Start-up eyes $4 bn. gift card pie

As appeared in The Hindu on 22 April 2017 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.


The Business of Gift Cards Is Here To Stay In India

As appeared in Entrepreneur India on 20 April 2017 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.


Highlights of the Qwikcilver Gift Card Conclave 2017

Qwikcilver gift card conclave

The Qwikcilver Gift Card Conclave 2017, was organised by Qwikcilver Solutions, one of the pioneers in the gift card industry in India, on 19th April 2017 at the ITC Gardenia Hotel in Bangalore. This first-of-its-kind event in India and Asia saw some of the best minds come together to discuss and share insights on the Future of Gifting.

Ms. Vasanthi Hari, the emcee for the day, kick-started the event along with Mr. Pratap Thoppil, the Co-founder and CMO of Qwikcilver Solutions. They were joined on stage by Mr. Kumar Sudarshan, Co-founder & CEO of Qwikcilver Solutions, who extended a warm welcome to the guests comprising CXOs of leading brands and industry stalwarts.

The key addresses were delivered by eminent personalities from different sectors. Mr. G Padmanabhan, Chairman of Bank of India and former Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India, shared important insights from a regulatory perspective. Ms. Jayashree Parthasarathy, Partner – Indirect Tax Practice at Ernst & Young presented and addressed queries around the impact of GST on gift cards. Mr. Nicholas Roche, Vice President of Sales at Blackhawk took the audience through the gifting trends in the International market.

The first panel discussion was titled “Dil Chahta hai”. The panel consisted of Mr. Vinay Bhatia, CEO – Group Loyalty and Analytics of Future Group, Mr. Rajeev Krishnan, Managing Director & CEO of Spar Hypermarkets, Landmark Group, Mr. Shariq Plasticwala, Senior Manager at Amazon India and Ms. Suparna Mitra, CMO of Titan Company Ltd. The panel discussion centered around Gift Cards becoming an inherent strategic component of the portfolio for the Brand & Retailer and how Brands need to shape up in the new era going ahead.

“If Tomorrow Comes” was the second panel discussion, which explored the idea of Gift Cards becoming the most preferred gifting choice for Indian weddings & festivals, the tipping point being Here & Now. The stellar line of panelists were Ms. Rajshree Bakshi, Global Vice President of Marketing at Taj Hotels, Mr. Srinivas Rao, CMO of Lifestyle, Landmark Group, Mr. KG George, Senior Vice President – Retail at TTK Prestige, Mr. Bimalendu Tarafdar, Marketing Head of Wonderla Holidays Ltd and Mr. Chetan Kumar, Vice President at Saavn Media Pvt. Ltd.

The third panel discussion – “The World Is Not Enough” looked at how corporates, enterprises and institutions in India have been the fastest adopters of the new age Gift Card Technology Platforms. The expert panelists comprised Mr. Hari Kumar, Director of Flipkart, Mr. Prashant Tandon, SVP at Kotak Mahindra Bank, Mr.Sridhar, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at USL-Diageo, Mr. Abhishek Sinha, National Sales Development Manager at Britannia Industries Limited and Ms. Kankana Barua, Chief People Officer at Tally Solutions.

Mr. Kishore Biyani, Group CEO of Future Group, and Mr. Govind Shrikhande, Customer Care Associate & MD of Shoppers Stop, who were unable to be physically present at the conclave addressed the gathering via pre-recorded video messages.

Qwikcilver was proud to launch the gift card programs of two big brands – Future Group’s Big Bazaar and Raymond which were unveiled during the event. Besides the new launches, existing brands, such as MakeMyTrip, Dineout and Spar, showcased their Gift Card Programs powered by Qwikcilver.

The event drew to a close with all the attendees enriched with a lot of insights and information about the future of gifting – the Qwikcilver Gift Card Conclave.



Planning your wedding? Here’s how you can receive wedding gifts that you will actually like and use.

Wedding gifts come in all sizes and packages. But most of the times, they end up being the same. Mixer grinders, pressure cookers, cutlery sets – you know the list! And when you get them in aplenty you have no choice but to give them away or recycle them as gifts for another wedding. Because of this, many couples these days prefer gift cards over traditional gift items.

