For men who visit the jewelry counter to few results other than a raging headache, new site (it’s still in beta) Gift Side Story provides a solution. A merchandising team uses algorithms to match gifts to women’s personalities — which are determined by the male gifters by answering a series of questions to create an online profile for the woman in their life. The site even lets users set up a “gifting dashboard,” in order to keep track of events, budgeting, and wives and girlfriends. (All right, we’re being facetious on that last point, though the dashboard does allow for multiple recipients). We spoke with Eric Yohay, the site’s Director of Business Development and Marketing, on how Gift Side Story makes for better husbands and boyfriends.
High Low: What was your inspiration for Gift Side Story (any funny gift-giving anecdotes, etc.)?
Eric Yohay: Being a good boyfriend or husband is hard because we just don’t know what to buy for women. So we wait until the last minute, panic, rush to the closest big-box retailer and ask the first sales person we see what to get for our spouses. That has happened to me, and even when I did plan ahead and invested the needed hours, I’ve received the occasional “oh that’s nice” with the awkward smile fully knowing she’s going to exchange it. A friend of mine got a Swatch watch with the words “I love you” on its face. Another friend, a golf set, hoping she would pick up golf, and another got a gardening kit when they don’t even have a garden! Men struggle finding gifts, and women don’t always like what they get. We all suffer.
Gift Side Story aims to make our members look like a hero in their recipient’s lives by sending him curated gift suggestions, reminders, and quality content to help him keep his girl happy all year long. Many sites offer gift ideas but they overwhelm users with too many suggestions that are generic and aren’t curated to the preferences of the recipient. Gift Side Story changes all of that.
HL: Can you tell us a little bit about your selection process? How do you decide which personality traits and lifestyles go with which gifts?
EY: Our merchandising team starts the process by acquiring a tailored and unique assortment of gifts around the different style types of women. Upon joining our site, our customer is asked a series of questions about her style and interests. Our algorithm links each question to specific products and narrows down his gift options to those most fitting the woman being gifted. Final input and approval then comes from our merchandising team to ensure the gift options mirror our vision — great gifts tailored to the women in his life.
HL: After helping men pinpoint an appropriate gift, how do you ensure they purchase them from the site? Do you think users are ever inclined to use the site mainly as a vehicle for advice?
EY: If our members take our tailored gift giving suggestions and try to buy anywhere else, they will soon find that we offer our products at the same price they would find elsewhere but also include free gift packaging, free shipping, and customized cards. By partnering with the vendor or designer directly, we can afford to include these additional services enabling us to satisfy our customers’ gift giving needs 24/7, 365 days a year.
In addition to gifts, we give our members advice every few weeks on how to be a better boyfriend or husband. We have great insights and data because our members tell us what is or isn’t working. This enables us to win the trust of our members before they buy. Our goal is to be our customer’s wingman when he needs us and to help him with gift-giving suggestions and to make him look like the hero.
HL: So, any chance you’d ever get the women in question involved in the gift process? (If they so choose to be, of course!)
EY: Yes, funny you should ask. We have received an overwhelming response from our female audience which has asked for just that. So we have decided to launch a platform which will enable women to fill out their own profile and rate products. They will then be able to send these results to their boyfriends who can add important gifting events and tell us how much they want to spend. We will keep the High Low subscribers in the know when that product launches next month.
HL: Going forward, how are you looking to expand?
EY: Besides encouraging users to think of us for one-off events (wedding gifts, push presents etc.), the obvious extension is for us to partner with regional vendors and get into experiential gifting. We have also received feedback from many women that they would like a comparable women-to-men version of the site, which we are also looking into. In the meanwhile, we will be extending the whole “become a better boyfriend” mentality by offering classes such as cooking for couples, wine pairing for her mood, and how to impress her family at the first Thanksgiving. We think that too many companies are going after getting people in relationships (match.com, eHarmony) while ignoring what happens after. It’s hard to be a good boyfriend and we are the wingman every hitched guy needs!