Digital gifting has become a significant trend. Gifting serves as a meaningful and thoughtful way to express appreciation towards our loved ones, colleagues, and friends. Social platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram have introduced features that enable fans to show their appreciation for their favorite creators. Twitter has also joined the bandwagon by testing "Twitter Awards," a feature that allows followers to show their gratitude to creators. 

Creatives, on the other hand, have been leveraging these platforms to show appreciation to their fans through giveaways. Whether you are a creator or not, online or offline, everyone desires to be appreciated. Appreciation is vital in fostering human connections and has been shown to have physiological benefits. 

In today's fast-paced world, however, expressing appreciation through gifting has become somewhat challenging. To give a gift, one often must spend time searching through Instagram or googling for the right gift ideas. This simple act of gratitude has become stressful. Chances are you have experienced the struggle of finding or deciding on the perfect gift for your friends, dad, or mom too. That's why GiftPal exists – to assist individuals and businesses in showing their appreciation to those around them through gifting. 

A tweet by GiftPal's Co-Founder, Norbert.

The Birth of GiftPal

In 2021, during a conversation, both co-founders realized that they shared the frustration of having to find the perfect gift for their loved ones, which motivated them to solve this problem by creating GiftPal. 

Nicholas: Giftpal was born out of personal frustrations we faced. We both had so many friends and you know that comes with a cost. Almost every month someone is celebrating their birthday or an occasion that requires them to share gifts with them. And you will see us spending time on Instagram and Google trying to find something to gift. The process of looking for the right gift to send has been very stressful. We were having a discussion where we realized it was something we both faced which led to building Giftpal - an easy-to-use platform that allows users to send personalized gifts to anyone, anywhere in the world.

GitfPal's UI.

Validating the idea and building the MVP

Having come to that realization, they knew that other people might be facing a similar challenge. As a means of creating a human-centric solution to the problem, they adopted a 'beginner' mindset to learn more and better understand the problem. They engaged with over 300 people through interviews and surveys. By the end of this process, they realized that most people were encountering similar struggles and pain points. Thus, they understood that this was a common issue in need of a solution.

Nicholas: We validated it after engaging over 300 people. We gathered enough insights through our engagements with them to identify the right solution for them. We initially started with the name Pick n Wrap but we also realized how daunting of a task it was going to be for us managing logistics and fulfillment so we identified digital gifting options as faster and more affordable options available. We spent a few weeks prototyping the idea and we‘ve been able to make more iterations there after. It's always challenging shipping faster when you just have a small team size which is normal for every idea stage startup at that time. But we were able to overcome those challenges.  

A tweet by GiftPal's Co-founder, Norbert.
A tweet by GiftPal's Co-Founder, Norbert.

Going to Market: The Music & Tech Collabo

In the African Startup Ecosystem, there has been a notable collaboration between the music and tech industries in bringing products to market. GiftPal employed a similar strategy when they were market-ready. Additionally, they partnered with Bolt to introduce ride gifting to individuals and businesses.

Nicholas: When our product was ready to go to market we did a couple of social media announcements, we got an artist called Camidoh  who is passionate about this and added his voice to the product which gave it more push, he actively uses Giftpal for Giveaways etc. Our reception hasn't been bad. We were not so lucky, especially during times like this when there’s economic hardship and people do not have the luxury of gifting, unlike they used to before. We have made some pretty decent traction with minimal publicity but we believe we can do even better. 

The Tough Part 

"Ideas look great on paper, but implementation is another matter, and the realities become apparent when you hit the road." This fact was candidly acknowledged in his response to the challenges they have encountered in their journey. Implementing an idea is often the most formidable aspect of bringing it to life. Just like any startup or business, they have faced their share of difficulties.

Nicholas: It’s tricky especially if you underestimate the challenges it presents like adoption, onboarding and how these economic factors can impact your business. Ideas look great on paper, implementation is another thing and the realities stare right in your face when you hit the road. The most challenging part of our industry is navigating vendor onboarding to help us create the best gifting experiences for our users and that’s been one of our biggest challenges – working with local vendors to increase the options available to our customers on our platform. But these challenges presented an opportunity for us to innovate and find some creative ways around it. We’ve worked as a team and are currently navigating the complexities that these issues present. The opportunity is huge and we’re proud to be driving this. 

Follow Giftpal on Twitter and Instagram.  

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