Here are a few reasons why couples prefer gift cards as wedding gifts:

“We get to select exactly what we want.”

wedding gift card

With gift cards you can shop for products and services of your own choice – be it appliances for your new home, furnishings or home décor pieces that suit your individual tastes, cutlery sets as per your own needs and liking, or even go on already-paid dinner dates or trips with restaurant, hotel and travel gift cards. Spa therapies post all the frenetic wedding activities is another favourite with couples who receive gift cards.

“They are very convenient to use.”

wedding gift card

Gift cards are simple to use, both online and at stores. With gift cards from brands like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra you can shopping online on these platforms (or on their respective apps). All you need to do is key in the gift card number and pin to make the payment online. At stores, such as Shoppers Stop, Marks & Spencer, Lifestyle and the like you share the gift card number and pin with the cashier at the billing counter, instead of making your payment via cash or your credit / debit cards.

“Conveys the thought behind the gift.”

Woohoo gift card

There is a certain sense of warmth and personal touch in gift cards. The packaging gives you the feeling of a gift, at the same time conveying the thought that went behind it. Individual tastes and needs differ. By gifting a gift card the gift giver acknowledges this fact and conveys the intention of wanting to cater to the tastes and needs of the couple.

“The gift itself becomes an experience.”

Woohoo gift card

Every time you use a gift card is in itself an experience, creating memories that you will cherish. Going on shopping sprees, trips or dinner dates weeks or months after the wedding – all of these as gifts from your friends and family – are sure to be treasured and remembered much more than mere products or items. Isn’t that what gifts are meant to do?

“We can use them at leisure, once we’ve settled in after the wedding.”

woohoo gift card

The validity of gift cards usually range from 6 to 12 months. This gives you ample amount of time to use them at leisure, after having settled in post the wedding celebrations.

“With some gift cards we could even choose the brands we prefer.”

The only disadvantage of a brand specific gift card is that you can only use it to pick products from that specific brand. The Woohoo gift card, however, solves this problem. You can use a Woohoo gift card to select gift cards from different brands as per your own choice (most of the top apparel, electronics, home decor / furnishing, salon / spa, restaurant and hotel brands such as Myntra, Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Amazon, Flipkart, Lakme etc are available on Woohoo). For instance, if you prefer shopping online you could go for brands like Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra. If you enjoy visiting stores to pick appliances or other products you could use your Woohoo gift card to get Croma gift cards. If you would like to take a break and go on a trip, you could use it to get MakeMyTrip or Cleartrip gift cards. Gift cards from The Oberoi group or hotels and salons like Lakme can also be got with a Woohoo gift card.

Group Gifting (coming soon)

In case your friends are pooling in for your wedding gift, you could suggest a Woohoo gift card. More advance group gifting features are coming shortly on Woohoo. The feature will make it simpler for groups of people to pool in their share directly for the gift.

If you’re wondering how to let your guests know your preference for gift cards, maybe you could make it known to them by adding gift cards to your wedding registry. Or if you’d like to get some inspiration on how a few couples went about it, here are a few samples.

wedding gift card

wedding gift card

wedding gift card







Schedule for the Qwikcilver Gift Card Conclave

The Qwikcilver Gift Card Conclave, the first of its kind in India and Asia, will be held on 19th April 2017 at ITC Gardenia, Bangalore.

Envisioned by Qwikcilver, the company that has been the Pioneer of the Gift Card category in India, the Conclave will bring together great minds from the corporate world, retail thinkers, e-commerce stalwarts and marketing professionals from India and across the world!

The panel discussion, titled “Dil Chahta Hai” will explore how gift cards have come to become an inherent strategic component of the portfolio for the brand and retailer and how brands would need to shape-up in the future.

“If Tomorrow Comes” will see panelists sharing their thoughts on how gift cards would be the most preferred gifts for Indian weddings and festivals.

The discussion titled “The World is Not Enough” will revolve around corporates, enterprises and institutions in India being the fastest adopters of the new age gift card technology platforms.

The keynote addresses will be delivered by Mr. G. Padmanabhan, Chairman of the Bank of India and a former Executive Director of the RBI, and Mr. Nicholas Roche, VP South-East Asia of the Blackhawk Network. Mr. G. Padmanabhan’s address will delve into the opportunities that lie ahead, from a regulatory point of view, while Mr. Nicholas Roche will take a look a look at the gift card trends in the international markets.

Besides witnessing the launch of a new gift card, the Conclave will also showcase the best practices by trusted brands and corporates for driving innovation in engagements for their consumers, employees and partners, and the role of Qwikcilver in facilitating the launch of various Gift Card Programs by these brands.