A gift of love beyond borders

A gift of love beyond borders

By Muhammad Riaz Usman
 Making it work

Published: Mon 18 Jun 2018, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 18 Jun 2018, 10:33 PM

Being frustrated with not being able to send an instant gift to family and friends living in other cities, Deepak Jain, CEO of Swych, knew there had to be a better way. This ultimately created a dedication to break down barriers that consumers face in gift card redemption.
The journey to streamline and improve this process began with digitising existing gift cards and providing instantaneous gifting between mobile devices - all while solving for the biggest unpredictability in gifting: Is my chosen gift useful? What do my recipient want or need?
"Evolving the gifting flow to allow the recipient to ultimately select their final gift could finally solve the fluidity of consumer preferences. By leaving the final decision to the recipient, and making it mobile for easy access, users could finally give and get gifts they not only enjoy, but also are able to use in the moment when the need presents itself. Now we are taking that concept and expanding it globally so users can send a gift digitally, that was funded immediately, and put the power of choice into the hands of the recipient in the recipient's geography and currency bridging the gap between countries while still sending relevant gifts that loved ones enjoy," Jain elaborates.

"The gift card market is projected to reach $750 billion this year alone. Plastic gift cards or paper vouchers or gift certificates are clunky, antiquated and vulnerable to fraud, getting lost or forgotten. This equates to consumer frustration over dollars lost for something that is meant to delight. Moving to a digital gift card platform is a clear solution, but what about when gifting abroad? How can you send locally relevant gifts internationally to friends and family that they will not only like but will also be able to use easily?," he continues.
"Swych launched in 2016 and has rapidly built a large network of 800+ retailers (across several countries) offering digital gifts and a 200k+ consumers utilising the flexibility and convenience of sending and receiving 'Swychable' gift cards that can be redeemed by the recipient at any of the retailers on the Swych app," he adds.
The Swych network now features retailers in the US, India, UK and Australia, with Canada, Japan, Colombia and the Philippines on the horizon.
"We are also bringing to market a unique solution targeted to the global traveller, especially from China, to facilitate their shopping needs while they are visiting the markets where we are present," he says.
Swych in September 2017 announced the completion of its Series A funding round, with a major strategic capital investment by UAE Exchange Group, the money transfer, foreign exchange and payment solutions provider.
Currently available in the United States, Swych joined hands with UAE Exchange to develop and promote digital gifting services in major markets, leveraging the global reach of UAE Exchange. Swych's services will be available soon in the UAE.
"Swych's partnership with UAE Exchange has been hugely instrumental in our quest to make digital gifting an easy and convenient option available on the mobile phone to consumers anywhere. Our journey started with discovering that our mission is common, which is to bring people living in different countries closer together through an easy and instant way of transferring funds," he says.
"We developed a partnership aimed at giving more and more people, more and more ways to celebrate occasions, festivals and events with friends and family, even when might be living apart, through an easy to use digital gifting service. As our partnership has grown, we are collaborating on technology, product development, marketing and new initiatives. Our journey has been extremely rewarding and has given us an immense amount of learnings as we navigate the awesome culture and business environment of the UAE."
Promoth Manghat, executive director of Finablr and CEO of UAE Exchange Group, says: We constantly explore opportunities to partner with innovative organisations that provide differentiated digital services. Swych's vision of delivering a seamless digital gifting experience unrestricted by borders clearly aligns with our own strategy to support purpose-based money transfer solutions. There are tremendous synergies between UAE Exchange and Swych and we look forward to extending Swych's enriched digital gifting experience to our 20 million strong global customer base."
Stephanie Barrueto, VP-Marketing, claims that Swych is using instant digital gifting to bring people closer together, no matter where they live, in their times of celebration and happiness.
"The new and exciting collection of products, services and partnerships that we are bringing to market, makes gifting and shopping fun and delightful, while providing a secure and seamless mobile user experience," Barrueto says.
Jain says the Swych 'Gifting as a Service' product offering is flourishing in the US and is preparing for international implementations. "Users will not only be able to send gifts within their home country that carry the same Swych promise but will also be able to gift across the borders," he says.
"Swych is also making deep investments in Blockchain and conversational commerce to further scale its mission of cross-border gifting. In addition, we have begun to partner with large consumer companies such as handset makers, digital wallet providers, remittance providers, loyalty platforms and retailers to white label the Swych app and platform and gain access to millions of consumers," Jain concludes.
- riaz@khaleejtimes.com

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