Korean gifting platform Giftiicon’s co-founder says she wants to improve the gifting journey of Indian users

Founded by father-daughter duo Nakkyun Chong and Ji Hyun Chong, the Giftiicon app enables users to send a gift of their choice in just 30 seconds through SMS and WhatsApp without necessarily knowing the address of the recipient.
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After a successful run in South Korea, with a GMV of $4.5 billion last year with over 24 million users using the platform and over 20 million transactions taking place every month, Korean casual gifting platform Giftiicon is all set to make inroads into the Indian market.

Giftiicon’s premise is simple, explains co-founder Ji Hyun Chong, whose father, Nakkyun Chong started it in 2006 and made the platform a global business.

“The idea of Giftiicon came from the observation that people, irrespective of their background and culture, often want to build connections with others and express their feelings and joy through gifts in various forms. Sometimes the limitation could be about what could be a perfect gift, where to find it and how to have it delivered.”

An industrial designer by training, Ji Hyun was educated at Pratt Institute in New York and University of the Arts London.

“When I was trained as a designer, the main goal was to solve problems for people and make their life easier by suggesting a solution. That I think is not much different from what an entrepreneur does. I wanted to improve the gifting journey of Indian users. Besides, as a daughter whose father is a businessman, I was influenced by him either directly or indirectly,” she adds.

Giftiicon India was incorporated in 2019 and is headquartered out of Bengaluru.

Low-contact gifting option

Ji Hyun points out that sometimes when you want to send a gift to a person who you 'just' know for business or who you 'just' met, it is hard to ask for their address to send a gift.

“We wanted to offer a simple way to send a gift by only knowing the recipient's mobile number – through SMS or WhatsApp within 30 seconds. With Giftiicon, gifts can be given or requested with equal ease, and the recipient can redeem the gift within one month. Particularly in the COVID-age when people are socially distanced yet want to retain their human connections, Giftiicon offers the perfect low-contact gifting option for anyone with a smartphone,” she says.

The brand’s first move in India is not onboard as many partner brands as possible, which it is doing by knocking on the doors of the big players in the retail market. It is now working with Pine Labs to add more partners from the market.

Giftiicon is a platform which needs to onboard as many partner brands as possible Hence, the first move was to knock on the door of big players in the retail market.

“By acquiring brands one by one, we won credibility and now we are working with Pine Labs to add more partners from the market,” she says. 

It also allows users to pick from multiple categories of gifts listed on the platform, from F&B and cosmetics to home decor and flowers. Gifts can be given or requested with equal ease, and the recipient can redeem the gift within one month.

At the time of redemption, users have the option of visiting the store to pick up the gift or request a pick-up via apps like Dunzo, which is Giftiicon’s delivery partner. There is also a Gen Z-focused unique feature called ‘Tease’ that lets users request a gift.

All brands in one place

Ji Hyun says its biggest competitors in India include Qwikcliver, Ferns N Petals (FnP), and Floweraura.

“As it is said, to keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer, our strategy was to onboard our competitors. We have successfully onboarded FnP and Floweraura. 

Our strategy is to onboard more renowned global, national, and local brands on the platform. We also want to enable group gifting features for bulk orders and a “gifting together” feature, which enables many to one gifting. Additionally, we want to expand to additional Tier-I cities and make Giftiicon a pan-Indian brand,” she says.

According to her, the difference between Giftiicon and others is it offers

all sorts of different brands in one place for users to choose and send a casual gift.

For the merchant, Giftiicon enables pan-India marketing that requires no extra inventory investment as products are only required when the gift is paid for. Giftiicon also has tie-ups with payment gateways, which eliminates the hassle of POS integration and encourages immediate purchases.

The main revenue source is the commission collected from partner brands for each transaction. In the future, it hopes to develop an in-app inventory for partners to utilise for their advertisements and make money from that source as well.

The gifting market globally is poised to reach $127 billion by 2024, and the online gifting market is expected to grow up to $10 billion GMV.

The pandemic saw the brand pivot its business model that allows to pick-up gifts from stores by partnering with services like Dunzo. Earlier, users had to visit the store for gift redemption.

“During the pandemic we have been able to help people connect by sending gifts to each other. We have seen families use our app to send gifts for birthdays they can’t attend and friends send gifts because they have not seen each other in months. We feel great being responsible for giving such moments of happiness in these trying times,” says Ji Hyun.

The entrepreneur believes that the 1.3 billion population market in India is a huge opportunity, especially due to increased earnings and simultaneous growth in spending patterns.

“With the onboarding of premium brands across multiple categories, Giftiicon aims to appeal to these working professionals based in Tier I cities where there are multiple brand outlets that recipients can collect their gifts from. We look forward to integrating with more delivery partners for the same,” she adds.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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