The virus has played a party pooper for a lot of celebrations this year. Gifting, which is an integral part of any celebration, has also been affected by the pandemic. But now, with the wedding season upon us and Christmas and New Year on the horizon, people are turning creative and finding new and innovative ways to surprise their friends and loved ones. Enter digital gifting. Instead of in-person presents, people today are preferring online gifting, which has become a hot new trend in the post-Covid era.
The options range from subscriptions of various OTT platforms to e-books, personal radio talk shows, digital caricatures and so on. Increased activity on social media is also helping service providers gauge the needs of the millennial consumer. Flower and gift retailer Ferns N Petals, which operates in 400 cities and towns across India and 120 countries worldwide, for example, has many digital gifting options, including hiring a guitarist on video call, personalised video messages and e-books, etc. “Since we can’t deliver anything in physical form, we came up with the idea of ‘Guitarist on Video Call’. If a person wants to send love to a friend as a musical gesture, they can place an order on the site by selecting a bouquet of songs or the mood of songs. After the order is placed, the guitarist contacts the sender and takes down the list of songs to be played. He/she then plays the songs for 10-30 minutes, depending on the option chosen by the sender,” explains Pawan Gadia, CEO, retail & online, India, UAE & Singapore, Ferns N Petals.
Another floral boutique Fiorella offers virtual flowers at minimal prices for consumers to help them connect with loved ones and make occasions like birthdays and anniversaries special.
Then there is Frinza, a rapidly-growing online gifting company, which provides a range of premium and high-quality gifts. While Covid might have limited physical interactions, Frinza’s digital gifting solutions have come to the rescue. Its catalogue includes e-greeting cards, Kindle books, customised wishes, personalised poems, online performances by favourite celebrities, among others. “We were always prepared for change and, hence, we diversified our product portfolio to adapt to life after Covid-19,” says Truptimayee Lenka, co-founder and COO, Frinza. The most common way to send a digital surprise, however, remains the e-greeting, a digital card with the sender’s photograph and voice message accompanied with music.
Various e-gifting platforms also allow their partners, including airlines and banks, to enhance their customers’ experience by offering them loyalty points and e-gift voucher redemption deals. GyFTR.com, for instance, offers digital gift vouchers of over 150 brands to facilitate instant gifting and redemption across categories such as apparel, accessories, food, mobile, electronics, jewellery, etc. E-gift vouchers have, in fact, turned out to be very convenient and popular. Customers can choose among various prices and design templates for their cards.
Online platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, too, offer gifting plans on yearly subscriptions. The latest estimates predict that the market for digital gifting solutions is registering a three-fold increase annually and will increase to $4 billion by 2024. Flowers, cakes and sweets have been replaced by a growing demand for innovative options such as coupons, cashbacks, discounts and vouchers.
Much like other businesses, the gifting landscape is moving away from the traditional route to adapt to the new way of life post the Covid-19 pandemic. As more and more businesses turn to tech, going digital is perhaps the only way to survive.