Feel the 'joi' of 'gifting'
While celebrating some memorable events like marriages, anniversaries, birthdays, achievements and festivals, we tend to give gifts to our loved-ones to show our true feelings and affections.
But the question always arises "what would be the right gift for the occasion?" Probably very few of us have mastered in the art of giving gifts - right gifts on right occasions that truly reflect our feelings.
Alper Celen and Ritesh Tilani, the duo of serial entrepreneurs with experience of many successful start-ups, also went through the same pain of not finding a reliable gift platform. They asked their friends and family members where they go to buy gifts online, they all answered "Google".
"The fact that not a single online destination came to mind for gifts locally convinced us that there was an opportunity in the market to build a brand into a household name, one that people would think of immediately when they thought of gifting," says Tilani, co-founder of joi Gifts (joigifts.com).
"We wanted a one-stop shop that covered several different categories, whether it's flowers, cakes, balloons or novel gift ideas that are unique and memorable. We wanted same day delivery for those times when we had forgotten to order ahead of time. We wanted reasonable prices, and we wanted it to be delivered in a presentable way that made the recipient truly feel special. And we wanted to do this all through an app or a website that was well thought through," he says.
"Joi is all about the art of gifting. It is a cutting-edge web and mobile gifting platform that offers a unique selection of gifts with a memorable delivery and customer care experience that matches the sentiment of gift-giving," says Celen, CEO and co-founder of joi Gifts.
"Our fabulous portfolio is complemented by the special 'joi' touches. guaranteed free same-day delivery for flowers and many other items, exemplary customer care and gifting inspiration by 'joi's Angels', and hand-delivery by stylishly uniformed 'Agents of joi'," he says.
Founded in late 2015, the online portal launched its website in April 2016 offering a unique selection of more than 500 curated gifts.
"We have grown from six to 30 employees since we first launched almost a year ago. The customer feedback has been fantastic. We've been running a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey over the past few months, and our customers say they're very likely to recommend joi to their friends and colleagues. We scored a 74, which is in line with some of the biggest and most-loved global brands, e.g. Bose (78), Starbucks (77), Amazon (69), Netflix (68), Amazon (64), Apple iPhone (63). This is something we're very proud of, and we're striving to improve it further in the quest to make our customers happy," says Tilani.
Celen says the Middle East is still an underserved e-commerce market, and joi Gifts is heading in the right direction with the planning to add more value to its business.
"Absolutely. We've launched a new sub-brand called joi Luxury, for the customers with more exquisite taste. This will expand our potential customer base further and grow our average basket size," he says.
"We're in the process of expanding our offering to cover 'Experience' gifts for people who want to gift memories and not just physical gifts, e.g. hot air balloon rides, spa sessions, etc. And we're launching a new version of the website and apps, focused on enhancing the customer experience and ease of ordering," Celen says.
Joi Gifts employs an integrated marketing approach to engage with potential customers, whether it's offline through radio advertising, or online through SEM (Google) or social media marketing (Facebook).
"We use advanced tools to track the user journey and the customer experience, identifying points of failure and improving the experience immediately," says Tilani.
Celen says securing funding from within the region during later stages is a challenge.
"We've seen too many startups struggle to get investors for their Series B or Series C rounds. This is one reason why we made it a point to get investors from Silicon Valley for our seed round, and we continue to build relationships with other international investors in preparation for future rounds of funding," he says.
Joi Gifts is currently on target to raise $1.2 million, of which $700,000 has already been secured.
"This seed funding round will help fund our plans to expand our offering and build more awareness for the brand. With the new funding, joi plans to expand throughout the GCC, having already recently set up shop in five cities, including Riyadh and Jeddah, making joi the only regional online player in the physical gifting space," says Tilani.
Hasan Haider, one of the investors, says the team behind joi has a great attitude and track record.
"We think the opportunity for a better gifting experience exists in the region, and joi is plugging that gap. Joi has a huge market opportunity ahead of it -- from expansion into more gifts to a wider geographical expansion across the GCC and Mena region. We think the model can scale quickly and will serve a sizeable community in the region," he says.
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