The Art of P2P Gifting: 5 Questions With PayPal NA CMO Patrick Adams

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PayPal x Jonathan Adler digital gift card 2016 holiday

PayPal users are a generous lot, giving $48 million to their favorite non-profits and good causes this past #GivingTuesday. Now they can continue the seasonal spirit of giving with a new service from PayPal that rethinks the art of the gift so that, with just a few clicks, you can send money to a friend or loved one easily —and with flair.

Welcome to peer-to-peer gifting, PayPal’s new digital gift cards platform that elevates personalization, humor and design. By launching a collection featuring Jonathan Adler’s signature “happy chic” aesthetic, PayPal is letting users send direct payments to others this holiday season, whether for Christmas, Hanukkah, to say thanks or simply “You Rock!” or “Glamorous Greetings” in a stylish, heartfelt way.

PayPal Jonathan Adler digital gift card

It’s available in 17 countries – including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and United States.

PayPal x Jonathan Adler Merry to the Max holiday gift card

As noted in a press release, PayPal’s partnership with Adler, a New York-based designer renowned for his ceramics, furniture and distinctive prints, “marks a first-of-its-kind partnership to enhance its person-to-person (P2P) payment service, so that sending the gift of money for the holidays feels more personal and heartfelt.”

PayPal x Jonathan Adler You Rock digital gift card

Adler’s designs to personalize PayPal’s holiday P2P gifting experience are available today in the US and Canada, while consumers in other countries will enjoy designs created specifically for their markets.

As shown in the video below, the customer experience is crafted with eBay’s customary ease to make P2P digital gifting a snap:

Once logged into PayPal, the holiday shopper can choose from six designs and customize the amount and add a note to accompany the PayPal-branded digital card, which can be sent to anyone worldwide by using an email address or mobile phone number.

The offering is in line with research from its 2016 Holiday Money Habits Study, which found that money is the number one gift that 62 percent of US consumers want this holiday season—yet 63 percent of Americans also said they hesitate to give money as a gift in case “it’s not personal enough.”

PayPal P2P gifting Jonathan Adler Hanukkah

Now PayPal has created a joyful way to give (or receive) cash. As Adler puts it: “Fact: Money makes the world go round, which kind of makes it the perfect present. Sending money digitally as a gift never felt truly personal or stylish—until now. With PayPal, we have created something that with just a few clicks lets you send money easily and chicly. It’s a gift people are as excited to receive as they are to spend.”

PayPal x Jonathan Adler

During the month of December alone, PayPal expects to see more than 17 million P2P payments – with gifting being one of the most popular reasons for sending money. The launch enhances PayPal’s digital gift cards from brand partners and its PayPal.Me service, which lets users send a proprietary link to enable quick P2P payments.

“With more people asking for gifts – and giving money – via P2P payments this holiday season, we needed to find a way to make it personal,” says Patrick Adams, CMO of PayPal North America. “Our partnership with Jonathan is unlike anything we’ve ever done, and helps consumers stress less. His unique holiday card designs make sending money easy and fashionable – something that gift cards and traditional holiday cards simply don’t provide.”

He shared more in a conversation with Interbrand CMO Andrea Sullivan:

What does this digital card launch open up for PayPal in terms of new ways to engage with consumers?

This is about a whole experience, about moving from the transaction to a new engagement and experience for the consumer.

The opportunities are endless when you think about this from a seasonal perspective, so we wanted to get somebody who resonated with US consumers and could provide an array of designs for us—not just for Christmas but also Hannukah and Chinese New Year and more generic designs as a thank you note or a birthday or just to say hello.

We’re offering a variety of cards that are really about creating new experiences for our consumers to not just make money transactional but to create engagement and experiences. We’re launching with top designers but we may get to the point where we partner with non-profits or get other consumers to design their own cards and then we can curate those on our platform.

PayPal x Jonathan Adler holiday P2P digital gift cards

How did you land on these six designs with Adler for the launch?

The design is really the anchor, but again it comes to the customization in giving the consumer the opportunity to send a personalized message. With any one of our products we build here at PayPal, we want it to be secure, easy, convenient and personal, so that’s really the spirit our product team held while this was being designed, and it was in collaboration with Adler that we achieved that.

How are you positioning and promoting this in the context of your existing array of digital gift cards from brands and your “12 Days of Surprises” holiday campaign?

There’s a nice synergy as it’s additive and not something that takes away from what our partners are doing. We’re already supplementing our partners’ in-store presence with a digital channel, and this just enhances that offering. We’re taking a multi-layered approach with marketing. We’ll leverage all of the traditional channels, our website and wallet, and we also have a presence in Times Square for our holiday campaign.

Why did you decide to promote this through PayPal perhaps versus Venmo, which has a great deal of cred with audiences such as millennials and is already well-known in the P2P space?

We’re very proud of Venmo and to have Venmo as part of the PayPal portfolio. At the end of the day this is about creating consumer choice, and we wanted to also reach other countries during the holiday season to get feedback from our consumers in other markets.

PayPal has seen double-digit growth in mobile payment volume this past Thanksgiving, Black Friday and during the crucial first eight hours of Cyber Monday. Do you see this holiday season being a tipping point in consumer behavior—and not just millennials, but for everyone?

One of the things that struck me was around the Thanksgiving table and the number of people who were shopping on their phones, trying to get in early on the Black Friday deals. It was so noticeable this year, more than any other year. I come from a retail background and several years ago really saw mobile having a significant impact on not only dotcom but in-store sales, but this year it seems like there’s been a tremendous breakthrough on usability and comfort level, even with the average customer.

One of the folks that really cracked me up on Thanksgiving was my 82-year-old mother, who had her nose right into her iPhone. I said, “Mom what are you doing?” And she was shopping. So that speaks volumes about the environment and the culture today, and how the mobile phone has become something really integral to our day-in and day-out. I don’t know what else really does on that level.


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