GIfting has never been as easy in any era as in today’s world of ecommerce. Log on to one of the numerous online shops that can deliver in the town you want to send a gift to, choose a product, checkout and bam! Your job is done without leaving your desk, and your loved ones get a nicely-wrapped gift at their doorstep in a few days.
The problem with this model is the problem of plenty. With hundreds of gift sites, and thousands of ecommerce sites selling all kinds of merchandise, with the mounting occasions that warrant gifting, buying a present has become a chore and the effort required is usually marred by not knowing where to find what you are looking for. It can be really intimidating to first narrow down on a kind of gift, then a site, and finally find a product from the myriad catalogs that suits the mood and occasion. Further, poor road and retail infrastructure have turned people into lazy and thoughtless gift givers.
Welcome Giftyaar.com, a Mumbai-based startup that attempts to simplify gifting. The quintessential purpose of the service is embedded in its tagline “Gifting Simplified”. Current leading e-sites offer the convenience of saving time but most offer the same products available in any mall today. Giftyaar.com offers a website for shoppers to find unique, creative and innovative gifts that are not found easily on other sites nor in offline retail stores.
Another unique aspect of Giftyaar is Facebook integration. No, it does not try and make gifting social but shows upcoming birthdays from Facebook, and makes use of the social graph to suggest gifts for your friends based on their likes. Needless to say, it needs an FB login for that, but you can checkout gifts even without connecting to Facebook. Free shipping, flexible return policy and COD are also included, as in most sites today. A free personalized greeting card with a handwritten message is optional at checkout.
Giftyaar.com is founded by Amit Nawalrai, who was born in Spain and lived and worked in NYC, Miami, Hong Kong, London, Spain, and India, in i-Banks, his own startup, and real estate. Harminder Sahni, investor in InkFruit and Capillary Technologies, guest faculty at IITD, IIMs, ISB, and MDI, is a co-founder and advisor. Amit Nawalrai talks in detail about the concept of Giftyaar and its future plans:
PI: How is Giftyaar different from hundreds of other gift sites available out there? What led to the birth of Giftyaar?
AN: When we did our survey among our friends and colleagues we found out that they were dissatisfied with the current selection of gifts today both offline and online and that the existing sites that were popular are offering the same products that the stores do. That is one of the reasons we decided to start giftyaar.com.
We strive to offer an assortment of quality, thoughtful gifts at approachable price points, most of which are difficult to find elsewhere (online or offline). Whether the gift is for a city slicker, a design lover or a gadget guru, giftyaar.com has a wide range of smart gizmos, quirky keepsakes, and clever accessories to ensure you never give a disappointing gift again.
Differentiating features include a fun “Gift finder” that helps you find that perfect gift, by selecting the recipient and their attitude as well as the occasion. The Facebook integration enables you to see your friends’ birthdays in the coming month and by linking their likes (assuming open access) to our growing list of products and associated keywords we will be able to filter and ideate gifts in a smarter manner.
PI: How do you source your products? Are they exclusively manufactured for Giftyaar?
AN: We have a number of domestic and international vendors whom we work with, over 30 now. To date none of our products are exclusively manufactured for giftyaar. In the future once we have a larger customer base we will work with designers and manufacturers to create products. Presently, we source vendors through multiple channels including events, online search, attend International fairs, trips to HK, China and the West.
Our products come from all over the world; we exclusively offer Nanodots from Canada and Ion range of products from the USA. We also have brands from the UK, Australia and USA such as Yubz, Trunki, BlueLounge, Joy Factory, Twelve South, Quirky, and MakeMyDay.
PI: I see the Vendor Sign up form at your site. How useful has it been? How do you shortlist them?
AN: We have multiple categories and price point parameters that we look for innovative products to fit into. We then get samples and test them and then decide what makes it onto our site. Out of the 30 vendors to date only one has come through us through our link on the site, the rest we have actively found and we expect that to be the case for the near future. If vendors sell to everybody and the products are easily found in stores on on leading e-sites, we would not put them up on giftyaar.com. We don’t want to compete on price and do not discount products. We meet all our vendors in person and rather grow these relationships in the proper manner, over time.
PI: Who do you think are you closest competitors?
AN: We are not competing with leading multi-category e-commerce sites today that have lakhs of products. We want to save our customers’ time and offer them only the very best that our team has hand-picked and tested and decided that the product will make an ideal gift, i.e. strengthen the bond between the gift giver and the recipient.
Sites I personally like in the gifting space include, excitinglives.com, hitplay.com, itsourstudio.com and gogifts.in, all run by fantastic entrepreneurs whom I have met. I feel the market is growing rapidly and all of us can build sizeable businesses.
If you look at UK and US you have lots of top notch sites coexisting with leading retail players including Amazon. In the UK, I am referring to red5.co.uk and notonthehighstreet.com and in the US redenvelope.com and thinkgeek.com both of which do over US$100 million in sales a year.
PI: How many footfalls do you see on your site on an average day? What is the kind of revenue that you generate?
AN: Our site is a little under 4 months old. We have had over 11,000 visitors in March. We get anything between 150 to 500 visitors a day.
We are growing traffic and revenues by about 25% per month organically and with some monies going into SEM, mainly Google Adwords. We have crossed 5 lac in sales and are operating on double digit positive gross margins.
PI: How are you spreading the word?
AN: A mix of online and offline initiatives. E-mailers, daily facebook posts and tweets, SEO submissions and limited SEM campaigns. We are also exhibiting in some offline events and have flyers being distributed in targeted locations. We recently had a contest on missmalini.com and will be advertising in popular sites such as MumbaiBoss.com.
PI: What are your future plans?
AN: We plan to add more products and categories to the site as well as a whole host of features such as gifting registries, deeper social media integration, group buying features, and loyalty schemes.
We want to improve our gift finder and develop mobile applications on multiple platforms. We will keep listening to our customers gifting needs and develop products and price points that will make their gifting experience hassle free and enjoyable. We are looking to build the team with people who have relevant e-commerce experience and skill sets to complement the current team. We will seek to operate warehouses in Mumbai, Delhi & Bangalore in the near future and continue to dispatch our products within 24hrs of orders being received. We will add “safe” gifts to our orders, such as flowers, greeting cards and various wrapping options. We continue to actively seek tie ups to scale the business.
Giftyaar.com is a great help to the thoughtful customer, who wants to offer unique, memorable gifts to create a bond with the recipient, and not just a ‘safe’ gift (flowers, chocolates) out of formality. Giftyaar.com has the potential to be the leader in that space, even though “the journey to be India’s first place you visit for all your gifting occasions has just begun”. It can be that one-stop destination for all gifting needs of Indians, provided it reaches the masses and people know about it.
If the concept excites you, if you wish to enthrall your loved ones by gifting them something unique, and have them remember you for your gifts, Giftyaar.com is the place to try out. Do give it a shot the next time you have to gift someone, and let us know their reactions in the comments below.
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