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Tech Industry unveils eclectic site for business givers

Venturing into an already competitive online market, packed with such players as Virtual Vineyards and, the Web retailer is one of the first to offer a wide range of business gifts. officially launched its Web site today, entering into the potential $1.4 billion world of online gift giving.

    Although the online market is already packed with such retail players as,, and Virtual Vineyards, is one of the first sites to focus on business gifts while offering a broad range of products.

    Offering everything from pens and business card holders to theater tickets and indoor putting greens, the site targets frequent business gift givers such as human-relations managers and salespeople, according to Allyson Campa,'s president. Campa said the site, which also provides gift-buying advice, currently offers some 300 gifts, yet plans to sell between 600 and 700 items by the end of the year.

    Jupiter Communications estimates that the online gift market will grow from $336 million in 1999 to $1.4 billion in 2002, including business and other gifts. But Campa said that according to her research, the offline business gift market is $20 billion alone.

    However, the primary challenge gift sites face is in retaining customers, according to Jupiter analyst Mike May. Unlike books or CDs, which people often buy year-round, consumers tend to purchase gifts only on certain holidays or on special occasions. Because of that, gift sites need to find ways to keep themselves in customers' thoughts. As a result, many gift sites are spending large portions of their advertising budgets on partnerships with portal sites, May said.'s Campa acknowledged the problem. In order to maintain its relationship with customers, she said that will allow clients to keep their business cards and logos on file so that they can be shipped with each gift they send. Also, will offer a frequent buyer-reward program and will keep track of gift purchases so customers will know what they gave someone previously.

    Campa said that's target customer buys more than 10 gifts per year and spends approximately $75 per item.

    "We expect our customer acquisition costs to be higher than an," Campa said. "On the other hand, the lifetime value of the buyer is higher."

    Founded in January, closed Friday on $8 million in its first round of venture funding from Menlo Ventures and Doll Capital Management. The San Francisco-based company currently has 16 employees.