This festive season Uber launches Gift Cards in India

As appeared in The New Indian Express on September 18, 2018.

uber gift card

Uber recently launched a first-of-its-kind Gift Card, redeemable across Uber and Uber Eats, and available on Paytm and other online platforms.

The Uber Gift Card is a unique initiative, reiterating Uber’s commitment to India, perfectly timed for the upcoming festive season.

Uber has enlisted Qwikcilver as the official issuer for Gift cards.

Uber users can now gift their friends and families the joy of getting a ride or enjoying a delicious meal, anytime, anywhere, at the tap of a button.

This also makes for an innovative corporate gifting option, with companies choosing the Uber Gift Card as a unique employee gifting option, or corporate rewards and recognition program.

The Uber Gift Card is now easily available on leading e-commerce platforms like Paytm.

“At Uber we are continuously innovating to make the experience of our users enjoyable and convenient. The upcoming festive season gives us the perfect opportunity to launch the Uber Gift Card, a first-of-its-kind initiative combining fantastic offers across food and transportation at the tap of a button. Paytm has been a long-standing partner in bringing technology-enabled convenience to the Indian consumer, and we’re proud to take this partnership a step further with our first Uber Gift Card offering in India,” said Madhu Kannan, Chief Business Officer, India and Emerging Markets, Uber.

Kiran Vasireddy, COO – Paytm said, “Uber is preferred by millions of Indians for their daily commute, and our long-standing partnership has allowed us to enable seamless payments for their commuters.

We are excited to launch the Uber Gift Card on Paytm, a unique gifting solution for food and transportation that will allow friends and family to bring joy to their loved ones during the upcoming festive season.

Kumar Sudarsan, CEO & Director, Qwikcilver said “We are extremely thrilled to partner with Uber as we together aim to enable millions of Indian to experience the joy of hassle-free commuting to their preferred destination.

Qwikcilver has pioneered the Gift Card category in India and working to innovatively scale the adoption across consumer segments.

As the issuer of the Uber Gift Card, we do believe that this Qwikcilver partnership with Uber can be a game changer for the consumer adoption of Gift Cards.

Buy Uber Gift Cards

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The Bells and Whistles of Gifting

As appeared in The Hindu on March 12, 2018.

Choosing the right gift involves so much of meticulous planning, close study of the recipient’s interests and needs, and humongous efforts to keep up the surprise element that it often robs the giver the joy of gifting. Similarly, think of all the unwanted gifts that you have acquired over the years – ill-fitting clothes, out-of-place home décor, and all the irrelevant, meaningless, unappealing things that gather dust and spark no joy that you can’t quite wait to ‘Kondo’ (a tidying movement) them out of your homes and lives. And all those times when you couldn’t choose a product to gift someone because you did not know them well enough, but couldn’t think of gifting them some cash either because that would be too cold and impersonal.

Woohoo, The Hindu Metroplus, March 12, 2018

That’s where Woohoo comes in, according to TP Pratap, co-founder and director of the Bengaluru-based gift card technology company Qwikcilver. “Gift cards come somewhere in between the gifting of cash and the gifting of products or merchandise,” he says. Most importantly, it is a way of gifting people the “freedom of choice”.

Two years since its launch, the Woohoo digital platform – comprising the website and the app – is today the largest aggregator for gift cards in India, says Pratap, who was in the city recently. The company has partnered with over 150 brands, including Amazon, Flipkart, PVR Cinemas, BookMyShow, Myntra, Pantaloons, Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Crossword, Cleartrip, Fastrack, Fabindia, and Big Bazaar, and offers customers a range of options to choose from.

The gift cards of some brands begin at Rs. 100 and go up to Rs. 50,000. The cards can be delivered physically or can be sent to the recipient via mail or WhatsApp. “According to research, 75% of gift purchases happen 48 hours before the actual event,” says Pratap. And gift cards, he believes, are the most convenient and hassle-free option for last-minute shoppers. So, even if you realise at the moment that it is your friend’s birthday today, you can always log in to the Woohoo app or site and send him or her a gift card through WhatsApp in a matter of just five minutes.

