Gift Card & Voucher Association
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The GCVA blog offers up to the minute news and opportunities for the gift card industry. Our aim is to give you an overview of what's happening in our sector -
From Conference to Coronavirus
14 May 2020
The relief and adrenaline at the end of a conference are palpable -
Time for a large G&T or five and a rest and brain break before Conference 2021 clunks into action.
Not this time.
Our conference ended on 4th March, and the first UK Covid19 fatality was on 5th March -
On Monday 9th March we were back in the office. On Wednesday 11th WHO declared a pandemic -
Slowly the dice landed on the square marked 'stay at home' -
Apparently, there was an obsession with bread making and bum wiping -
So, we started to interpret what this means for us. Let's all work at home. I couldn't help laughing, the last time I home worked, I had to go through a full H&S assessment, sing a chorus of the land of hope and glory and demonstrate I could stand on my head for approval. This time -
My son who had just returned from Ghana, planning to get a new job, ended up staying with me in Hastings and we slowly turned the spare bedroom back into an office. Thank god everything is digital -
The GCVA team quickly got into daily Zoom calls, the executive twice weekly. We wrote to members and sent a survey – what can we do for you? What do you need? Things are changing so quickly that it's hard to make plans; just as we pressed send the axis spun again. We pulled together a comms plan: we're promoting the industry, digital is growing, physical cards are still selling. We've had some good press coverage including The Times. We're helping to find a solution for the NHS and Royal Volunteering Service -
How long will the lockdown last? What should we do with our events? Luckily the venues have been flexible and with your support we've nailed our future events including Conference 2021 -
It's fantastic to see the industry pulling together to make a difference. We have digital volunteer gift cards (M&S, Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco, and Waitrose & more ). John Lewis is offering online wellbeing sessions. Edenred, a key government supplier, worked with Tillo to launch a scheme to support free school meals -
This week we are launching GCVA Connect -
There's this crazy reality that millions of people have coronavirus, people are or have been in hospital fighting for their lives -
While we continue to fly the flag for the gift card industry and our members, I recognise this is a tough time for everyone -
So, tonight, raise a glass of whatever your tipple is, to good health, to your family, your friends, your colleagues, and our industry.
Jigsaw in Lockdown
bringing the pieces together virtually
27 May 2020
This year, celebrating my 6th Jigsaw birthday on the 17th March was a somewhat different occasion -
Week 1 of the UK’s lockdown, saw us diverting landlines, delivering laptops, keyboards, laptop stands, mobile phones, and even chairs while we all made the best of our dining tables and homes. We listened and shared our concerns with each other; we reassured each other, and reminded ourselves to take little notice of what was being
Jigsaw are a sociable bunch, so staying connected has been a huge focus for us in the last couple of months. We have several all team get togethers -
shared across social media. We tuned in daily at 5pm and awaited news of how Covid19 was affecting the world, saddened by the loss of lives, and lifted by the country’s sense of togetherness in support of the NHS, shared sacrifices, neighbourly good-
Happy Hour on Fridays, with a music quiz and celebration of everyone’s best moments from the week. We’ve hand-
Early on, as a business like most, we were daunted by the economic impact and unsure at that point how gift cards and retail would fair. We are very fortunate to work with retail
brands with strong growth in online retail channels, and new projects that keep us moving forward. We are delighted by the success of our consumer eCommerce channels for brands like Nike and Boohoo, and thankful that digital gift cards remain popular and allow friends, family and businesses to gift, reward and recognise others. We have been very well supported by our partners and suppliers during this challenging time, and it’s an honour to be part of an industry with an unrelenting ambition to grow.
We’ve been led by the team on what works, what doesn’t work and for the most part, we’ve done pretty well. A weekly team survey tells us what we need to do more and less of, and our Director of People Anna, as always keeps the wellbeing of our team at front of mind. Mental Health Awareness week has come at a good time, a timely reminder to ask ourselves and each other how we’re doing. This year’s focus is kindness and on Monday morning we reminded ourselves of its meaning: -
Getting my family together more often on one of the many video chatting platforms is something I plan to take with me to the ‘other side’ of this pandemic. I can find joy in watching my niece and nephew in their lounge, along with my Mum in hers – both following dance routines on YouTube. I value now more than ever the support of my colleagues, and thank them along with our clients and partners for being a part of our Jigsaw adventure.