Gifting Trends
0 min read

E-Gift Cards: How to Reward, Incentivize, and Surprise

June 26, 2023
E-Gift Cards: How to Reward, Incentivize, and Surprise

If you're someone who's always on the lookout for the perfect way to send a quick “thank you,” grab a lead’s attention, or incentivize people to help out with your marketing research, you're not alone. Finding the right gift fit for the moment and the unique recipient can be a daunting task, especially when you're short on time or budget. 

Sending personalized or thoughtful gifts to every lead, research participant, case study interviewee, and loyal customer is ideal, but it can be tough to scale and even tougher to nail if you aren’t sure of a recipient’s preferences. When you need a solution that checks the boxes for intention, convenience, and budget, e-gift cards are a smart go-to.

Wondering how to send e-gift cards that can reward and incentivize people while surprising them with a delightful experience? Read on.

What Is an E-gift Card?

When you think of “gift cards,” your mind might wander to the end caps found in many stores across the US that offer hundreds of physical plastic cards to be redeemed at pretty much any place you can think of. From restaurants and department stores to online gaming and airfare, there’s seemingly something for everyone in those treasure-filled racks. 

Tangible gift cards may seem like the best way to pay, reward, or gift someone with ease, but they aren’t always as great as they seem. For the gifter, sending a gift card requires collecting an address, writing a separate personalized note, and managing the logistics of actually getting the card to the recipient. And if you need hundreds or thousands of cards, the whole operation gets sticky, fast.

And when it comes to the recipient experience, it can be so forgettable that nearly half of the people in the US have an unused gift card collecting dust somewhere. It all adds up to $21 billion in unused cards, with “not knowing where it is” being cited as one of the top reasons these gifts go unused. These factors (and more) make a great case for the benefits of digital gift cards.

A bar chart showing the percentage of unused gift cards by generation. Gen Z and millennials have the most unused gift cards.

E-gift cards are digital gift cards that can be redeemed online or in-store. They’re a versatile option for sending as a gift, reward, or an incentive that offers more flexibility when it comes to sending and redeeming them. 

Like their physical counterpart, e-gift cards can be a great way to give someone the gift of choice, allowing them to pick out exactly what they want for guaranteed satisfaction. Open-loop gift cards, like a Visa or Mastercard, are general-purpose cards that function like a debit card that can be spent anywhere Visa or Mastercard are accepted. 

Conversely, closed-loop gift cards are specific to one retailer and can only be spent at that company, like a department store or Starbucks. Closed-loop cards are a good way to offer a slightly more personalized gift as they’re less broad and more specific to a recipient’s personal tastes while still offering flexibility in what’s ultimately purchased.

E-gift cards have the inherent leg up when it comes to portability. Unlike physical gift cards that get misplaced, lost, and forgotten at home, e-gift cards are typically always with their recipient. They can be redeemed while online shopping, summoned from their email inbox while shopping in-person, and even stored in their smartphone’s digital wallet. This ensures that recipients are more likely to actually use and enjoy their gift card than forget about it in the abyss.   

For people charged with sourcing and sending gift cards, electronic is the way to go. In lieu of going store to store and buying out entire endcaps of tangible cards, loading up on envelopes and stamps, writing thoughtful gift notes by hand, and wrangling shipping addresses, e-gift cards let you skip all those painstaking steps. 

The ease and scalability of sending e-gift cards as a preferred B2B reward, incentive, payment, or gift make them an obvious choice in the right context. Once you’ve decided on e-gift cards, the next step is finding the right platform to help you source and send them in a way that fits your budget, timeline, brand, and goals.

Sending E-gifts Cards for Your Business

Not all e-gift cards (or ways to send e-gift cards) are created equal. Some come with steep fees or complicated redemption processes that can make them more trouble than they're worth. When the platform you pick to send e-gift cards adds hours of time to your workload or has a poor recipient experience, the glory of the e-gift card gets tarnished. That's where Zest comes in.

Zest is the B2B gifting platform that empowers companies to unwrap the power of better gifting and send with ease (and at scale) without charging any platform fees.

Unlike traditional B2B gifting tools, Zest strips away the stuff that makes sending gifts, rewards, and incentives a struggle. In lieu of the platform fees and complexities, you get the simplest solution to standing out, earning trust, and fostering loyalty with every e-gift card send.

A GIF scrolling through the e-gift card options on Zest.
Zest's growing roster of delightful e-gift cards

Start by browsing Zest’s growing catalog of gift card choices. With both open- and closed-loop options available in a wide variety of price points, you’re bound to find an option fit for your specific goals. 

Next, choose how you’d like to deliver your digital goodies. With the most delivery options available for your digital gift card, Zest weaves seamlessly into your overall gifting strategy. When you want to reward or incentivize many people for doing things like taking a survey or completing a task, generate gift links that can be redeemed by many people.

When you have a set list of recipients in mind, like loyal customers, people you’re simply surprising, new clients, or more, then share a link that can be redeemed only by that person via email, direct message, or however you prefer to send. (Zest even makes it ridiculously easy to add meeting booking links like Calendly to your e-gift cards for goals like booking demos or meetings.)

A screenshot of Zest's gift delivery options with "Send an email" selected.
Zest has the most options for e-gift card delivery.

The final step is adding the perfect branded touches and personalized digital gift notes to the unwrapping experience. This added step takes just a few seconds but makes even the most fleeting moment a memorable one for the recipient. 

Did you notice the rigamarole that’s missing in the process? 

  • No address collection.
    E-gift cards eliminate the hassle of collecting and managing shipping addresses and logistics. The easy online links ensure you can send gift cards instantly (and resend in a snap should your recipient delete their link). 
  • No upfront payments.
    With Zest, you only pay for the e-gift cards that are accepted. That means no upfront payments for gift cards that may or may not be accepted by your recipients.
  • No minimum purchases.
    We believe you should be able to send 1,000 e-gift cards as swiftly as sending one. With no minimum quantities, Zest is fit for a wider variety of e-gift card campaigns and strategies you have planned. 
  • No manual gift messages.
    Part of Zest’s process means getting the chance to add a thoughtful note to each e-gift card. Quickly include the same note with every send or pick which ones you want to personalize further for the perfectly scalable, intentional solution. Just because this is all taking place on a computer doesn’t mean it has to be a cold or impersonal experience.

But perhaps the biggest advantage of using Zest is the lack of platform fees. Traditional e-gift card platforms often charge 100s or 1000s of dollars in fees for purchasing and redeeming gift cards, which only eats into your budget and diminishes your goals. With Zest, there are no platform fees, so you can send more gifts, rewards, and incentives without breaking the bank.

Send Smarter Rewards and Incentives With Zest E-gift Card

E-gift cards are a great way to send smarter. Whether you’re a customer success pro sending incentives to every customer who completes their onboarding, a sales lead rewarding folks who come to their demos, or a marketer sending a surprise to everyone who participated in their latest case study, e-gift cards are a convenient and scalable choice that’s great for gifters and their recipients. 

When your gifting strategy calls for e-gift cards that align with your budget and come with a personalized and branded experience, Zest is the perfect platform to make it happen. With a wide range of gift card options, no platform fees, and easy-to-use interface, Zest takes the hassle out of sending gifts, rewards, and incentives. So the next time you're looking for the perfect gift, consider sending an e-gift card with Zest. Your recipient will thank you for it!

Liz Lorge
Liz Lorge
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