Pandemic Brings Innovation to Gift Cards

Pandemic Brings Innovation to Gift Cards
From Nov. 30 through Dec. 24, Outback will offer a drive-up concierge service specifically for gift card shoppers.

The pandemic has fueled the popularity of contactless and curbside delivery services, and now Outback Steakhouse is taking that to the next level — and with a holiday theme.

From Nov. 30 through Dec. 24, Outback will offer a drive-up concierge service specifically for gift card shoppers that’s simple, safe and convenient. Consumers can just call ahead or visit the local Outback and pull into a designated Gift Card Drive-Up parking spot and an Outbacker will come to your car to complete your gift card purchase.

“Outback Steakhouse created Curbside Take-Away in early 1990s and now we’ve applied that concept to gift cards just in time for the holidays,” said Danielle Vona, Outback’s CMO. “Our goal is to create a ‘no worries’ experience this holiday shopping season, whether you’re out and about or staying cozy inside.”

The food service provider also is enabling consumers to choose from several festive holiday options or upload their favorite pictures to create personalized gift cards. The plastic gift card, is available Dec. 1, with some of the proceeds going to charity.

Gift cards are available in any denomination and redeemable at over 700 U.S. locations.

The move from Outback comes amid broader changes for the holiday shopping season this year. A recent Deloitte report, for instance, found that nearly one-third of consumers plan to shop fewer days this season, with concerns about COVID-19 cited as the main reason (63%).

The report also found that as online shopping increases, 52% of consumers said that the variety of delivery options for orders is very or extremely important, up from 44% last year. However, nearly two-thirds (65%) of online shoppers said that they prefer standard delivery via post or courier service.

Meanwhile, traffic to physical stores on Thanksgiving Day declined 94.9% as many retailers opted to close that day while Black Friday stores traffic declined 52.1%, according to the Sensormatic Solutions division of Johnson Controls.

Stores played a key role in the digital fulfillment process, with in-store and curbside pickup increasing 52% on Black Friday, according to Adobe.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds