When it comes to giving gifts, we tend to have a tangibility bias. The overwhelming majority of the things we buy for each other during the holidays are physical items that you can touch, touch, wrap in decorative paper, and place under a tree. But this bias in favor of physical gifts has a downside that is becoming harder and harder to ignore: it creates a huge amount of waste. That’s why this year (and for the foreseeable future) we should all be considering giving away software as a freebie.

Environmental concerns are not the only reason either. Whether it’s mobile apps, desktop programs, or whatever, many of us use and interact with software several hours a day, so if you choose your giveaway wisely, the right software can do the trick. a big difference in the life of your gift. And perhaps best of all, the software can be delivered digitally – so it’s a great last-minute giveaway option if you’ve procrastinated.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The only problem, of course, is that giving away software as a freebie isn’t particularly easy anymore. Previously, when everything was available on floppy disks and CDs, but now that most software is purchased and delivered digitally over the Internet, the process is often somewhat complicated and not very intuitive.

This article is an attempt to help with that. Below is a list of general purpose tips, tricks, and techniques that will hopefully help you navigate the murky waters of software giving, reduce the number of physical gifts you give each year, and do the planet (and your friends and family) a favor. Here’s how to gift software in 2021.

Note: This article is not about buying and offering video games, which technically fall under the category of software, but are particularly different from most other forms of software because they are generally quite straightforward and easy. to buy as a gift. both physically and digitally.

Accept and accept that this is a messy process

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to buying software and giving it to someone else. There isn’t an all-in-one store that sells all the programs you could want, and while there are a few big markets like Apple’s App Store and Google Play that can often make things easier, you may have to venture outside the confines of an online app store to find what you need.

Ultimately, where you buy software, how it is delivered, and how easy the overall process is are determined by a wide range of different factors. You will therefore need to be flexible and consider several avenues before making your purchase. In other words, just be prepared to put in the time for research and due diligence.

Make a basic reconnaissance

It should go without saying, but before you buy anything you should do your best to determine what types of software might be of interest to your giveaway. What are their hobbies, passions and aspirations? Can software help with these things? What programs do they already have access to at work or school? If you’re not confident enough to take the plunge and buy them an unknown program that they may or may not like, it’s often a safer way to just find out what software they’re already using and buy a “pro.” “or” premium “version which offers additional functionality.

Man holding binoculars up to his face.
Andy Andrews / Getty

Once you have a general idea of ​​what software you might purchase, the next step is to determine a few key things about your beneficiary. What devices are they using? iPhone? Android? The Windows? Mac? What operating system are they on? Do they meet the minimum requirements of the software you hope to offer? Some of these questions will be easier to answer than others, but it is important to think about them before continuing. The last thing you want to do is purchase a program that your recipient cannot use due to technical incompatibilities.

When in doubt, it never hurts to just ask your giveaway all the details you can’t figure out on your own – or even ask them directly what they want.

Try the developer’s website first

If you’ve focused on the app or program you want to purchase and give as a gift, the first thing you should do is visit the developer’s website and see if they have a gift option. Many companies allow you to purchase a redemption code for their software, which you can then give to your recipient.

This method is interesting because it gives you an additional measure of specificity in the offer of your gift. Instead of just giving away a generic gift card that could be used for anything, you’re gifting a particular software app that you’ve chosen for a reason, which makes the gift a bit more personal.

The downside to this method is that it is also a bit riskier. If you purchase a program that your recipient doesn’t want or can’t use for some reason, your only recourse is to try and get a refund. If you want to hedge your bet, use the following method.

If all else fails, just get a gift card

If you can’t directly buy an app as a gift, your next best option is the indirect route: buy a gift card from the App Store / Marketplace where you can buy your software. Unfortunately, this method is not as specific (you will have to tell the recipient of the gift card which software you had in mind), but the advantage is that it is extremely simple and allows your recipient to purchase a large range of other applications if your planned program is not of interest.

An outstretched hand or a Google Play gift card on a shelf.

If you purchase iOS or Mac software, a apple gift card will do. For Android and Chromebook users, you can purchase a Google Play Map, while Microsoft Store Gift Cards will cover pretty much anything Windows based. If you cannot purchase a gift card directly for a given app store, you may need to purchase a Prepaid Visa card.

To complete the process, simply go to the appropriate app store or marketplace, search for your software, and then write down the price. Then use the links provided above to purchase a gift card of sufficient value to cover the cost of the software. That’s it!

Suggestions and Considerations:

When you buy a gift card online, you’ll usually have a choice between digital and physical delivery. If you choose the latter option, a small plastic gift card will be mailed to you and will arrive after a few business days. If you choose the digital option, a redemption code will be emailed to you and arrive in the blink of an eye, while avoiding the use of disposable plastic for storage or fossil fuel for transportation. As such, we strongly recommend that you choose digital delivery. It’s better in almost every way.

If you’re giving away a gift card and want a vivid way to signal the agenda you had in mind (aside from telling them verbally), we recommend printing out a personalized QR code which, when scanned, will take them to the product’s download page. Slip this code into a greeting card and you’re done. It’s not as exciting as ripping a packet of wrapping paper from a gift, but it brings back an element of surprise that is often lost when your gift is digital.

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