The COVID-19 pandemic will end, but the advances made in online shopping and digital payments are here to stay, according to Helena Mao, vice president of global product strategy for payment solutions at Blackhawk Network. In our surveys, 78% of shoppers already expect their shopping habits to shift permanently after the pandemic is over. The only way for merchants to respond to this news, Mao says, is to keep embracing digital experiences.
Digital gift cards in particular have seen a huge growth in popularity. People are buying more of them, gifting them more often and spending more of their holiday 2020 gift-giving budgets on them. Holiday gift card spending rose an estimated 19% over holiday 2019, and surveys show consumers planned to buy twice as many gift cards as they did last year.
Digital gift cards are also gaining popularity for non-gifting uses. People who are unbanked or underbanked—or shoppers who just prefer to use cash—are buying digital gift cards to use themselves online.
As the world becomes more digital, the value of seamless omnichannel experiences has risen. Customers are going to demand the same products and services whether they’re in the store or online, paying with a mobile wallet or with cash.
What's more, the omnichannel experience demands that merchants get ready for all aspects of accepting digital payments. That means growing to accept reward points and letting customers pay with airline miles. These "pseudo-currencies" ebb and flow in value, and merchants that adapt to accept them will do better in the digital future than those that don't. It’s a lot for retailers to adapt to, but those who do are already starting to see great results.
This is a summary of the article “Gift Cards Poised for Big Role in Post-Pandemic Purchasing” posted by PYMNTS.com here: https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2020/gift-cards-poised- for-big-role-in-post-pandemic-purchasing/