Are Gift Cards Dead in The World of Mobile Wallets?

By: Anthony Giampa


How Gift Cards and Mobile Wallets Coexist

In a world dominated by digital transactions and mobile convenience, the question arises: are traditional gift cards becoming obsolete in the era of mobile wallets? The short answer is no, but the dynamics are certainly changing. Today, we explore how gift cards and mobile wallets can not only coexist but thrive together, ushering in a new era of customer loyalty and seamless transactions.

With the holiday season officially upon us, a time known for gift-giving and festive cheer, restaurants will see a rise in visitors and gift card purchases. This presents a time for both restaurants and C-stores to strike the right balance between embracing modern payment methods and preserving the charm of traditional gift-giving during this festive time of year.

The Rise of Mobile Wallets

Mobile wallets have transformed the way we handle transactions, offering a streamlined and secure alternative to traditional payment methods. According to recent data, the use of mobile wallets has surged globally, with a significant increase in adoption rates over the past few years. With features like contactless payments, in-app purchases, and loyalty program integrations, mobile wallets have become an integral part of customers’ daily lives.

The Role of Digital Gift Cards

While mobile wallets continue to gain popularity, gift cards have not been left behind. In fact, digital gift cards are experiencing a renaissance of their own. Customers are increasingly opting for digital gift cards over their physical counterparts due to their convenience, versatility, and instant delivery options. This shift is evident in the numbers, with digital gift card sales witnessing a remarkable uptick in recent years.

In 2022, the global digital gift card market was valued at $342.01 billion with 43% of US customers planning on buying gift cards just during the holiday season. With the option to upload it directly to your mobile app, digital gift cards provide not only a great gift option, but also an easy and convenient means of payment during the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Stored Value: The Common Ground

At the heart of this coexistence is the concept of stored value. Both gift cards and mobile wallets operate on the principle of storing preloaded monetary value for future use. This shared foundation enables brands to transition effortlessly between the two, offering customers the flexibility to choose their preferred method of payment and engagement.

Digital gift cards provide a focused and personalized gifting experience, ideal for specific holidays or occasions like treating someone to a meal. Mobile wallets, on the other hand, offer guests a comprehensive and streamlined platform for various transactions, making them the go-to choice for those who value versatility and efficiency.

Embrace The Tried and True, Plus the New

Data indicates a symbiotic relationship between gift cards and mobile wallets. According to recent surveys, a significant percentage of customers still appreciate the tangible nature of gift cards, making them a popular choice for gifting. On the other hand, the ease of use and additional perks offered by mobile wallets attract a tech-savvy audience. By embracing both avenues, brands can cater to a diverse customer base and maximize their revenue streams.

The Future: A Harmonious Blend

Snooze Eatery Gift CardAs we look ahead, the future of transactions lies in a harmonious blend of gift cards and mobile wallets. Brands that embrace this duality through solutions like PAR Pay’s Apple Wallet Loyalty stand to gain a competitive edge, providing a seamless experience for customers while capitalizing on the strengths of each payment method.

Why does this matter during the holidays? The holiday season is steeped in traditions, and gift-giving is a central aspect of these customs. While digital transactions are on the rise, the act of presenting a physical gift card remains a cherished tradition. Brands that acknowledge and cater to this sentiment stand to capture the essence of the season.

Snooze, a popular A.M. eatery with roughly 50 locations in the U.S. has kicked off their annual gift card promotion for the 2023 holiday season. For every $100 spent on gift cards, customers will get an additional $20 bonus gift card. Creative promotions like this encourage customers to spend, dine, and continue to build loyalty with a brand they are familiar with.

Gift cards and mobile wallets are not a battle between old and new, but an evolution toward a more inclusive and customer-centric approach to payments. By leveraging the strengths of both, brands can create a dynamic loyalty ecosystem that caters to the diverse preferences of today’s customers. The key is to adapt, integrate, and thrive in this ever-evolving digital landscape, leading to a successful holiday season.

To learn more about how Punchh can help elevate your customers’ experience this holiday season and beyond, request a demo today.

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