase in demand for cell phone cases that come equipped with built in credit card slots. Consumers are naturally inclined to forgo the paper and plastic and move towards options that provide a simpler, more convenient method of payment.
Take, for example, Accenture’s 2014 North America Consumer Payments Survey where they studied 4,000 consumers in the United States to conclude that nearly half of them are already using mobile payment options, a 24% increase since 2012. What’s more, Whole Foods Market just announced to The Wall Street Journal that it has processed 150,000 Apple Pay transactions in their first three weeks of integration, estimated at around 1% of the company’s sales, the same market share percentage Steve Jobs set as the first year target for the iPhone.
I know what your thinking, how does this relate to gift cards?
This trend, geared towards electronic payments, is mirrored in the gift card industry. 59% of the 62 gift cards surveyed by Bankrate.com as part of its 2014 Gift Card Survey are now offered in digital form. Ben Jackson, director of Mercator Advisory Group's prepaid advisory service, tells Bankrate that, "Retailers and shoppers are getting more comfortable with the idea of a digital gift card and it's going to continue to grow, just like everything else is becoming more digital.”
Here are 4 bonuses that electronic gift card’s will bring to you:
- Quick fix - They can be purchased online or with a smartphone and then sent to the recipient via email, text message, app or even Facebook.
- Never lost - They don't take up excess real estate in your wallet and and they will never be tossed in the abyss of the junk drawer.
- Easy loyalty program solution - Merchants are beginning to pair their digital gift cards with existing or enhanced loyalty programs.
- Personalization - Ben Jackson personalizes his digital gift cards in his own way, "If I want to send you a (digital) gift card and I want to put a picture of me as a dancing elf on it, I can do that."