The Woohoo team also ensures that the bells and whistles of gift giving are not lost in the digital experience. The gift giver could attach a selfie or an audio message to the gift card, and personalise it with photographs from the phone gallery, before hitting the send button. Pratap says the company has taken every effort to “address the challenges faced by consumers” and to make the experience “more personal and more memorable”. Through Woohoo, you could also send a cake, bouquet or card along with the physical gift card.

It has been almost 10 years since Pratap, along with two of his BITS Pilani classmates, began Qwikcilver, and he says the adoption rates for gift cards still fall behind three years of what they had expected. “There was a time when we were happy because we sold 100 cards a month,” he says. With a “300% year-on-year growth” , Qwikcilver has certainly come a long way. Amazon, Helion Venture Partners, Accel, and Sistema Asia Fund have invested in the company over the years. The promotion of gift cards by brands has also helped Qwikcilver, which powers 90% of the gift cards in the Indian market.

One thing that Woohoo is bullish about is its knowledge of consumer behaviour. Pratap says the platform has evolved over time, developing features to match the interests of consumers. It provides a digital locker experience for gift cards wherein you can save all the gift cards that you have received via Woohoo, and use them at your convenience, even as the app sends you reminders about the expiry date of various individual cards. There is also an option to sell cards that you have received at a price that you may decide. The cards are verified and listed by the Woohoo team. “We are India’s first secondary consumer-to-consumer market for gift cards,” says Pratap. The group gifting feature that lets the consumer invite friends to pool in resources to buy a gift card was introduced only six months ago. There is also the relatively new ‘Gift of giving’ feature that lets groups make a contribution towards charitable causes through gift cards.

“We are on the right track,” says Pratap, adding that he is delighted that brands and consumers have reposed their faith in the company. With the government too making a push for digital transactions, Woohoo envisions a four-fold or five-fold growth in the coming years. Given India’s culture of gifting, it was difficult to make a breakthrough, but today, Pratap says, that Woohoo has managed to make its presence felt in even Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities and change the way people look at gifting.

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Woohoo! I’ve got a gift for you

As appeared in The New Indian Express on 14 September 2017.

woohoo in new indian express

There is some celebration every other day – festivals, birthdays, office parties and the list goes on. Last week was Onam and Pooja is right around the corner. Not surprisingly, there are a number of gift choices for loved ones too. But, despite the overwhelming availability, the old dilemma exists: What should I gift a person? In one of their research surveys, Qwikcilver had discovered that most gift purchases happen only three days before the event. Foreseeing this, Qwikcilver, powering 90 per cent of the gift cards in the country, has developed a superstore for gift cards called Woohoo. “Through this innovation, the person receiving the card has the freedom of choice,” said co-founder Pratap T P.

Customised gifting

Through Woohoo, which functions as a mobile application and a website, one can purchase gift cards to as many as 150 brands that have partnered with the company. It was launched in 2015 and provides options for planned and customised value gifting. The app securely stores the gift cards and gives regular reminders regarding the expiry.

In the latest group gifting feature, released a month ago, people can pool in the amount and gift the card to the recipient. This eliminates the hassle of coordinating and collecting individual amounts. In addition, it has a secondary market trading platform where one can buy and sell gift cards. “This is the first and only platform in the country that provides such an option,” said Pratap.

Taking on Malayalees on social media

Targeting the Malayali audience for Onam, the developers of Woohoo did a social media campaign on all the popular platforms. “The campaign was a humorous take on gifting, endorsing the celebrities in the Malayalam movie industry,” said Pratap. “We were trying to make a presence on social media,” he added

onam gifting

no cash gift for onam

Gifting culture
Like the greeting card industry, which helped develop the birthday and anniversary culture in the country, Woohoo’s creators also expected to enhance the gifting culture among people. “It is instant gratification. But at the end of the day, we are just trying to improve human engagements through Woohoo,” said Pratap.

