A new job; a new baby; graduating college; landing a big promotion; birthdays. Because there are so many things people celebrate, it can become difficult keeping up with and finding the proper gift for each occasion.
A new, burgeoning company called Boomerang is taking on some of that burden and helping people give gift cards online that are out of the box, and sometimes out of your geographic location.
“People really love to share their city with their friends and gifting is a great way to do that,” said Zachary Smith, founder and CEO of Boomerang.
Smith is no stranger to connecting people with fun, exciting places. Prior to Boomerang, he worked on a website called Gtrot that connected people with local experiences such as restaurants, nightlife, deals and events. Instead of simply featuring businesses and groups on the website, Smith decided to alter the site to work side by side with local businesses and offer gift certificates.
The concept of Boomerang was so successful, the founders of one of the original daily deal hubs, Groupon, became an investor.
“They’re very familiar with local businesses and thought it would be a great opportunity to help local merchants get a piece of American’s gift spending. Americans spend billions on gift cards and most of that value goes to big box retailers and online brands. We wanted a way to bring local merchants into the fray,” said Smith.
Here’s how it works.
According to Sascha Dhanjal, Indianapolis manager for Boomerang, a Facebook user visits Rang.com and types in their information. Once logged in, Rang.com gathers all of their Facebook friends’ special events, accomplishments and birthdays. The user then chooses a friend; selects a gift and sends the gift via Facebook or email.
People in Indianapolis can purchase gifts from local merchants such as Ball & Biscuit, Naked Tchopstix, Crackers Comedy Club, Cityoga and Skydive Indianapolis among others.
Signing up for Boomerang is free.
“The response in Indy has been great. Our user base is growing quickly. On top of that, the merchants we’re working with are ecstatic about the site because it’s a completely different concept from anything else out there,” said Dhanjal.
Facebook friends living in Indianapolis, Chicago, New York City or Austin, Texas can purchase local gifts on Boomerang respective to those four cities. For Facebook friends who don’t live in the four Boomerang cities, the company does offer national brands such as J. Crew, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which can be given to Facebook friends anywhere.
Consumers should note that Boomerang does not offer discounts. Many of the gifts offered on the site, however, are free or are offered at a low cost.
In the future, Smith plans to expand Boomerang in other cities, but right now he’s focusing on offering more local gift choices in existing cities. He believes Boomerang will be especially valuable during the holidays.
“It’s really easy and if you want, you can actually send gifts from your phone,” added Dhanjal.
For more information, visit Rang.com.