10:00 AM, 11 08, 2017

Blog: Talking Digital with Chris Mays

Recently we have seen big changes in the gift card industry, with the requirement for digital gift codes increasing more and more each year. In the past year the market has seen a 19% increase in digital sales, so we thought it would be good to sit down with our Technology Director, Chris Mays, and ask him a few questions.

Chris Mays joined SVM Global over 4 years ago and is the head of technology ensuring we stay abreast of innovations, productivity, and efficiency both internally and for clients. Focusing on three important areas, the market trends, how SVM has been tackling the recent movements, and how we are adjusting and evolving our ordering platforms to make digital orders easier than ever before.

Market Trends

Q: Chris what is your input on the recent market trends?

CM: During the last few years both the interest in, and sales of digital gift codes has grown. I still believe there will be a requirement for a tangible product over the coming years but digital gift cards and the way in which we deliver them opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Longer term this will transform the ways in which we gift and reward with eCodes.

Q: How do people currently shop compared to before with digital cards?

CM: You needed to make your buying choices in advance, know the item you required and the store it’s from, then order and wait for the gift card. If you’re busy with work the likelihood is, you cannot spend it until the following weekend assuming that the product you want is still in stock.

In today’s society, having a smartphone is common place so your gift cards will always be with you without having to carry a wallet or purse filled with multiple retailer cards. If you don’t already have a gift card for your chosen store, you can easily purchase and receive eCodes on demand simply by using your mobile phone or tablet.

Q: Chris how have the market changes influenced clients ordering patterns and behaviours?

CM: We live in an instant society; digital products enable immediate access and instantaneous redemption of products that can be personalised and viewed on any device. You are able to capture and engage with consumers that purchase on impulse, compared to your typical buyer of a physical gift card products. It becomes less about a gift card and more about a retailer specific currency that can be purchased and spent instore within minutes.

SVM Global’s Response

Q: What has SVM done to support digital products?

CM: We have our own internal platform called digital gateway, built by our skilled in-house development team. Orders placed on our platform can be delivered within minutes to the end consumer. Our Virtual Gift Cards are built on modern HTML technologies that can be customised but can also support a personalised journey aimed at reinforcing a brand message or programme identity.

Q: What developments are underway to enhance and improve the customer journey?

CM: We are constantly working with all the processing partners, retailers and key product aggregators to provide instant digital content to all our platforms through direct integration. Our product focus is not just UK but across Europe and beyond which will help our clients positively tackle the logistical challenges in delivering rewards and products globally.

The Ordering Experience

Q: Describe the ordering experience?

CM: When a digital product is ordered, consumers receive an email with a link to a virtual gift card, it can be opened on any device from a desktop to a phone, it’s as simple as that. Where we have direct integration with the retailer we can offer an instant reload. Additionally, with our new ‘ActivationPoint’ we can offer clients controlled loads of new card orders which reduce the requirement for expensive insured postage.

Q: How long does it take to order a digital card?

CM: Typically, an eCode is delivered in under five minutes, exceptions are where it may have been held for fraud or intentionally delayed due to processor integration requirements.

Q: How does it benefit the user to buy digital codes versus physical cards?

CM: They can purchase and receive a code instantly and have access to them 24/7 via any phone, tablet, or desktop. This enables you to buy on demand with an instant saving, so you could purchase a code whilst browsing in a store and receive the code by the time you get to the checkout, the possibilities are endless. Removing the requirement of pre-planning purchases enables customers to make distress or unplanned purchases instantly.

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