Collaboration and customization in online gifting with startups BuddyGifting and PictureBite

16th Apr 2013
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Be it birthdays, anniversaries, festivals, promotion, or no reason at all, there’s a party round the corner every weekend. While every occasion doesn’t need a gift, they gain importance during a memorable event. As the online gifting segment gains momentum; here are two startups operating in the same space.

Buddygifting

Started by four friends from Ahmedabad, Buddygifting aims to vaporize all your gifting troubles, no matter where you’re located around the world. Friends can come together online on this portal and brainstorm about the gift that they wish to buy and then make their respective contributions for the gift value and make a purchase right there. Post this, a notification shall be sent first to the receiver on the exact day of the occasion. The gift is delivered once the receiver comes to Buddygifting and redeems it.

Buddgifting thus serves as a window for gifting but does not stock any items that can be sent as gifts. It has partnered with existing ecommerce websites and brands like Flipkart, Fasttrack, Footsy, HIDESIGN, iTokri, Little Tikes, Lifestyle, Punkha, Shoppers Stop etc.

The four co-founders, Rahul Saraf, Rohan Saraf, Ronak Agarwal, and Pranay Gupta, have considerable experience that they’re currently leveraging to deliver the best results. Pranay is also the joint CEO of iAccelerator at IIM-A, and has previously worked with Nomura and Lehman brothers.

Founders BG with names (1)

BuddyGifting was launched on 14 December 2012, and they’ve got decent traction till date. About 175 pools- a term used to define the getting together of multiple friends to buy a gift- have been created and this has generated a rough estimate of transactions worth approximately a lakh of rupees. The 450+ registered users on site have come there by word-of-mouth publicity, and the site has a good following in the social media space.

“We don’t have any direct competition on the same model or concept. At BuddyGifting, we offer senders the facility to give up to three gift options from which the receiver can choose. Receiver can select the gift from the options given, or exchange gifts from shop or get a prepaid VISA gift card. This provides complete autonomy to both the giver and receiver and avoids junk gifts,” says Pranay about their USP.

The Buddygifting team feels the time for such a concept is still early and therefore the time taken to gain acceptance among users is still slow. They’re also betting on the young and energetic startup ecosystem in India as a way for better networking, and other opportunities.

PictureBite

PictureBite is an online personalized gifting portal with a large number of gifts to choose from. It also gives you the option of creating personalized gifts by printing your customized photographs and messages on the gifts.

Ashish Batra (Left) & Vishal Bansal
Ashish Batra (Left) & Vishal Bansal

Ashish Batra and Vishal Bansal started PictureBite in 2010, when they faced the trouble of finding a personalized gift maker. PictureBite is dedicated to creating and selling personalized gifts online. Customers also have the option of viewing the final product design before they place the final order.

The founders feel traditional gifts like perfumes, frames, statues, watches, etc are getting obsolete, and that is spurring people to opt for more for personalized gifts. “We have a population of over 1.2 billion, just one or two companies cannot serve this huge potential market. Even a small pie of this market will give us a good number of customers,” says Ashish, who manages the web design and marketing for PictureBite; while Vishal takes care of the operations.

Almost everything that can be customized is always on the site: photo frames, glow in dark, photo glass, mugs, albums, marbles, stones, acrylic items, pillows, bags, phone covers, and tees. The “glow in the dark” products are the bestsellers on PictureBite.

They do not keep a fixed inventory but stock up depending on the time of the year. For example, December and February are the busiest months for the gifting business and during this time they stock more gift items than other times of the year.

A major concern for PictureBite is the rush in preparing and delivering last minute or urgent gifts. Products take time for customization, as there is some time taken to prepare the gift after receiving the order. Their USP is an in-house graphic designer who helps edit the photographs before they are printed on a product.

The online space seems to be alluring for such startups and many have started up, and experimented with simple innovations like sending gifts via emails, and even via phone! Any other startup that you've heard of? Tell us in the comments.

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