Now that the holiday shopping season is upon us, this is the time when people head out to retail stores to find the right gift or purchase for their friends, family, and themselves. Let’s not kid ourselves here, there are quite a few of us who will go shopping to buy that special something because we know this is the one time of the year that it’s on discount.
But what if you don’t have the resources to buy it or if it’s a group gift for a friend or family member? You might think that you’re out of luck, but now, Jifiti, hopes that it can help you get what you want, thanks to the kindness of your friends.
Started by Yaacov Martin, Meir Dudai, and Shaul Weisband, Jifiti is a mobile app designed to make it easy for consumers to create their own virtual gift registry for their favorite brick-and-mortar store. The company says that there are many shopping apps out there that replace their in-store experience with online shopping. With Jifiti, it says that shoppers will be drawn back to the retail stores by connecting the real-world experience with social gifting and online purchasing.
Social gifting is quite popular, but how can it be different?
By entering the marketplace, Jifiti finds itself in a crowded space filled with other similar social gifting services, including Facebook Gifts, Boomerang, Plumfare, Treater, Wrapp, etc. What it needs to find is a way to differentiate itself from all the rest, and it could be that it’s more offline than online and focused on the retail space than a specific niche like food or anything like that.
Creating your own “gift” registry
How it works is that a consumer can go into a store, see something they really want and, using the app, can scan the item’s barcode and push it out to Facebook, Twitter, email, or via SMS. When someone sees that notification and decides to act on it, they can choose how much they wish to donate to your cause. If enough money is raised to help you get the item in question, Jifiti will ping you and let you know that you’ve received a gift — just take your mobile device to the store and show an employee a barcode that they can scan letting them know that it’s been purchased on your behalf.
This process should also work great for crowdsourced gift-giving as well. If you, your friends, or family are looking to go all in on one gift for that special someone, then you can go to a store, do the same process, and have the rest of your party chip in to help fund the purchase.
Currently available on iOS and Android devices, Jifiti presents a great opportunity for consumers to create their own registry, of sorts, and let people know exactly what they want this holiday season. Now, you don’t have to worry about getting your friends those gift certificates because you can’t figure out what they want. This mobile app will easily give you helpful information in order to buy them exactly what they want.
But those gift certificates aren’t going away. In fact, Jifiti’s the one who actually is issuing them — to the store. When you get notified that your gift has been funded, the app will allow you to use those funds in any way that you can, either for the product you intended it for, or for anything else in that store. While a bit deceptive, hopefully consumers won’t take advantage of this and use it for wanton purchases and abusing the goodwill of friends and family.
For retailers interested in participating, Jifiti says that there is no integration required at all. Customers will be able to seamlessly select, purchase, and redeem gifts right on a single platform.
Partnering with the Simon Property Group
To coincide with this launch, the company is announcing a partnership with the Simon Property Group, the owner of 333 retail properties across North America and Asia. Only 21 stores are using the application, but it says that a number of nationwide retailers are in the process of joining, with some starting after the holidays.
Martin, Jifiti’s CEO, says that through this partnership, it will give the company access to “many of the popular retailers that our users love to shop in. Jifiti is bridging online catalogues with offline brick-and-mortar shops — giving shoppers the best of both worlds.” But make no mistake that the app isn’t going to be available throughout all of the malls, just specific stores.
Jifiti is only revealing that it has raised “a significant seed round from strategic partners in the retail world”. This weekend’s shopping madness will be its true test as to whether it can handle the stress of all the shoppers. It will be interesting to see how many gifts are created through this app.
Photo credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images