The 100 Crore Journey!
“At first they’ll ask why you’re doing it, later they ask how you did it”. This somewhat has been the journey of GiftCardsIndia.
Now that they have made the 100 Crores it’s an ecstatic feeling. But only the team knows what it took them to reach this milestone. The only plan was to aggressively sell through their multi channel distribution network which consisted of Online Retail, Corporates, Loyalty Rewards and Employee Incentive Programs. They say milestone because doing what they do and being the team size that they are this seemed near impossible till it actually happened. This was anything but easy, not many of you know but this remarkable number was attained with no funding and a 16 member team, which is feat in itself. Looking back at when they started in 2011, this now seems to have gotten bigger than they expected.
When GiftCardsIndia was launched, people were not familiar with the concept of gift cards but they still took a bet on the idea with a vision that this category would evolve so would the gifting culture and the gifting habits of the Indian consumer. And has the bet paid off and how!
The initial 3 years were filled with learnings and roadblocks. Setting up the base and convincing the brands for retail distribution of gift cards was not easy. The team had had to go all out to educate the consumers on this new gifting idea and how they could benefit out of the same. In this process American Express was the brand that had the confidence in the nature of the business and how the market could be captured with a multipurpose gift card; having said that they got exclusivity to sell the product which was the push needed to go all out and build a consumer base.
In the next 3 years they saw a drastic change in the way a consumer perceived gift cards. Just like the Telecom industry saw a sudden growth in the number of mobile phones being used as compared to landlines. In 21 years the telecom industry changed the way people communicated. Looking at the relatively young populace and the digitization, Indian gift card industry will also see a shift in the way consumers gift. Their metrics tracked that the gifting has shifted drastically from physical to digital with major consumption happening with the age band of 24-44 years in the top 20 cities. This clearly showcases the possibilities digital gifting holds in current day.
With an overall growth of 300% from the time they started, the hunger to make it bigger has now set in and various strategies are being put in place to keep the graph going up. Integrating more with the customers and brands and comprehending their requirements will help us better their services and experiences. This will be a prime focus of the business.
What kept the co-founder Firoz Khan going was his belief in the vision he had for the company. This kind of number with a 4 member sales team and such a nascent category was simply not easy to achieve. The team spirit and the desire to make it work kept him going. His sole thought was that what would be the point in being there in the game and not making it. He kept challenging himself and the team to achieve the unusual. There were times when it was difficult to keep going, but the pieces kept falling in place which gave that little nudge to try harder. Quoting him “Keep things simple and do the simple things right” – he has kept it simple nonetheless the vision just keeps getting bigger with each passing day. Despite all the difficult situations he kept himself on the backseat and kept motivating the team that they would make it. It was his stubborn belief that he strove to keep the business going even in times when he did not pick pay cheques, not letting the team feel the heat of the situation. Such is a leader! And such is his team that will back his every vision.
The gift card industry in India and also globally has gained momentum and we are here to stay and ride with the wave. GiftCardsIndia will cater to all the gifting needs in the corporate and loyalty sector from providing a platform to customizing their requirements and the objective is to achieve 1000 Crores of business by the year 2020!