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Woohoo Gifting League : The First of Its Kind Gift Card Bonanza

woohoo gifting league

Woohoo announced the launch of the first-of-its-kind gift card league – Woohoo Gifting League, a platform for brands to maximise revenue through gift cards this festive season. The Woohoo gifting league will have on the platform more than 100+ brands, including Shoppers Stop, Westside, Myntra, TTK Prestige, Marks & Spencers, Lifestyle and Pantaloons.

Habit formation around Gift Cards:

Much of the gifting spends in India happen either through cash or through the unorganised sector.The Woohoo Gifting League is an attempt to move some of that spend to brands, via the gift card route. From a brand point of view, the idea is to build habit formation around gift cards in a way that it remains top-of-mind woohoo gifting leaguewith consumers for all sorts of gifting occasions even beyond the reigning festivities.

The platform will present consumers an array of gifting options; physical and the increasingly popular digital gift cards, from leading brands in the country. Retail brands, on the other hand, get the opportunity to garner a greater share of the seasonal gifting pie, through gift cards. The gift card market currently is over Rs. 3,000 crore.

Gift Cards help brands increase sales and create access to new customers:

A recent Qwikcilver study indicated that on an average Gift Cards represent 12% of brand sales. With the Woohoo Gifting League, that percentage is set go up during the festive season. Gift cards also enable brands to reach out to and engage with a wider consumer base, because brands get access to both the gift card purchaser and the recipient. This is expected to lead to significant increase in customer acquisition, ranging between 50-400 percent, depending on product and category type.

Commenting on the launch of this new initiative, Pratap TP, Co-Founder and CMO of Qwikcilver said: ”For close to ten years now, we have worked relentlessly to make gift cards synonymous with gifting and the launch of this initiative is one more innovative step in that direction. We are confident that the Woohoo Gifting League will help our brand partners maximize the festive season while at the same time making gifting a convenient and enjoyable experience for millions of Indians.”

As appeared in www.afaqs.com on Sept 1, 2017.

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Say it With Gift Cards

The coverage received for Qwikcilver & Woohoo in both The Hindu Business Line and The Hindu on 6th August 2017, in a special column ‘Spend Smart’.

The Hindu 6-Aug-2017 Page - 9 (1)

Often, we may want to gift a beloved one on an occasion, but find it difficult to zero-in on what would be most suitable. In such situations, there are benefits in handing out a gift card. The receiver can use it to purchase products or services of their choice.

Buying a card

Gift cards can either be physical or electronic. Physical cards resemble a credit or debit card and have a number and pin. These cards can be preloaded with a desired amount of money and gifted to anyone. They can be swiped at any of the point-of-sale (POS) terminals or used for online purchases. An e-card can be used only for online purchases.

The gift cards can be bought online or from banks or merchants. Bank cards are typically issued by credit card service providers such as VISA, MasterCard or RuPay and can be used at any merchant outlet. Merchant cards are restricted for purchases of that brand of product or service, at their establishments. Some cards may require activation by calling a toll-free number to register before use. The cards can be used multiple times till the amount is exhausted. Once used, they cannot be reloaded.

The minimum and maximum amounts vary with the merchant and the bank. For example, Bank of India’s gift cards are available for a minimum of ₹500 and a maximum of ₹1 lakh, in multiples of ₹1. To buy a bank card, you need not be a customer of that bank.

Cards from merchants are typically free while banks may charge a fee. For instance, KVB charges ₹50 plus taxes to non-customers on card purchases of over ₹5,000.

You may also have some choices in personalising the look and feel as well as the message that goes with the card. There may be some restrictions on the number and value of gift cards. For example, Flipkart lets you purchase only 100 gift cards in 30 days and the aggregate value cannot exceed ₹1 lakh.

The cards tend to be typically valid for one year. However, some bank cards, such as from Bank of India, are valid for three years. Cards from retailers may have shorter validity period.

