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Rediff.com  » Business » Gift vouchers go the eway this new year

Gift vouchers go the eway this new year

December 27, 2007 02:16 IST

With the market offering quite a few options, it may be difficult to choose a gift this New Year.

But corporates have been exploring various innovative ways to dole out gifts, especially at a time when mass mailing of the same gift to all its staff is not widely accepted. One such new route is e-vouchers.

Going a step further, they are providing custom-made vouchers for a specific target group, which are redeemable on a range of mutually-agreed product portfolio. Employees are involved in decision-making through an internal online voting process where they shortlist the products of their choice, says Ranjith Boyanapalli, head (etail), eYantra Industries Limited.

"This involves running special promotional electronic direct mailers (EDMs) among the employees from at least two weeks prior to the active date of redemption.

However, senior management is still rewarded with high-level electronics, while the middle-level management gets evouchers of anywhere between 500 points and 1,000 points to be redeemed for T-shirts, travel trolley bags or electronic gadgets," he says.

eYantra, the Hyderabad-based brand merchandising and corporate gifting firm, started its customised online branded stores initiative in May this year. These online stores sell branded company merchandise, besides non-branded third party products. It has already set up 20-odd such online shops for corporates like HCL Technologies, Genpact, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, ING Vysya and CSC.

Stating that there has been a lot of maturity in the product portfolio offering, he says electronic gadgets such as iPods and mobiles are emerging as a leading product category. "Personalisation such as name-inscribed pens is now the most desired," he adds.

eYantra had initiated a 'Red and White' campaign for Christmas on its online brand stores, wherein gifts including T-shirts, mugs and MP3 players, bearing red, white or both colours, bought by the employees of corporates attracted special offers.

"Besides, we are launching a post-Christmas campaign, for those employees who missed on the Red and White promotion due to their Christmas vacation, from December 26-31. We would offer magazine subscriptions, MP3 and MP4 players, iPods and mobiles and durables like dryers and washing machines, at a factor less than the market price," Deepthi Raj, business development manager, says.

The online gifting market in India is currently pegged at Rs 2,200 crore and is expected to touch Rs 4,000 crore by 2008.

eYantra is on the verge of raising $5 million (around Rs 20 crore) from a US-based venture capital firm in a month's time to fund its proposed expansion plan. This includes setting up of 15 online brand stores within the next three months, and taking the number of its retail stores within corporate campuses to 12, from the present eight.

"Contracts with three more companies have been finalised and our retail stores at their campuses in Mohali, Gurgaon, Chennai and Bangalore would come up in the next four months, each at an investment of Rs 10 lakh," he added.

The six-year-old company clocked revenues of Rs 17 crore last year, and its outlook for the current financial year is Rs 25 crore..

K Rajani Kanth in Chennai