KangoGift Platform Sends Gift Vouchers Via Text, Brings Virtual Goods Convenience to Real-World Use

9/23/10Follow @xconomy

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promote products with a massive discount to consumers the way the group buying sites and services do. KangoGift just takes a percentage off each transaction (the team wouldn’t reveal exactly how much this is, but Horton says it runs “less than the group-buying type of sites,” which often keep 30 to 50 percent). And it doesn’t charge the gift-sender an extra fee, like mobile gifting service Giiv does.

The KangoGift marketplace also seems to have much more variety at any given moment, and doesn’t have the deadline to purchase found on sites like Groupon or BuyWithMe. And the platform has a number of options for how retailers can confirm when a voucher was used by the gift recipient. (From what I’ve seen, most of the certificates that come from group buying sites don’t really have many formal mechanisms in place that prevent you from copying the piece of paper and repeatedly using the deal.) Merchants can interact directly with the code on the text message to send an alert to the KangoGift server that the code has been used for purchase. The code can also be entered into the merchant’s own computer checkout system at the time of purchase, or can be copied down and entered separately at a later date (for those with less sophisticated checkout systems).

The different options help KangoGift appeal to a wider range of businesses, from ultra tech-savvy chains, to more mom-and-pop style shops, Horton says.

The team says KangoGift, which has raised a small amount of money from friends and family, stands to benefit from promotion by both the retailers and the consumers. Retailers often promote the service with demos in their stores, or integrate the gift codes into their websites or social media campaigns, says Peterson, also a Monster.com veteran. On the consumer side, those sending the gifts can do so via a regular Internet browser, as well as a mobile version of the website. The service lives on the Web browser, not a phone-specific app, opening it to a wider range of users.

“This is word of mouth marketing in a high-tech world,” says Peterson.

Kango’s big push at the moment is to bring on more retail partners and get more consumers giving gifts. using the platform, but in the long run, the company sees potential for purchases on a bigger scale. Peterson says the platform could be used in the corporate gift-giving space, as an opportunity for companies to send instant rewards and thank-yous to employees. “There’s probably an opportunity for us to partner with enterprises on that level,” he says.

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