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Amazon Elevates the Gift Card Experience

Written by in Customer Stories, Packaging, Strategy & Customer Experience

Amazon Gift Cards …
For All Seasons

Editor’s Note: Against the Grain has celebrated some of the best creative ideas in writing paper and packaging since 2009. This year we begin our series on clients whose ideas in paper and print best demonstrate the enduring beauty and flexibility of print — using some of our most innovative product ideas.  These clients exemplify our belief that “when you print, do it well. 

Gift cards are for any occasion  One of the world’s most innovative companies reimagines gift cards and how packaging plays a role in the customer experienc. Amazon has changed the game when it comes to online shopping and gift giving, and they used that experience and expertise to evaluate and elevate the world of gift cards. Senior Business Manager Vince Locsin worked with the global Amazon Gift Cards team to evaluate the gift card customer and the end-to-end gift giving experience, from the perspectives of both purchaser and recipient. Locsin says the team carefully considered how gift card products fit within the wider Amazon ecosystem and invested in ways to create a convenient and thoughtful gift card shopping experience, as well as a simple and delightful gift card redemption experience.

Identifying the Amazon Gift Card Customer

Locsin says research revealed that over time the gift card customer has grown from the last minute purchaser to the ‘I don’t know what to get them, but I want the gift to be perfect and thoughtful’ shopper.

Amazon Gift Card customers may be busy people who need last-minute holiday party gifts, businesses of all sizes that give gift cards to clients and vendors or employees, or cash customers picking up gift cards in local stores in order to shop online without using a credit or debit card. “Amazon Gift Card customers are anyone and everyone, and it’s our job to create the best experience for each one of them,” said Locsin.



Elevating the Gift Card Experience

On its own, the Amazon Gift Card is an appealing gift because it’s redeemable toward the millions of items available at Amazon.com. Locsin and his team, however, took the idea of gift cards to the next level, focusing on the customers’ gift giving needs, offering innovative gift card formats, and packaging new gift card experiences that make both physical and digital gift giving an instant, seamless and thoughtful process.

In the gift-giving experience, there are two primary customers: the gift giver and the recipient. Addressing the needs of both is central to the Amazon Gift Cards experience. Locsin said, “We want gift givers to feel they are giving a personal, thoughtful gift that’s more than just a paper card. That’s why our physical gift cards come in a free accessory such as a gift tag, gift box or greeting card. Amazon is all about blending the physical with the digital. How do we develop something that is packaged and ready to gift without additional effort, hassle or stress for the customer, yet has the appropriate sentiment for the occasion?”



In line with this approach, last holiday season Amazon introduced its Anytime Gift Cards, zero-balance Amazon Gift Cards that can be immediately activated with an amount between $10 and $2000 using the Amazon app. These on-demand gift cards come affixed inside a pack of 3 premium greeting cards which retail for $2.99 and are available in a variety of designs for many occasions. Customers can find the product at Amazon.com or any of the Amazon Books stores nationwide. “This product is the first of its kind and has been a big hit with customers, especially those who find them at our Amazon Books stores. And it makes a lot of sense. Greeting cards and Amazon Gift Cards naturally come together to create a perfect last-minute gift,” said Locsin.


Creating a Sensory Experience for a Virtual World

Locsin and his team collaborated with NEENAH Packaging on the Anytime Gift Card product to create a frustration-free packaging experience for customers and leveraged NEENAH’s paper expertise to design and develop a best-in-class premium greeting card collection. The team continued to work with NEENAH on a variety of innovative gift card formats, including the gift tag introduced last year.

The gift tag was originally intended to work as an ‘add-on’ gift — something small and simple that gift givers could easily and elegantly bundle with another gift such as a bottle of wine.


The successful launch of the gift tag product, Locsin says, validated the concept behind the ‘add-on’ gift, while also revealing that many customers were purchasing the gift tag not just in small amounts for an ‘add-on’ but high gift card amounts as well, therefore likely giving the gift tag on its own. This led the team to a better understanding of the Amazon Gift Cards customer, and insight into their gift-giving needs.

“The whole product development process from conception to launch, for both Anytime Gift Cards and the Amazon Gift Cards gift tag, enabled us to test new ideas while also surfacing meaningful customer insights that continue to shape how we develop future products. NEENAH was instrumental in this process, and with their help, we crafted innovative gift card offerings which our customers love,” said Locsin.


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