Group Gifting Through Social Networks

By Alexandra Man February 13, 2011 Comments

Birthdays, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, promotions, farewells, mother’s day, father’s day – all these are occasions that require gifts. And while gifting is an opportunity to make the people you love happy, finding something nice at the right price can often be a hassle.

That is why a group of four Israeli friends has come up with the Gifts Project – an e-commerce platform that makes it easier for groups to buy gifts together – enabling the purchase of one large gift instead of many small ones.

“Sometimes the perfect gift is something small and from an individual, while other times the perfect gift is something that one person cannot afford alone,” said co-founder and CEO Ron Gura.

According to the team, group buying is a great idea too often abandoned for its complicated organization aspect. “The offline process was always there and had many discomforts – as the organizer you have to bug everybody about the money, what kind of gifts, who writes the card etc. By transferring it online and onto social-networks it becomes much easier,” Gura added.

A few months ago Ebay collaborated with The Gift Project and launched Ebay Group Gifting. Ebay’s average ticket price rose by double digit percentage following the partnership.

Ebay’s group gifting page allows one organizer to choose a recipient, a gift and which friends will be asked to chip in. The invitations to gift-giving participants can be sent through social networks or email invitations and every contributor can chip in a different amount of money. The service then informs the contributors and organizer about money issues and due dates.

Asked about potential sticky situations that could arise when each person in the group contributes a different sum, Gura said: “We feel it isn’t important how much someone gives, rather the fact that they have given. Just like you wouldn’t leave a price tag on a gift you bought as an individual for a friend, we don’t see the point of putting a price tag on the amount each person contributes.”

When the group gift is fully funded, the organizer can purchase it with the collected money. The recipient will then get the gift posted at home with a greeting sent to his email from all the participants. “When all it takes is two clicks, it’s easier to chip in and help with the buying of a gift,” said Gura.

Using social network features makes it easier, he added. “Most of your friends are already online. That’s a good entry point that enables the organizer to get the gift efficiently and easily.”

“We live in a world where social media makes our lives more visible.  Each person can judge this phenomenon as positive or negative, but it is a fact of life today.  In the case of Group Gifting, I do not believe that people will perceive this visibility to be negative.  Just as can remove your name from an event on facebook if you don’t want to be associated with it, you can also remove your name from the list of invitees on Group Gifts if you are unable to chip in (or just don’t want to) and don’t want  fellow invitees to know.”

Most of the Gifts Project’s market is in the United States (90%) and the rest is scattered in Europe (mostly the UK) and Asia. Recently, the Gifts Project launched a new feature that enables getting gift suggestions based on a friend’s Facebook page.

Gura and his friends now want to conduct further research into the gifting culture as a social phenomenon: “We check group gifting patterns- special days and holidays, segmentation by countries and events, gifts that teenagers get to their peers and gifts that bridesmaids buy for weddings. We have a lot to learn and many ways to evolve”.

Photo courtesy The Gifts Project

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