A guest post from Ajay Pandey, Founder-CEO of Badhai.in ((Ajay Pandey has graduated from IIT Kanpur, Ajay has always been a startup guy. Strong supporter of Social media, Ajay likes travelling, reading, listening to music and watching SciFi movies. You can catch him at LinkedIn)) who shares his thoughts on Facebook Gifts, the challenges it throws for itself and to the set of startups in the social gifting space.
Social gifting is the new buzz word in the tech world. With Facebook entering the fray, the buzz got bigger. Social gifting started almost a year back with several start-ups like Wrapp , GiftRocket, Karma (Now acquired by Facebook) providing a new experience in gifting. While most of the start-ups are taking prepaid route, Karma was focused on the merchandise gifting. Facebook, struggling for lack of clear cut mobile strategy and a monetization avenue, acquired Karma on the day of their IPO. Lee Linden (Karma founder) is heading the gifts feature of Facebook. Facebook gifts are in infancy and currently getting tested in the US market.
Why social gifting is important?
Gifting is essentially a social phenomenon. Every occasion or celebration involves at least 2 or more people. So we need platforms, where we include the friends and family in celebration and allow them to express happiness with a gift. Also, groups can contribute for bigger and better gifts. Retailers are struggling with finding innovative ways to sell their products and due to lack of data, they miss out the personal occasions of an individual. With social networks capturing data and interactions, one can predict the right gifting moment. Facebook and independent gifting platforms integrated with Facebook/Twitter, etc. managed to meet the world’s problems in the gifting space.
You are sending gifts, so you have to be doubly sure that:
1. It should reach on time
2. It should reach in the right condition
3. Recipient should like your choice of gifts
Can Facebook manage it?
Facebook is partnering with retailers for providing gifts. Facebook, traditionally a content business is getting into a different segment. This will be the first time when they will start interacting with users in real life out of the digital channels. As a strategy, we have to see how Facebook is going to perform and can become like Amazon/eBay? Also a lot will depend on the service and product quality of the participating retailer. We can look at a nice Cake on the website, but it is not necessary that it will reach on the scheduled day (Logistics issue) and recipient likes the flavour, colour, etc.
Facebook social gifting and India
In India the early starters of Social Gifting are Badhai.in being the first one followed by 99presents.com, Giveter.com and iWish app. You can expect many ‘me too’ products in the coming months. Also, traditional businesses are trying to integrate a social angle into their gifting section. It will take sometime before Facebook will venture into the Indian market. The problem of working with Indian retailers is multifold. Several other gifting ventures failed, because the fulfilment of the order was really a challenge and quality control was completely missing. I would personally not risk the ordering of a non standard gift item. It will be easier for Facebook to provide the platform but will be really difficult for them to control other aspects.
At the end of the day, you can manage a disappointment yourself but can’t afford to disappoint someone whom you are gifting. My take is – gifting a voucher is going to prevail in the online space in India.
Image Courtesy: Southbourne.com