Written by Jerred Ziegler.
Shaul Weisband founded Jifiti based on a simple premise: shopping online is much harder when you’re looking for a gift for someone else.
“When you buy someone a gift online, there are a ton of questions you need to answer,” said Weisband. “You need to know what size they wear, what color they want, where to send the gift. Jifiti removes this guesswork by having recipients answer all these questions themselves, and receive a gift they actually want.”
Jifiti can be customized to fit any retailer’s individual needs and works within the company’s existing ecommerce platform. Users have the option to either “check out” or “send gift” during the online shopping process. When sending a gift, all that is needed is the recipient’s email address.
“By eliminating the number of questions the gifter has to answer, Jifiti can cut checkout times by 80%,” said Weisband. “Plus, the final decision power is given to the recipient, who ‘unwraps’ their gift via email, then enters product information and a shipping address. This process has essentially eliminated gift returns.”
The company has started working with businesses to create gift-giving marketing campaigns. The first of these partnerships is with Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco. In a promotion for Oreo cookies, someone can send an email with a virtual gift. The recipient “unwraps” it by clicking on the email, enters their address and a limited edition gift box of Oreos is shipped to their doorstep. Jifiti also developed strategic partnerships with companies such as Evites and Ohio-based American Greetings, allowing those receiving digital invitations or sending digital greeting cards to choose a gift from over 100 national retailers without having to go to their individual websites.
“The amount of time people spend online is growing, but the number of platforms they use is what’s shrinking, making it increasingly difficult for retailers to grab their attention and pull them to their site,” said Weisband. “Implementing our system into an online journey that a user is taking, and allowing them to purchase a gift on the site they’re already on is a huge advantage.”
Jifiti was founded in Israel in early 2012. After raising the company’s seed round, Weisband began looking for global partners and landed on Columbus, Ohio, due to the number of large retail businesses in the area.
“Columbus really is the Silicon Valley of retail,” said Weisband. “There is a great talent pool to draw from and it’s a retail city, meaning we’re able to maintain relationships with the largest retailers in the world on a day to day basis. You can operate just as well here as you could in New York City or Silicon Valley, but your dollar goes a lot further.”
When Weisband first opened the Columbus office, he was looking for office space that would allow his company to be immersed in the larger tech community. He found it with Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier.
“Rev1 introduced our company to a strong network of retailers in central Ohio,” said Weisband. “They really helped with our business development and physical office space when we first got off the ground.”
Jifiti has since outgrown its Rev1 office and moved into a space in Columbus’ Franklinton neighborhood, an historic area being revitalized to provide artists, startups and creative companies a cultural hub that fosters innovation. The company’s new office is home to its marketing, business development and creative teams. Weisband says as they continue to grow, the company will expand their gift registry presence at different retailers. They’ve partnered with IKEA and are in contact with other companies that are hoping to benefit from an untapped market.
“There’s a big technology gap in the gift registry space, and Jifiti will be at the forefront of developing that opportunity,” said Weisband. “Our goal is to break down traditional retail and continue to find ways to remove barriers from gift giving and use the technology across different industries and platforms.”