Move over web 2.0 - this is shopping 2.0!

in Brand
by jennaf

For those of you who know me, there is no doubt that I am quite an expert when it comes to shopping, especially online, but every now and again I do struggle.

I'm sure we've all been there - it's the birthday of someone close to you and you live in hope that you can find something different and original that they really need or want. Time after time I find myself trawling website after website with gifts that look like they're made by a little old lady in her spare time and all this presented to me on a website that looks like it was built back when the Internet was created!

Every so often I uncover a gem, and here's the latest - Wantful.com This makes me smile, finally a website that's clever, helpful and intuitive - one that is created by someone who has really taken the time to consider what the visitor actually wants and needs.

So what is Wantful?

At the most basic level, the service provides visitors a way to send a thoughtful selection of gifts to choose from in a lovely, customised catalog.

The process starts by sharing general background information about the intended recipient. Basic questions like gender and relationship are followed with more in-depth inquiries such as sense of style, preferred living quarters, cooking habits and whether they sing along to their music. From there, Wantful does the work: they put together a list of recommendations and other ways to look through the products. You choose 16 things that you think are perfectly suited to that person and put them together in this printed booklet. The sender puts down a certain amount of money when they check out to pay for the gift that ultimately gets chosen.

The service syncs with Facebook to remind users of upcoming birthdays, and a calendar of upcoming events can also be made. Wantful then sends reminders as the dates approach. Wantful recommends having a mix of safe and quirky gifts. When the recipient gets their booklet, they simply select their gift and await its arrival.

This all sounds great, so what's the downside? Well... It's a US based site but lets hope a talented brit gets hold of the idea and changes the way we shop online - it will be a huge benefit to my friends and family.