Friends can share the cost of a gift at any store, online or offline, using a new website that claims to be the first of its kind.
Shareagift.com, which has launched in beta in the UK and the US, allows groups of friends to pool their money to buy gifts. It is the idea of Justine Angelli, chief executive of venture capital incubator Absolute Technology Portfolio, who says the launch will “transform” the process of present buying by making it a shared social activity.
Angelli, who previously founded private aviation and luxury transport company Avolus, said: “Gifting is an innately social activity, these days often made more difficult by the time constraints and geographical disparity of modern life. Today consumers are increasingly living and sharing their lives online – using the internet to bring together groups of people in a social context wherever they are in the world.
“What we have done with Shareagift is harness the social capability of the internet to revolutionise people’s approach to gifting – enabling them to give a really great gift to someone they love in a way that’s easy, fun, and interactive - regardless of their budget, time-constraints or location.”
By putting their cash together to buy a gift, she says, people can buy more meaningful presents. By doing it through the Shareagift.com website, people aged 18 or over, anywhere in the world, can all contribute to gifts, paying online, and reducing the hassle factor of organizing a group gift offline.
Someone organizing a gift does it by creating a gift page and generating email or Facebook invitations to those being asked to contribute. Automatic reminders are sent out by the site. Once the target or time deadline is reached, the organiser logs in, collects the fund into their PayPal account to buy online or transfers them into their back account to buy in a high street store.
Shareagift.com also has a number of affiliate partners from whom present buyers can choose to purchase.
Our view: This could be seen not as being so much a retail site as a dedicating group saving site, but its launch reflects an important trend that could have implications for retailers and is one of a growing number of ways that customers can organise shared gifts. (Other include online marketplaces eBay in the US and Notonthehighstreet.com in the UK) Is there a retail opportunity in marketing goods to appeal to a new class of consumers, who want to buy large items as a gift? There are limitless occasions on which such a site might be used, from weddings and christenings through to retirement and significant birthdays and this could represent a significant change in the value of gifts that get bought.