In my 20 years of experience as a sales manager in the world of cards, I would never have imagined that gift cards would become a tool to support families in need. Also in foreign markets, gift cards have always been a means of early invoicing for large retailers.

Gabrio Mechetti, Card Sales Manager of Partitalia

The 100K card order!

During the lockdown, I was contacted by two supermarket chains asking if I could fill an order for 100,000 cards with three different subjects in a very short time: I had just three days.

I never expected such a request, since one of the customers had fully withdrawn the same amount of cards and had also already placed an order back in January. At Partitalia, we have no problems with such cards' quick deliveries. We recently made a major investment in R&D for alternative materials and production optimisation, and even during the lockdown, production remained active. So after a quick check, I confirmed delivery within the reduced timeframe.

Gift cards for social support

This allowed me to discover a new relevant area of gift cards. In small and medium-sized municipalities where the social fabric is very strong, they were used to support people in difficult economic situations so they could purchase basic foodstuffs. 

The idea is simple. The supermarket issues gift cards in various formats. The cards are purchased by municipalities, charities and associations and then distributed to families, who visit that supermarket chain to do their shopping directly.

The interesting aspect is that gift cards, which have always been considered a commercial means to give someone the opportunity to buy from mass-market retail with the advantage of loyalty and pre-billing for the company, has become a tool for social aid — simplified benefits for less well-off families who, during the hardest months of the COVID-19 pandemic, were able to take advantage of this opportunity.