Other features

Most cards support balance enquiry by calling a toll-free number or by sending an SMS. For store cards, a balance enquiry can be made at the time of purchase. Banks allow you to check your balance at the ATMs and ask for statements. For example, you can request a mini-statement on your IDBI gift card with the details of the last 10 transactions.

If the bank card expires before the amount is used, you will be able to claim the unused balance. Bank of Baroda, for example, gives a refund of unutilised amount of over ₹100. The claim must be made within three months from card expiry and there are charges for the refund. Stores do not typically allow refunds. There are various apps and online platforms that let you manage expiry and balance amounts on multiple cards. You can also resell the gift cards online by listing the card with a sale price (card value or at a discount). The platform verifies the saleability, validity and balance on the card. Some sites require you to hand over the physical card to them on listing. Others such as Woohoo.in make the old card void (if issued by them) and list a new card to ensure safety. Listing is free and a commission of 10 per cent is charged on sale. Sometimes, don’t many of us pool money to buy a gift? Portals such as Woohoo.in enable us to do this. It has a group-gifting feature to let multiple users contribute towards a card purchase.

Risks and security

Gift card users must be aware of basic security features. You can hot-list the card when it is lost — similar to a credit or debit card — by calling a toll-free number. “The balance amount in the card can be transferred to a new card and reissued”, says Pratap TP, CMO of Qwikcilver. However, many store cards do not require a pin or any authentication for use. While such open access is convenient, there is no recourse if you lose the card. Allowing a card to expire is another common issue. Pratap says that if the user’s case is genuine, stores often take permission from authorities to extend the validity of the card.

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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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Number of digital gift card transactions in retail grow three-fold

As appeared in Business Standard on 2 May 2017 by Vinay Umarji

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

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.

“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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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.

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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.

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Gift card co Qwikcilver plans expansion to Russia and SE Asia

As appeared in The Economic Times on 27 January 2017 by Payal GangulyET

Gift card solutions provider Qwikcilver is planning to expand to Russia and Southeast Asia, hoping to leverage its investor network to tap into the new markets. The company had in July last year raised Rs 67 crore from investors led by Sistema Asia Fund, the proprietary fund of Russian conglomerate Sistema.

“We are backed by the board now to venture outside of India and have inbound interest from retail players for the Russian market. We are also looking to set up a subsidiary in Singapore for our expansion in Southeast Asia,” said Qwikcilver cofounder TP Pratap.

Gift card co Qwikcilver plans expansion to Russia and SE Asia
The Singapore subsidiary, to be helmed by Sadiq Ahamed, vice-president at Qwikcilver, will be managed by the Indian team.

The company already has a presence in West Asia and has tie-ups with online electronics retailer Sharaf DG, franchisee businesses of Al Futtaim group, Lulu chain of malls and others across Gulf Cooperation Council countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. It is headed by Shankar Balan, president for processing business.

“Our Europe market strategy will be different as we will be working with IT service partners and offering our software-as-a-service product to retailers as a bundled offering. This includes closed and semi-closed loop wallets and payment platform,” said Pratap.

The company has also tied up with a US-based point-of-sale provider, which, it said, has a large client base in retail stores across West Asia.

Qwikcilver, which is targetting a gross merchandise value of Rs 4,000 crore for its gift card processing business for 2016-17, pegs contribution from its overseas sales to be 25% of its total business over the next three years. The processing business unit currently contributes 75% of revenue and is used by retail enterprises such as Shoppers Stop.

The company, which raised Rs 63 crore in a previous funding round led by Amazon India, powers the Amazon Pay Balance tool on Amazon India’s website and processes the transactions at the back-end as the ecommerce player does not ha ve a prepaid payment or PPI instrument licence from the Reserve Bank of India to run its own wallet.

The company has started retailing its gift cards with on-demand grocery delivery company Grofers and claims the lead in prepaid card market.

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