What are B2B e-Vouchers and their link with sustainability?

B2B e-vouchers, woman on her laptop

Our digitalisation journey is in full force, and it is dominating the incentives and voucher market too. The birth of e-vouchers has meant that customers can keep their voucher on their phone and spend it in their digital wallets instead of having a physical card. Businesses today are purchasing these vouchers in bulk for their customers and to reward their teams’ hard work and commitment. A portion of enterprises has also begun using these e-vouchers to curate business relationships with a range of channel partners. 

According to Payments Dive, over half of customers buy digital gift cards from online-only consumer-facing businesses like Amazon. The worldwide digital gift card market size was valued at $258.34 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $1,101.03 billion by 2030. It’s clear the market is booming in popularity, but how do these B2B e-vouchers link to sustainability? Are they a better choice for businesses looking to reduce their ecological impact? Let’s dive into this further below. 

About B2B e-vouchers

Also referred to as virtual gift cards or e-gift cards, an e-voucher is an electronic voucher. Usually, the voucher is delivered to the customer through email or SMS. The receiver will often find the voucher comes with some branded and personalised messaging too. These vouchers can be redeemed in-store or online using a specific code. 

They have become incredibly popular because they enable recipients to assess promotions and discounts while on the move. B2B vouchers are the exact same; the only difference is they are given to other businesses. For example, you may gift a B2B e-voucher to your suppliers to thank them for their commitment and support. Alternatively, to your customers or clients.

A lot of brands will utilise these e-vouchers on public holidays or as a means to encourage repeat purchases and build a loyal customer base. The vouchers can be used by customers to purchase goods and services. Businesses are so intrigued by these vouchers due to the instant rewards they offer customers and their ability to boost sales. 

Added to that, they come at a low cost because no physical materials or shipping is required. This makes them more affordable than the traditional physical gift card we all know. Not only that but e-vouchers have also been considered the eco-friendly solution to gift cards. With customers caring more about businesses taking climate action than ever before, finding an environmentally friendly solution to gift cards is the key. 

The benefits of B2B e-vouchers for businesses

Vouchers have remained a great way for businesses to gain new customers and boost the frequency of customer visits. The reason for this is the short-term benefits the voucher offers are strong incentives for individuals to make more store visits, purchase more of a product, or buy new products. 

They are an excellent strategy because customers always like to spend more than the amount of money that is on the voucher. Digital vouchers only improve all of this since they suit the digital lifestyles we are leading today, which demand immediacy and convenience. B2B e-vouchers offer many advantages over standard, physical gift cards. If you have yet to implement e-vouchers into your digital B2B strategy, here is what you can expect.

  1. Lower costs

As a small business owner, this is arguably one of the most crucial advantages of e-vouchers. The reality is physical vouchers come with high costs. They have to be printed, designed, and shipped to the recipient. 

By contrast, digital vouchers require no logistics, printing, or distribution costs. This makes them a much more cost-effective choice for businesses with less of a budget. Plus, it is by no means a compromise as they are the exact same as physical cards. 

  1. Increase sales

With e-vouchers, there is also the potential to increase sales. According to the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association, customers that redeem e-vouchers usually spend more than the value of the voucher. The research finds the majority spend an extra 40 percent. Therefore, offering e-vouchers could be an effective way to increase sales for your business. 

  1. Convenience

One of the major benefits of B2B e-vouchers is the convenience they offer your clients. This is because you can easily issue them in bulk to your customers, employees, or partners through SMS or email. They also enable recipients to use their vouchers online or in stores easily. This makes them not only a very convenient solution but also incredibly practical. 

The vouchers have all the benefits of physical vouchers without the disadvantages. For instance, the long man-hours of packing and distribution, the need for storage space and the high delivery costs associated with physical vouchers. Technology eliminates these downsides. As a result, your team can focus on other, more important tasks. 

  1. Flexibility

A number of e-voucher platforms also provide you with the flexibility to upload more e-vouchers to your client’s accounts upon purchase in real-time. This makes it easy to offer them discounts for special occasions and public holidays. 

Many of these platforms also allow you to customise your B2B client accounts. You can develop individual corporate accounts for when you begin selling e-vouchers to them. 

  1. User friendly

Depending on the e-voucher platform you decide to go with; usually, the interface is very simple. E-vouchers can generally be accessed immediately on any smartphone, and the technology is compatible with Android & iOS. 

The interface also often offers you and your clients the entire traceability of e-vouchers redeemed and issued and shows the data accurately in real time.  

  1. Integration

It is also common for e-voucher platforms to allow you to integrate e-vouchers with your B2B e-commerce platform. This means you can seamlessly manage the e-vouchers you purchase, and your clients can easily purchase and redeem theirs. 

  1. Design

Many e-voucher platforms also allow you to customise the mobile voucher design. For example, you can include your client’s logo to create a more personalised experience for them.

  1. Reporting

Similarly, a lot of these platforms also have ways for you to report and stay on top of the numbers. You can create custom reports that are customised to your specific needs. This allows you to report on expirations, customer segments, redemptions, and more. 

  1. More eco-friendly

We’ll jump into this one more below as we explore the connection between B2B e-vouchers and sustainability. However, it seems only right to mention on this list of advantages that e-vouchers are a more sustainable option. They are a digital version, so there is no physical card. Additionally, there is no real production process other than designing the card on a computer. 

The connection between B2B e-vouchers and sustainability

As touched on above, digital gift cards or e-vouchers are a much more sustainable option than traditional physical vouchers. This digital solution removes any logistic costs, but it also eliminates environmental costs. No CO2 emissions are produced from the printing, packaging, or transporting processes. 

Additionally, the client does not receive a disposable product. Therefore, when they have spent all the funds on the card, they cannot throw it away. Making the switch to e-vouchers massively cuts down on packaging and, therefore, reduces waste. Traditional gift cards are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This material is one of the most widely-used plastics globally. While it is both inexpensive and lightweight, it never biodegrades and is not recyclable. Therefore, it can cause havoc on the planet if it ends up in landfills. Unfortunately, most gift cards do find their way into landfills once they are discarded. When PVC breaks down, it can also release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and soil. 

PVC is made up of lead, phthalates, and organotins, which can be toxic to human and animal health. The material typically breaks down into granules and can become trapped in the soil or lodged in the throats of animals. When PVC is burnt, it can also release hydrogen chloride, which, too, has adverse effects. A whopping nearly 17 billion plastic gift cards were produced in 2006, and it is estimated that 10 billion new gift vouchers are made every year

There are so many environmental benefits to going digital with your vouchers. According to One4All, in 2013, physical gift vouchers had an estimated carbon footprint of 585,300 tonnes. This is higher than all daily air flights in Europe combined. For this reason, many are on the hunt for a more environmentally-friendly option, and e-vouchers tick off all the green criteria. 

Summary

B2B e-vouchers are the way forward and an excellent solution for businesses that want to reward their team and value their customers without harming the planet. These vouchers are entirely digital and eliminate the high costs and impactful production processes that come with physical gift cards. 

They have all the benefits of traditional gift vouchers without the disadvantages. Physical cards are estimated to generate around 21 grams of CO2 and create a high amount of PVC waste. B2B e-vouchers have all the capabilities without adverse effects on the planet, people, and animals. 

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