Once upon a time, gift vouchers were widely considered one of the most impersonal gifts you could get. But in an era where friends are now dispersed all over the world and convenience is vital, many people are turning to vouchers as a first choice, rather than a fallback. Recognising a new niche in the market, a Dubai-based online gifting service is going one step further than standard e-gift voucher providers by tying in its services with social media.
‘Facebook is a great network and database of friends, so that was a no-brainer when thinking of a website,’ says 35-year-old Pakistani Usman Khalid, the co-founder of Just Gift It. ‘Through the website you can send gift cards to your Facebook friends. They then have the freedom to choose exactly what they want. The gift cards on offer through our site are with some of the leading online and offline retailers, and we’re building a long list for every occasion and budget.’
Other Dubai-based businesses are also well aware of the convenience of electronic gifting. Local gadget megastore Sharaf DG (www.sharafdg.com) offers online gift vouchers worth up to Dhs300 for online purchases only, while, the environmentally sound can be gifted vouchers worth up to Dhs1,000 through The Green Ecostore (www.thegreenecostore.com).
Dubai-based multi-brand site Aura-b (www.aura-b.com) also offers vouchers worth up to Dhs550 that can be redeemed on fashion and lifestyle products. ‘People are very busy and look for ease and comfort in doing things,’ says Aura-b founder Dina Abdulhadi. ‘Gift vouchers are the perfect solution for gifting. They enable people to choose what they want to buy, while at the same time eliminating the risk of the receiver not liking the gift.’
So what sets Just Gift It apart from these? We’ve all been on the receiving end of a measly Dhs25 gift voucher – the type where you end up having to spend more cash to supplement the voucher and redeem it for something worthwhile. But Usman says there is one particular feature that makes Just Gift It unique. ‘What makes our site special is that it allows a gift giver to contribute to existing gift cards that have been sent to a recipient, which allows you to give – or receive – an even bigger gift,’ he says.
Some of the retailers currently on board include N-Bar, MumzWorld, The Grooming Company, Bulgari, Al Jaber Optics and lingerie store Nuit D’Art. But Usman says he has some personal favourites he’d like to nail down, too. ‘I would love to have Virgin Megastore on the list, because that’s where I like to buy gifts from.
‘The great thing about having started Just Gift It in Dubai is that we aren’t left wanting for brands – there are a large number of local and international brands to choose from. We spend a lot of time trying to identify our retail partners, and then reaching out to them,’ he says.
The Just Gift It phone app is available to download now. www.justgiftit.com.