How Giften Market Grew with Modern Corporate Gifting Tech
February 1, 2023
“We exist to bring joy and intention back to gifting.”
That’s the bolded mantra at the top of Giften Market’s mission. Founder Martha Krueger makes sure it’s the common thread tying together every part of her company.
Since late 2019, Giften has been supporting “artisan studios, small-batch makers, and emerging and underrepresented entrepreneurs” in its uncompromising effort to change how we (yes, all of us) gift.
For too long, gifting has waded into the murky, cold waters of gift cards and mass-produced junk. This lackluster trend has left gifters longing for the “warm glow” of giving, and recipients are stuck with feelings of being unappreciated (or entirely misunderstood). In the current world of gifting, nobody wins.
From a distance, Giften Market is an online gift box company. But when zoomed in, you see it’s a brand devoted to bringing that “joy and intention” back to all facets of gifting. Gifters and their recipients experience ease and delight in buying and unboxing. More than 150 small businesses grow their fan base and thrive with every curated product placed in an order. And Martha is the woman connecting the dots and working toward her vision of authentically thoughtful gifting.
However, when Giften’s traditional processes started to bottleneck progress and the promise of joyful gifting, Krueger knew something had to change. That’s when she found Zest. With a gifting platform on board that’s similarly determined to elevate gifting for everyone involved, it didn’t take long to see this was a match made in gifting heaven.
With roughly two years under its belt, Giften was growing and starting to feel the common aches and pains that come along with it. As an online gifting company, the business is inherently modern.
Shoppers come to Giften to scroll, buy, and send their gifts directly to their lucky recipient without ever touching a roll of wrapping paper. This process is pretty smooth for today’s savvy internet shopper looking to buy a single gift and make someone’s day.
However, when it came to large orders—corporate and employee orders, big groups, and beyond—there wasn’t a parallel online solution. Martha was fielding endless phone calls and emails to hammer out details like gift box items, send dates, and recipient addresses.
The “old fashioned” way of sending a corporate gift can be clunky and time-consuming. Giften’s company values include gems like “Be Smart with Time and Resources” and “Make the Process Seamless,” neither of which exactly jive with cumbersome processes.
Manually placing large gift orders, especially with a growing roster of clients, was more than just time-consuming. It was making gifting less joyful.
Gifting timelines were throttled by too much back-and-forth. Deadlines were being missed or moved. Tracking gifts and recipients offline was increasingly tough. Repeat gifting was a hard conversion to win. And, most importantly, it was becoming a process wholly unlike Giften’s swift one-to-one gifting. A solution was needed—stat.
Solution: Giften Finds Zest (and Taps into Gifting Tech at Just The Right Time)
Martha and the team at Zest connected at the perfect time. Planning for the 2022 holiday gifting season was on the horizon, and large corporate gift orders were going to start rolling in. To meet demand, as well as differentiate from gifting competitors, Giften needed a partner that would help bring the joy back to gifting on all fronts.
Zest’s mission is to empower brands to offer their customers the simplest gifting experience possible. While every element of the ecommerce journey has been optimized and modernized to adapt to shopping trends and behaviors, gifting has been left behind. Most online gifting options are limited to digital gift cards, which is far and away from an intentional gifting experience.
Through our partnership, Zest was able to solve some of Giften’s biggest corporate gifting challenges, like:
Collecting accurate addresses for every group gift recipient.
Flexible gift notification delivery via text, email, or link.
Making a wide array of ready-to-ship gift boxes readily shoppable.
Reducing friction for gifters and giving them the quickest path to purchase.
Tracking gift orders and automatically sending reminders to recipients if they hadn’t opened their gift after a period of time.
Aligning the one-to-one gifting experience with the one-to-many experience.
Adding Zest to Giften’s tech stack was quick and hassle-free. In a short time (and without the need for help from IT), Giften was able to use Zest to create a purpose-built storefront to streamline corporate and group gifting. Select products were effortlessly imported from Shopify, custom gift note designs were uploaded, and Giften’s new gifting experience was ready to deliver some serious delight.
Results: Creating a Corporate and Group Gifting Experience Fit for Giften's Audience
Since encouraging the bulk of traditional, hands-on group gifting orders to move from the “old way” to the Zest way, Giften has seen positive impact from every angle.
New tech and fast adoption.
Would Giften’s roster of corporate gifters be willing to change how they order their gifts? The answer is a big ol’ “yes.” The shift from form submissions and phone calls to gifting through a new purposeful storefront has felt natural and in step with Giften’s one-to-one gifting experience.
“People that get it, they want it, they come back for more. They say, ‘That was super easy, I’m gonna tell my friends about it.’”
The self-serve gifting model Giften was able to offer was quickly adopted by many gifters—returning and first-timers.
