Pari Raccah, the new General Manager of GiftNow, recently spent some time discussing GiftNow’s business momentum, the state of digital gifting and the amazing opportunities ahead for GiftNow, merchants and corporations.
Earlier this year, our parent company, Synchrony, appointed Pari Raccah as general manager of our GiftNow business following a successful run as its chief operating officer. Pari is a veteran of the company and, over the past seven years, has been an integral member of the leadership team, working with colleagues to advance the company’s GiftNow Gift Experience Management platform and expand its portfolio of amazing partners and customers.
Pari recently spent some time discussing GiftNow’s business momentum, the state of digital gifting and the amazing opportunities ahead for GiftNow, merchants and corporations.
Q: How and why did GiftNow’s business accelerate in 2020?
We were already building momentum going into Q1 2020 because retailers were acutely aware of the importance of creating simple and impactful gifting experiences across multiple channels. The pandemic created new challenges that merchants and corporate gifters needed to tackle head on and the circumstances motivated them to put more time and resources into improving the digital gifting experience.
We’ve been continuing to enhance our GiftNow Gift Experience Management (GXM) platform which has enabled us to be an ideal gifting partner for many major merchants across the country, as well as many businesses that are implementing our corporate gifting solutions. Retailers and merchants have turned to us to address the recurring questions on the future of gifting, like “how can we help our customers create unique experiences that help their customers’ celebrate life’s key moments when we are physically apart?’’ and “how can we create a seamless gifting experience across multiple platforms our customers use?”
Aggregated data of retailers who partner with GiftNow data showed a 55% increase in overall gross merchandise value (GMV) during the November-December holidays over 2019. (Source: GiftNow Data 2019-2020)
Q: What aspect of GiftNow’s business excites you the most?
I love our mission. We want to make every individual’s gifting journey meaningful, accessible and intuitive. We have continued to evolve our offering and capabilities to get ahead of the emerging needs of merchants and their customers. We have also developed corporate gifting solutions to support building relationships between businesses and their employees, clients and prospects. The fact that our platform can help bring joy to people and deepen the connections between the gifter and the receiver – during times of ongoing physical distancing and uncertainty – is extremely meaningful to me and our entire team.
Q: What is the merchant’s current frame of mind when it comes to digital gifting?
Merchants are seeing the value of a holistic, integrated gifting solution as a way not only to increase revenues but also to build loyalty and attract new customers. Many made the necessary investments in 2020 to make the gifting journey on their websites more seamless. Brick-and-mortar locations across the country will hopefully begin to reach a normal cadence of hours and operations very soon, and consumers will want to experience the same gifting journey in a store that they’ve been accustomed to online these last 12 months. Additionally, merchants are looking at other untapped revenue opportunities through new channels, including corporate gifting. Perfecting their digital gifting journey will enable them to elevate their brand presence and merchandise in the hybrid workplace.
Q: How do you feel merchants have worked to make personalized digital gifting a reality?
We want to help merchants achieve personalized digital gifting at scale. Working with GiftNow, retailers and restaurants are able to utilize our platform and expertise to holistically improve the gifting experience. We recently sponsored the e-tailing group’s 2020 Gifting Index, which examined how merchants managed gifting during this past holiday season. The index showed, for example, that 96% of online merchants offered digital gift card enablement, but only 16% provided a video option to personalize that gift card experience for the receiver. (Source: e-tailing Gifting Index) The use of personalized video in the gifting experience is an untapped opportunity for merchants. We also help our partners understand the gifter’s intent at the start of that individual’s gifting journey, leading to improved messaging and experiences that resonate with their customers. This helps to create a domino effect that enables the individual to better navigate and convert – providing a more ideal gifting experience. Creating messaging tied to various gifters’ intents and personas is essential to help merchants make real inroads with personalized digital gifting.
Q: Why do you believe bundled digital gifting is critical to a merchant’s broader offering?
Merchants continue to make investments that enable and amplify an omnichannel shopping experience. Customers want to shop on the channels and platforms they utilize most, and that includes shopping for gifts. A bundled digital gifting effort encompasses digital gift card enablement, product gifting and corporate gifting – three core pillars enabling the end-to-end gifting experience. When all three pillars are activated, merchants can accomplish multiple objectives. They can create a more seamless gifting journey for the individual, increase brand loyalty and raise brand visibility. The byproduct can be increased gross merchandise value.
Q: How do you foresee the digital gifting space evolving over the course of this year?
We saw a significant increase in contactless transactions and gifting over this past year. These are the staples of the new gifting experience that will remain for years to come. We believe merchants will continue to invest in digital experiences that make contactless transactions more seamless and enable consumers to start their gifting journey online and continue it in the store.
Q: Why is Synchrony an ideal partner for GiftNow?
Synchrony has been an ideal partner since they acquired Loop Commerce over two years ago. We share a common goal of enabling connections. Through our unique digital experiences, we help break down the barriers to successful interactions, and we continuously meet that goal through our close collaboration and amazing team members. That is what makes me so excited about the road ahead.
Pari Raccah is the General Manager of GiftNow