This year, I have chosen to simplify several things in my daily life, one of them being my 5000+ member contact list that grows by 100-200 new contacts every month.
Currently, I use FullContact to manage all my contacts. It scans business cards, merges duplicates and scrapes the internet to find and attach all the social media accounts of my contacts to update me on their latest activities.
Additionally, I have been using Accompany. It sends me a daily email digest with the latest media articles involving anyone from my contact list. It also allows me to sync my calendar and sends me a bio of the people that I am scheduled to meet. It usually includes their latest media mentions and articles, giving me the chance to build a strong rapport at the beginning of every conversation.
However, there is one service (or a feature) that I wish there was an app to address. It would save my team and I the time and effort we spend doing this task manually every year. Every year we go through an arduous process to send gifts to my contacts on their birthdays, anniversaries or religious occasions like Diwali, Eid, Holi, Christmas, etc. A feature or service that could semi-automate this process, providing an easy solution to this problem could be an interesting concept that an enterprising group of individuals could work on.
My idea for this model is:
- Connect with my (the user’s) contact list
- Scrape through online sources for birthdays and anniversaries of my contacts
- Also, try to figure out the religion they follow so that a personalized wish can be sent on their respective religious festivals.
- A week before someone’s birthday/anniversary, ask me the budget that I would like to allocate to their gift and try to find them an interesting card, bouquet or a gift that can be sent on my behalf.
- Then the service could send me a variety of options for gifts based on the budget that I had allocated and allow me to pick the one I prefer most.
- This service will also need to get in touch with the person I am sending the gift to, for their latest address, a response that the person getting the gift can choose to keep hidden from me or let me update on my contact list with the latest info.
- The service can start to learn and over a period, start getting smarter in terms of the budget and the gifts that I like to send
- They could also start to classify who I prioritize from my contact list based on the budgets and frequency of gifts that I send that person
- A similar exercise can be done before a religious occasion on a larger scale.
- As my contact list continues to increase, so does the business for this service
There are two ways the company makes money. Thus, the revenue model could be:
- Convenience Fee
If the company decides to charge this fee it is imperative that the quality of the gift and of the service is of the highest order. A low-quality gift or shoddy service will ensure that the user is lost forever due to the embarrassment it would cause him/her.
Secondly, the company should ensure that the prices they provide for their gifts are the best prices in the market. I have tried Wishup and Quintessentially to solve this problem in the past, but they tried to price gouge me, dissuading me from using their service again.
- Affiliate commissions
The company can get affiliate commissions from their vendors and then decide to share a part of it with their clients by providing better (cheaper) prices than they could find anywhere on their own. As the number of gifts grows, the relationship built with the vendors and customers would act as a significant moat against competing service providers.
There are numerous articles that can tell you that the size of the gifting market in India is huge. In fact, this research report from Technopak estimated the size of the market to be $40-42 billion, and a more recent article from TOI estimated it to be $65 billion. There is already an abundance of digital players trying to make their mark in this space. However, most of them do not provide as in-depth a solution as I have drawn out here, which opens up a blue ocean in an otherwise red sea.
Karishma Kirpalani from our team is in charge of finding me a startup that provides this service. If you or someone you know is pursuing this, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Karishma Kirpalani.