Delivering a positive emotional impact is an important component of a gift in the new normal. Gifting today need not be limited to money or gift cards.

Jenn Muller, chief marketing officer of Loop Commerce/GiftNow

During the coronavirus pandemic, many, including myself, have had to resign themselves, to the fact that the way we’ve celebrated occasions for generations is—for now—not possible in this new normal. 

But the act of celebrating traditions and events today has reached new levels of creativity, importance and compassion that is bringing out the best in each of us.

Communities applauding to celebrate health care workers’ heroism every day at 7 p.m., parades of fire trucks driving through neighborhoods for children’s birthdays and people delivering meal kits in place of home-cooked meals are just some of the many examples. These ways of celebrating are also ushering in a new era of gifting.

Delivering a positive, emotional impact is an important component of a gift in the new normal. Gifting today need not be limited to money or generic gift cards.

Rewind to just a few months ago when we’d show up to a wedding celebration. In an envelope in our suit pocket or purse was likely a check amounting to around $128—the average amount a wedding guest allots for a wedding gift, according to NerdWallet.

Might this have elicited an emotional response from the happy wedding couple? In the moment, perhaps it did. Receiving cash to save up for a life-changing purchase like a house is a goal for many couples. But money is an obligatory gift. I’m certain most married couples can barely remember today who gave what amount because that gift didn’t leave a lasting, emotional impact.

Fast forward to today. Mother’s Day is around the corner. How many of us have found ourselves scraping for ideas days out from that celebratory Sunday only to land on that obligatory gift card for Mom? On average, we spent around $196 on that branded gift card or any gift for Mom during last year’s Mother’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation.

Today, when we may have more time on our hands to think about a more meaningful gift, we can find new and creative ways to celebrate what truly matters. It’s for these reasons that the act of gifting and giving as we know it will change forever. 

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Instead of that generic gift card, a family can up their creativity game and record a fun video greeting of daughter and kids telling their favorite stories about their mom and grandma. What a gift that would be! You can’t put a price tag on that. People can now also send digital product gifts that they pick out online, are transmitted to the recipient by text or email and then physically delivered, providing a meaningful and thoughtful gifting experience.

Beyond major events like Mother’s Day, while many of us are sheltering at home, we also see more people celebrate ‘just because’ occasions. At the same time, we continue to juggle the daily challenges of work and family. Our friends and family are checking in regularly, realizing these challenges and wanting to help and encourage us without the ability to be there physically.

The alternative is sending positive vibes and recognizing family members to give them an extra boost, and gifting in the moment can help to celebrate things like “Big Sister Day” or “Hobby Appreciation Day.” Gifts for these two “just because” occasions deliver a positive, emotional impact when it matters most.

These are the gifts that receivers will remember when we look back on this unprecedented moment in time. And it has the potential to stick after this pandemic because of the seamless e-commerce experiences brands are enabling and putting greater investment toward while their brick and mortar locations remain shuttered.

This new era of gifting is a welcomed change that will bring us closer and make the “act” of gifting truly meaningful once again.

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Loop Commerce/GiftNow, a unit of  Synchrony Financial, provides software for retailers and brands that they can use to help online shoppers select gifts and purchase gift cards

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