Martha earned the business of coaches, consultants, retail brands, design firms, real estate management companies, and more this past holiday season. Empowering small businesses to gift with intention while supporting the small businesses that populate each gift box is a dream.
However, Martha also got to help some household names like Pinterest, UnitedHealth Group, and Dell discover an easier way to send corporate gifts without sacrificing thoughtfulness.
Personal and corporate gifting experiences aligned.
Aligning the group and corporate gifting journey with the rest of the on-site shopping experience was an important goal for Giften.
Personal, one-to-one gifting was an easy and enjoyable experience for shoppers and the team at Giften, but large orders had become challenging and time-consuming while applying unpleasant pressure to everyone. Picking out products, hunting down recipient addresses, nailing down shipping details, and more all caused kinks in the process that were exacerbated by sometimes sluggish communication from clients.
Once the Zest storefront was running and corporate gifters could select and send gifts on their own timeline—and bypass the need to collect any recipient addresses altogether—the process was smooth and the pressure was off.
Neither the client nor Giften was waiting on the other to complete a task or send an email. Instead, clients could easily place their large orders and the team at Giften was ready to take action as they came in.
Culled back-and-forth conversations saved time.
This fluid group gifting experience didn’t just save clients time in picking out products, writing gift messages, and tackling logistics. The squad at Giften also noticed extra time on their hands, which is exactly what the company needed in order to continue its growth.
Smaller group orders used to take up to two hours for project management alone. Today, this number has been slashed to zero if the customers hop into Giften’s new storefront and place the order on their own, but Giften’s team will still happily hop on a call and field any questions. When the latter happens, Krueger says the time spent on these orders is still just a short 30 minutes.
“I’d estimate we saved at least 40 hours of project management time in December alone.”
This extra time is now spent tending to other parts of the booming business, like merchandising and improving turnaround times. A precious resource has been gained, and Giften is making the most of every extra minute.
Gifting made easy. Repeat gifting made easier.
Placing orders was no longer a burden to corporate gifters. This headache-free solution was ideal for earning first-time business, but it was also perfect for ramping up repeat purchases. Once they saw how quick and easy the Zest platform is to use, gifters returned to order gifts for another event, department, or occasion taking place just a couple weeks after their initial order.
What’s more is that Giften’s refreshed marketing mix of email, paid ads, and social media all touted the launch of Zest. The Giften website highlighted this new, easy way to send a large order, too. This messaging revamp was enough to educate and encourage gifters who had been using the “traditional” Giften site to return and purchase through the new Zest platform.
“One example is a customer who had placed an order the traditional way in December, then returned and placed two more group orders via the Zest platform for delivery in February! This tells us our gifts were well-received, and marketing messaging plus site tweaks led the gifter to an even easier way to gift!”
Parity and differentiation win business and new fans.
One of the most challenging things to do in ecommerce is stand out. The surge in online stores throughout the pandemic has made a crowded space even more packed, and differentiation is a challenge every retailer is facing.
However, what’s been seen time and time again is brands that prioritize and emphasize a great, memorable customer experience are the ones that rise to the top and win business. With Zest’s gifting technology woven into the gifting experience, Giften found a new way to stand out against the competition and earn business.
Too much friction in the gifting process is no longer a worry or strain for Martha. Instead, she feels confident that Giften’s uniquely curated gifts coupled with Zest’s gifting tech is a winning combination that’s only going to continue to fuel the company’s growth.
A new lever for gifting growth was pulled.
Lastly, Martha didn’t just feel good about adding Zest to Giften. She had cold, hard proof that Zest was improving her sales and contributing to her bottom line.
> 9% of Q4 revenue was driven by Zest.
> 3% of 2022 annual revenue was driven by Zest.
Giften grew 126% YoY (and is on track to do the same in 2023).
On top of increased gift sales, Giften was also able to increase efficiency. Martha anticipates keeping the trajectory going without adding to her sales and project management teams.
“Six months ago, I was on the fence about hiring more salespeople. But now, between Zest’s technology and my marketing, I can sell millions of dollars worth of gifts without adding to my overhead, and that’s really good.”
What’s Next? The Future of Giften and Zest
The year 2022 marked the first holiday season for Zest and Giften’s partnership. It was a milestone that Martha hopes to build on.
Zest is continuously improving the gifting journey, while Martha plans to lean into her new marketing and messaging early and often. Doubling down on the ease and benefits of using the Zest platform is sure to solidify Giften’s place as the premier gift box brand out there.
But while the economy, supply chains, and more are all ever-changing variables in the year ahead, one thing is certain. By partnering with Zest and providing a delightful, memorable way to buy and send gifts, Giften Market is, without a doubt, bringing the joy and intention back to gifting.