Yougotagift launches in the Middle East

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In January, Swedish social gifting app Wrapp reached one million users in 14 months, accruing users faster than Pinterest, Twitter, Gilt Groupe, Kickstarter, and AirBnb, by offering users the basic option of free and paid digital gifts and gift cards to friends. 

There's been enough buzz to have the Arab world take notice. After the soft launch of Justgiftit this past Christmas season, the brains behind Laimoon and Roundmenu -the Honeybee Tech Ventures crew- launched yesterday, a similar gift card concept that offers gift cards for sale online.

The model is similar to Giftcardmall. Users can buy gift cards from various brands and retailer, and send them over Facebook and email. Unlike social gifting model Wrapp, Yougotagift doesn't require login via facebook and is more transparent as even non-logged in users can have a look at the gift cards available. On Yougotagift, users can also customize cards to be printed out and handed out in person, for a birthday or event.

Abed Bibi and Husain Makiya came up with the idea when researching its relevance for the Arab market at Honeybee, their UAE-based investment vehicle that works like an incubator and seed investor for in-house projects.

The site currently offers 22 major brands or retail stores like Virgin Megastore, Boutique 1, S*uce, Istyle, and Vox Cinemas. One of the main advantages of using the site is enabling cross-border gifting, explains Bibi. “So many people here have family abroad. Instead of sending something physical that might not arrive on time, that might not be the thing they want, [they can use Yougotagift].”

Personalization is also a big element on the site. Customers can personalize the amount they want to offer, the way the card look like by adding a photo or a message, decide how and when they want their friend to get the card.

Hot competition

Although the business models are different, Yougotagift and Justgiftit will be targeting the same audience. Both have launched out of the UAE; the race is on to see who can snatch up market share the fastest. Competition will likely be fierce; Yougotagift's post yesterday and a Justgiftit post from March 18 seem to offer very similar themes. But it will all come down to customer experience.

The Yougotagift team is already planning its next move. Like JustGiftIt, they’re planning on launching a group gifting feature, ideal for weddings and birthday parties.

Some websites in the region are already offering gift registry services, like Mylist, but group gifting services, where people decide by themselves what they want to offer, is completely new in the region. It will be interested to see how it picks up here. Will people be ready to chip in online?

Marketing and monetizing

The Yougotagift team is planning a large marketing campaign, with social media, outdoor, traditional media, and a TV marketing and advertising campaign to come.

To monetize, the company is taking a percentage on all sales on the platform, that is “a fair percentage for customers, and a fair percentage for us to maintain our marketing budget.”

The team is also planning on expanding regionally. “Within 12 months, we expect to be regional with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon and Kuwait as our next frontiers. Since our strategy is to partner with major retail groups, we have been able to sign up stores on a regional basis right from the start,” concludes Bibi.

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