The World Is Not Enough: Corporates, enterprises and institutions in India have been the fastest adopters of the new age Gift Card Technology Platforms.

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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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If Tomorrow Comes: Gift Cards Shall be the most preferred gifting choice for Indian weddings & festivals

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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 panellists 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 especialy 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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Dil Chahta hai: Gift Cards have become an Inherent strategic component of the Portfolio for the Brand & Retailer. How do Brands need to shape up in the new era going ahead?

 

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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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Say it with hassle-free gift cards

As appeared in Khaleej Times on 29 May 2017 by Rohma Sadaqat

Choosing a gift for someone can be a complicated task, as a lot of thought is put into ensuring that you ultimately give them something that they appreciate.

This has led to many buyers opting to purchase a gift card as it minimises the hassle of searching for the perfect gift, and also leaves the choice of gift up to the receiver. The popularity of gift cards has only grown in recent years across the world, and provided players in the industry with a very valuable ecosystem. Qwikcilver, a technology product company pioneering end-to-end gift card and stored-value-card solutions for retail customers, has been riding the wave for many years now, both in India and most recently in the UAE.

With its flexible SaaS platform and in house capabilities, Qwikcilver manages the entire gift card programmes of retailers including design, storage, and transactions pertaining to it. Co-founder and chief marketing officer, Pratap TP, says the company has established and is leading 90 per cent of the gift card market in India. “Qwikcilver is the only provider of end to end solutions that address the technology, business, e-commerce, corporate distribution, and social commerce needs, as well as the omnichannel presence for brands and retailers. Qwikcilver has always tried to bridge their partnered brands and the consumers through technology.”

Asked about how the idea for Qwikcilver came to be, Pratap said that the company had been mapping the consumer needs for gifting and the existing state of retail markets across key markets, later embarking on changing the way gifting is enabled across the retail environment. The company established itself by mapping the needs of the market at every stage, thereby, ensuring that the needs of the ecosystem are pro-actively pioneered across more than 20 consumption segments for gifting.

The company was founded in Bangalore, India, in 2008, before making its foray into the UAE market in 2015, when it was selected as a gift card technology partner at the Middle East Retail Forum in Dubai. The company soon launched a gift card programme with Sharaf DG, Novo Cinemas, and Al Futtaim.

The biggest challenge that the company faced, Pratap says, was driving adoption at multiple levels – enterprise level, business unit level, cross functional level, and ultimately by the consumer.

“The excitement for a startup is only triggered by the complexity of the game on hand. The pavement pounding over the years and the confidence reposed in our platform and by our customers through the years has driven our mission,” he said.

The company has entered the GCC market with the intent of providing cutting edge technology for gift cards to brands and corporate groups across the region.

“Our intent is also supported by the fact that we have recently set up office in Dubai. This will boost our scaling up strategic partnerships with the leading and most trusted conglomerates and brands. We are now working on scaling up this presence with a local presence and a dedicated team in GCC to support and expand this fast growing market for Qwikcilver. This would be our first overseas foray outside India. This office will service existing clients as well as work on growing the business in the GCC region,” Pratap disclosed. Qwikcilver’s unique approach has helped them attract investors, who are eager to see what the company has planned for the future. “The commitment and pioneering role of Qwikcilver in establishing its strong leadership of the prepaid and gift card industry has been truly unique. The strong credentials and passionate team has helped build and grow a robust SaaS product company based from India,” said Kirill Kozhevnikov, MD of Insitel/Sistema Asia Fund Advisory.

Pratap noted that the company will continue to work closely with its investors, and had recently closed a fund raise that will ensure the company’s scaling initiatives over the next two years. The Qwikcilver Technology Platform is currently deployed across the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Egypt across a number of companies and consumer brands in the fashion retail, electronics retail, hypermarkets/supermarkets, luxury retail, and entertainment spaces. The company is currently working to launch innovative gift card programs for leading hotels, fashion retailers, and e-commerce brands in Middle East in the coming months.

“We would continue to work closely with our investors, who are reputed on the global markets,” Pratap said. “We are honoured to have their backing and confidence in the proposition for the long term. We have recently closed a fund raise that will ensure the scaling initiatives over the next two years. We are also constantly innovating to suit the consumer needs and also ensure that brands have all the means to reach their respective target audience.”

Asked what advice he would like to pass on to the new start-ups of today, he said: “Stay passionate; build a sustainable long term vision and business; and stay humble, stay hungry, and stay strong.”

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