Jifiti makes gift giving easierBusiness Profiles — By Melanie McIntyre on January 7, 2013 at 8:00 am
The Internet has dramatically altered the way we shop. Nowadays, with the click of a mouse, you can purchase just about anything your heart desires from the comfort of your own home.
Though online shopping offers convenience (and affords retailers a nearly endless reach), the creators of Jifiti, a new smartphone app, don’t believe the in-store shopping experience is obsolete. That’s why they’ve built a platform they say marries the best of both worlds.
Released in December, Jifiti allows consumers to add products to a shareable wish list while shopping at numerous mass retailers, including Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Pottery Barn, Sephora, and Toys R Us.
“I wanted to see shoppers continue to frequent their favorite stores, trying on items, and allowing them to spot and announce those they would like to receive,” says Jifiti CEO Yaacov Martin. “Their family and friends should be able to view these and purchase them online whenever and wherever they may be.”
Once a gift is purchased, the recipient gets a ping on the app and is taken to their Jifiti inbox, where they’ll find a redemption notification. Then, they simply show the notification to a store employee and walk out with their gift.
“Most users flip out when they see this actually works,” Martin says.
The concept for Jifiti has been marinating in Martin’s mind for about 10 years, going back to when he was exposed to wedding registries first hand.
“Already then I asked myself, ‘Why am I limited to one store? Why is this experience only relevant to weddings?’”
The development process, however, didn’t start in earnest until about 18 months ago. After raising funds from family and friends, Martin and his team started working on the Jifiti prototype.
Once the prototype was complete, they showed it to potential investors and garnered “substantial funding,” which allowed them to add more bodies to the team, Martin says.
Jifiti’s partnerships with so many well-known retailers is impressive, especially for a startup, but apparently getting them on board wasn’t as difficult as it might seem.
Some retailers heard about Jifiti in the media and sought out the app’s creators; others were approached by the creators who then did in-store demonstrations.
“We actually were able to test independently with some of the brands without their official cooperation, and that proved the fact that we really require no integration from the retailer’s side,” Martin says.
The app is available for Android and iPhone, and free to use. Jifiti’s performance-based operating model means the company gets a commission from retailers once a sale is made.
To learn more about Jifiti, visit Jifiti.com.
Melanie McIntyre served as editorial director of The Metropreneur from its launch in August 2010 to May 2013. She is also a featured writer for Columbus Underground and writes about fashion, style and pop culture on her blog, Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is an Ohio State University graduate, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.
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