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[Opinion] How an Egyptian e-commerce website convinced me to buy

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Egyptian ecommerce, online shopping, online retailers

An Egyptian website, while I wasn’t even in Egypt, convinced me to buy online for the first time. The Giftery is what my credit card desires.

So before we go into the details, let’s just set one fact straight: This is not a sponsored post 🙂 I have received nothing from this website; although if I do receive something after this, I absolutely will not turn it down. Just saying.

I actually had a fallout with them because they mishandled an order and they didn’t deal quite well with it. Ups and downs to everything.

Let me start by giving you a brief background about me. I’m not very keen on online shopping. I’d say annually, I have an average of 2 transactions. I don’t like shopping online unless it is absolutely necessary. Plus, the 2 transactions I made last year for example, were very basic you-can’t-get-this-wrong type of purchases: a USB Flash Drive and a mobile cover.

I got to know about a great website, called the The Giftery in 2012. It was my friend’s birthday in Egypt and I was all the way across the globe in the US. I really wanted to buy her something, and to avoid asking for favours from anybody, I stayed up late on Google, searching frantically for ideas on what I can do. Behold, when I found the giftery.com because I needed it, would it convince me that from now on, I would complete 2 online transactions for myself, and another 599 gifting other people! Shopping for other people is a need, whether it is a special someone’s birthday, an anniversary, a baby shower etc. Online shopping for yourself on the other hand, has a wider spectrum: ranging from I really need this to this might look cool to find in my wardrobe (a want).  My theory is that online gift shopping has a more inelastic demand than shopping for yourself.

There are plenty of reasons why I still use The Giftery to this day. Sometimes, when I feel like I deserve a bit of pampering, I buy a gift and deliver it to myself. It comes all nice and wrapped and not in ugly brown cardboard boxes. Let me tell you the five reasons why I still use The Giftery as my main source of online shopping, despite being a little bit more expensive than others.

1)    The Giftery is full of extremely exceptional products

You will find the necessities, such as kitchen products, but you will also find handmade crafts, customized towels, cards and so many others that make each product very special.  Furthermore, they have so much brands with a cause: environmental and helping out on social causes.  Want to add something to the gift package? Flowers? Check. Gift cards? Check.

For a friend’s wedding gift, I bought them two customized bathrobes with their initials and “Mr and Mrs” for each one. When one of my friend’s was really sick, I got her some home decor and a scented candle delivered right to her doorstep. Each gift can be exceptionally unique to your gift recipient.

The Giftery also have a bot on the homepage that filters the gifts according to the price, event, gender and age group of who you’re buying a gift for! The menu’s categories can even give you ideas on what to buy: because the products are so unique, you’re bound to find something that stands out.

2)    Efficient delivery system

A crucial point in being an effective ecommerce website is delivering up to your promises; what you say online must happen offline. The Giftery specifies for each and every product the estimated time it will take to deliver, which also depends on the time you place your order.  When checking out your cart, you specify the address of the person to whom your sending the gift to, The Giftery will then contact the gift recipient to schedule an appropriate delivery time and location.  You can also get it delivered to your home address, and pay cash on delivery as well. Why rage through City Stars for a gift, when you can get a great gift, possibly even customised, delivered to their doorstep without the traffic and the hassle!

3)     Not a JACC (Just Another Copy Cat)

Sometimes I feel like all ecommerce websites look exactly the same. When I hear about another ecommerce website, all I hear inside my head is ah, is it a JACC? Is there anything different? I like that The Giftery looks completely different. The categories are not ordered like a systemized supermarket aisle. I like how they give prominent exposure to the different suppliers.

The other reason why The Giftery is not a JACC is because it’s very localized to our needs and culture.  The only reason I knew about Black Friday was because I spent some time in the US. Now that I’m back in Egypt, there is no way I’ll remember when it is on my own. However, Black Friday is now becoming popular in Egypt’s ecommerce websites. I’m not against that, but I like how The Giftery also is about celebrating local festivals, and puts their sale prominence during these times.

The Giftery also has features to curate gift lists: baby showers, house warming, weddings, etc. You can even buy Ramadan decoration, plan Santa visits for Christmas or a special Mother’s Day surprise! I understand that *gift websites* are available in so many other countries and this is not the pioneer; but I do give it points for standing out from current ecommerce websites available in Egypt and for its on-par localization of such an idea.

4)    Call Center is a Human Who can suggest Gift ideas

We’ve all called an ecommerce website before after using it asking about a product, wanting to return it or for any other reason. Then answers the bot machine who is sometimes difficult to deal with, and sometimes it takes ages to get to the person who can really help you. What I really like about The Giftery is the phone number is person who answers, who knows almost everything about the ins and outs of the website and your order. Furthermore, YOU CAN EVEN ASK THEM FOR GIFT IDEAS! It’s human enough to make recommendations!  You can also make your gift even a little bit more special by asking them for special packaging or arrangements.  You will not need to practice samurai skills with kitchen knives to extract a gift from the bubble-wrap carton monster. It is delivered looking like a gift.

Truth be told, I have experienced a scenario where they didn’t deliver a gift packaged the way it looked like in the picture. I called and complained. It wasn’t dealt with smoothly.  It’s not all perfect, but most of my orders were perfect.

5)    The website is subtle

Usual ecommerce websites have an aggressive homepage with SALE, LAST OFFERS, DEALS, THINGS EVERYBODY HAS BUT YOU DON’T, STOCKS RUNNING OUT. SCREAMS! I like The Giftery because it gives me this fake sense of I’m buying this on my own and I wasn’t led to it. When buying from other websites, it makes me feel like I didn’t need to buy it, but it seems like it’s a good sale so I’ll get it. However, The Giftery has a subtle way of providing balance: in the colours, the highlights of the homepage, the menu and even the checkout process. It does not throw products at me everywhere all the time. So stealth is The Giftery; I don’t feel the missing heart beat when I get the security text from the bank for using my credit card. I usually do feel the missing heart beat though with regular ecommerce websites.

Now that I’m back in Egypt, I don’t do online shopping as much as I did in the US, because delivery is a hassle. You won’t find the items at your door or in your mailbox. You have to plan to be somewhere at an exact time, and then wait for a call. If you’re at work, it’s annoying sometimes because you’re in a meeting and you won’t remember that this unknown number is the delivery man waiting for you at reception.  There’s always going to be the stare as well of, “Do you know how long I’ve been waiting here for?” The Giftery lifts this hassle off me, because I don’t worry about the delivery, the recipient does.  When I order for myself though, there is this similar hassle across ecommerce websites with the delivery.

Many Egyptians have great ideas, that will stand out globally. The Giftery is one of my favourite websites, and I’ve been using it for about four years now. It was the reason for my first online transaction in 2012, despite being in the US. Without it, I wouldn’t have then checked out Amazon!

Online shopping is hardest and ugly the first time (just like so many things in life – I’m thinking coffee here). Once you lose your ecommerce abstinence, there’s no going back; like an addiction. The choices available will always have you coming back for more, and thinking about the second hidden value in online shopping: you’re also buying time (and lots of it if you’re in Cairo).