There is always the debate whether digital Christmas Cards can replace the traditional greeting cards in conveying our greetings to family, friends and those in our business networks. With the influx of digital cards shared across mobile phones and online via various social sharing applications and emails, there is no doubt that these have become the norm and most people have become so accustomed to e-cards (or m-cards) that most handwritten paper cards are now used only for very special occasions.
For one, digital cards are really cheap - infact, most of them are totally free and do not require the sender to scour stores looking for season packages of a dozen or two for everyone they have to send a card to, especially during festive seasons. Secondly, digital cards are pretty dynamic - they came with customization (type you own greeting, own message and choose your own fonts), incorporate music tunes, allow animation, enable you to time your cards and most recently (and the best I guess), allow senders to send their e-gifts!
For example, this Christmas, Verizon Wireless in partnership with Starbucks is offering its Verizon Message app users Starbucks eGift cards of $5, $10 or $25 which users can send to their families or friends regardless of the network the recipient is on. Senders can customize these cards with their own messages and greetings and choose a gift value which will then be billed to their Verizon Wireless account. The recipient receives the card on the Verizon Message app and is able to use the barcode on the card to pay for purchases in Starbucks. Alternatively, the recipient can load the card into his/her Starbucks® Mobile App.
With digital cards becoming more than just e-cards and incorporating mobile commerce, mobile payments and direct carrier billing, these cards are definitely evolving very fast to enable both senders and recipients to simplify not only the card sending process, but also gift choosing, purchasing and sending - in fact, by partnering with key brands such as Starbucks, carriers will be making gift finding so much easier especially on ocassions where a gift is expected. More importantly, by offering e-gifting service on a messaging app, it becomes a whole lot easier for gift recipients to store their voucher-type gifts as paper vouchers often go unredeemed considering it is not easy to keep track of the redemption deadlines or bring these vouchers wherever they go.
With Verizon - Starbucks e-gifting service and the many similar services available today, looks like receiving e-cards has just become much more exciting!