The digital gift card industry in India has observed a major boom in last
a couple of years and by 2024 it is estimated to be worth around USD 84
billion. With the challenging COVID era limiting our physical interactions,
digital gifting is not only helping individuals to express their feelings but also
serving as a medium to emotionally connect with their loved ones.
This project seeks to design a digital gifting experience that is not just transactional in nature but amplifies the emotional connection between gift sender and recipient.
Gifting is an art. It’s a way we express to our close ones how we appreciate them. And by emoting through this act the feedback we get in a way that they appreciate the gift is the sender’s greatest satisfaction.
Somehow the digital gifts lack emotional transactions. The sender might not be able to understand the emotion through which the receiver went through and they can miss out on the satisfaction aspect.
From my personal experience back in childhood when we were small we used to get some amount of money when we used to leave our grandparents home, that has some tangibility in that experience and gave the feeling of joy. Even an envelope of Rs. 101 had a huge value of emotions.
Competitive Analysis Insights
In Paytm gift cards there is a small section to make users understand the working of gifting cards, I think it’s a nice approach to make users understand. Maybe this approach can be taken to ensure that we bring confidence to the user that our service will bring emotional elements to their gifting journey.
In Amazon gift cards only a single time user can put the receiver’s phone number or email. There could be a case whereby a mistake user might use the wrong credential and a card will be sent. Like passwords, we can make users put the credential twice to ensure correct input but it could also irritate the user and might go to some easy payment method as in google pay or something. In that case, an option can be given to put the credential form contact list. It is easy and ensures the correct input of information. Also, there can be an option for link sharing.
Due to limited time, I am working on the sender and receiver persona for birthday gifting.
Punit (Gift Sender)
Profession: Art Director
Punit works in an agency as an art director. Due to his work-life responsibilities, it gets a little rare to focus on the other aspect of his life. His niece’s birthday has come and he forgot to decide on a gift for him. He is looking for quick fixes so that he can gift them in this short time. Also, his niece lives in Kolkata so there’s a distance factor as well. He is looking into E gift cards but he is not having that much confidence in them as he feels it’s just a digital transaction. How her niece would take it.
- To gift his niece
- Don’t miss out on gifting her niece due to his work (fear as a motivation)
- Add value to her niece by gifting in a short time.
- Establishing a transaction of emotions through this activity.
- His work responsibilities made him unable to plan a gift for the event. Also, there is a distance between them.
Siya (Gift Receiver)
Siya is a calm and composed student. She keeps her life very grounded yet playful. Her interest lies in reading, she appreciates Ruskin Bond’s writing. Her relationship with her family and friends is very healthy and she doesn’t burden them with expectations. Also, she is developing an interest in music.
Customization in gifting which adds value to her interests would be a delight for her. An engagement over a gift that carries some emotion will be highly appreciated by her.
Assuming that Punit is aware of Siya’s interest in reading but he’s not aware which reader she appreciates. Also, he’s not aware of her new interest in music.
To increase user engagement by giving an emotional value through the service.
Role of multiple senses in a physical context
Getting money from grandparents had a physical tangibility. Our multiple senses were involved in this experience as in sense of touch, sight, and sound, etc. If it’s some food then taste and smell are also involved. We can intuitively bring this multiple sense approach into the experience.
Maybe we could give them a physical card at their address which can be used by the receiver for transactions. It can have a packaging experience, with strong messaging customized according to the receiver. The material of the card could be sustainable which will add value to the brand’s image. Also, we can bring a sense of smell to the card. Maybe we can give him a range of smells to select. For example, if the user loves coffee, then the packaging of the card can add value. Also, that card could imitate the look size feel of credit/debit cards to add more value.
If the message is handwritten it can bring a personal emotion but to make 200–500 handwritten cards maybe not be cost-friendly for the business so handwritten font can work here. There could be a range of cards based on occasions and relations. Also, like Gmail, we can have AI-based pre-defined message suggestions which help the user write done good messages for their dear ones AI. Also, we can handhold the user by making him understand how to write a message connects, as in if the receiver is a good reader maybe there would be a message for him to appreciate the receiver's quality or motivate them to invest in their hobbies or interest through this money.
Few problems with the physical approach
There could be an edge case that which the user ordered the gifting card then the physical card can take up to two days to be reached by the receiver, and that will be a problem. Also by using this physical method I realized I escaped from the digital solution. And in the digital medium, it’s a real challenge to bring emotional touchpoints.
Also, the idea of the physical card in itself is interesting, so it could be added as an extended feature. As in if a user is making an order of a gift card beyond 2k we might give them an option to send this physical card to their loved one also we would need to take the users in confidence over the value of the card in emotional experience as in how it could work as a memento.
Bringing emotion into a digital context
The intent here is to bring relevant proximal stimulus to the end-user with the use of tech. Feedback after interaction could be the key ingredient to building an experience where is a sense of physicality. The radio knob has a click sound and subtle vibration which feels satisfying and signifies that the performed task is complete.
Value of gifting envelops
Gifting envelopes are very interesting it comes in various shapes and size according to the occasion. It has some tangibility factor in them which feels wholesome.
Digital scratch cards
The idea of scratch cards in google pay is quite intuitive. Even if we get 1 rupee as a reward, still scratching the card and looking like something interesting is going to come creates a delight and most of the user end up scratching all of them. It involves the user physically and also gives an element of curiosity. When the scratch card opens a confetti shot is like a garnish over the experience and this on a whole creates a delight factor if the user gets the reward. The envelops physical interaction can’t be applied on screen as the affordance of the screen lies in touch-based interactions. It affords to be swiped, pinched, tap, etc. But through this g pay-like card experience, we can make the user experience the emotions of joy, reward, and curiosity in them. Also, this card feature can help the user gift another person multiple cards it will create multiple delights. It’s like a game for the user, where their engagement will result in a winning experience. Thus, it can create a feeling of joy.
Touch as a feedback
Haptic feedback can bring a sense of touching and scratching feel real. The force touch has 2 pressure points and the 3d touch has 3. This tech can add value to this experience.
Audio as a catalyst
Sound is the most underutilized aspect of design. There’s an interesting honking sound that comes when the Ola cab is near. The interesting part is without involving the brain to look at something it creates a message. Sound as the tool can be used to represent an emotion or message without increasing the cognitive load, it could create urgency, reward delight, etc. ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) can add value by creating a proximal stimulus of gift unwrapping, or confetti blast. These high-definition sounds will be the most interesting element in this whole experience. ASMR videos on youtube have millions of views on them which indicates it could be an interesting design intervention that the user might appreciate. There are different types of soundtracks based on the context of Indian and International festivals and events. Also, these soundtracks can be chosen in the context of a relationship with the user as in a preppy soundtrack for a friend.