Mobile Commerce

Regal Cinemas Wonders Why Gift Cards Resist The Digital Transition

The PYMNTS team caught up with experts in the payments field to ask them their views on industry trends, predictions for the coming year and what their ideal payments system looks like.

Timm Walsh, VP Corporate Box Office & RGCA Chairman of the Board, talked about how gift cards might continue to evolve in an eCommerce landscape — and how Regal will do everything it can to stay on top of those developments.

PYMNTS: What are some of the challenges that the broader payments industry and gift cards in particular have faced throughout 2015?

TW: Specifically in the gift card industry, the technology is changing so quickly, and trying to get set up internally for that change has been a particular challenge. Every company is strapped for IT resources, and it can seem like gift cards don’t get the immediate attention among bigger projects like changes to POS systems and credit card processing. From an industry standpoint, the obstacle lies in communicating how safe gift cards are for consumers; they don’t have to give any personal information, which makes them very safe gifting options.

PYMNTS: How about some overarching themes in the industry?

TW: Going digital. People are asking for it, but it’s not growing rapidly for the gift card world. I think for the most part, people like giving a physical card as a gift and wrapping that up. Sending one electronically without putting all the digital bells and whistles like a video or music to it doesn’t quite have that personal touch of handing someone something.

PYMNTS: What do you see happening in the immediate and distant future in retail?

TW: I think that retailers are going to embrace the digital aspect of gift giving. They’re going to make it easier, knowing that it’s more acceptable. They’ll invest more in their digital platforms, as much as they do in putting plastic in stores and in lobbies. That’s not going away. Plastic is still king, but as more people start going to mobile, companies are going to have to start investing in advertising and promotions for the fact that they have digital gift cards out there. They’re faster and easier to deliver, and you don’t have inventory problems with these kinds of electronic resources.


Featured PYMNTS Study: 

With eyes on lowering costs to improving cash flow, 85 percent of U.S. firms plan to make real-time payments integral to their operations within three years. However, some firms still feel technical barriers stand in the way. In the January 2020 Making Real-Time Payments A Reality Study, PYMNTS surveyed more than 500 financial executives to examine what it will take to channel RTP interest into real-world adoption. Here’s what we learned.