This holiday season, there’s a new e-commerce gifting phenomenon happening:  social gifting. It enables you to gather friends, family and colleagues together digitally to purchase a gift that otherwise may not have been attainable, either due to financial constraints or simply because it’s deemed overly extravagant.

MaRS client SocialGift is at the heart of this phenomenon, giving businesses and consumers the ability to:

  • Use the SocialGift plug-in to easily create a group gift directly from their online store (business use).
  • Set up the plug-in and integrate it effortlessly with an existing e-commerce storefront (business use).
  • Invite friends to chip in to the gifting event through Facebook or plain old email (consumer use).
  • Track the progress of the SocialGift using the gift page. Customers can track the progress of funds raised, invite more people to contribute or message other contributors (consumer use).

For more information, check out the How it Works page on the SocialGift website.

From a MaRS perspective, we love SocialGift because:

  • It provides substantial value to both e-commerce businesses and customers by solving a large problem and creating value with the first use. For businesses, it drives more sales through the e-commerce channel, retaining existing and attracting new customers and improving inventory utilization rates. For consumers, it’s a fantastic way to engage friends, family and colleagues to purchase a gift that may otherwise been unattainable.
  • Viral adoption – SocialGift uses a pull, not push strategy. This means there is no direct sales approach necessary to attract customers.
  • Minimum IT footprint – in fact, there is practically no IT footprint for businesses because it’s a SaaS-based site (Software as a Service).
  • It’s a simple, intuitive user experience – no training required.
  • Easy configuration based on the plug-in.
  • Context aware – adjusts to location and group buying needs.

The two founders of SocialGift, Mo Govindji and Matt Bertulli, are actively building the company’s technology, customer base and user base. Most importantly, they’ve been able to “social proof” SocialGift (the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something), a phenomenon also known as informational social influence.

We are excited to continue working with startups like SocialGift, helping them with access to capital, networking and business advisory. For more information about the startup community, you can follow us on twitter: @MaRSCommons and @MaRS. If you have an idea and want to change the world like SocialGift, consider applying to MaRS for Advisory services or visit us at MaRS Commons.

Nathan Monk

Nathan Monk is a senior strategist for the MaRS Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sector. Nathan is a lean-agile evangelist, mentor, digital strategist and growth hacker/marketer. Follow him @cowboytweets. See more…