As the holiday season approaches, corporate human resources managers around the world are considering how they can best reward loyal employees and customers.
Picking a gift for each person individually can be time-consuming – and you run the risk that recipients won’t like what you chose.
Israeli startup Snappy has a snappier way.
Snappy sends a link to recipients with a list of gift items arranged according to category. The recipient simply picks what seems most appealing.
Snappy sent more than two million gifts in 2022 alone. The company’s flagship product is used by 41% of Fortune 100 companies, including top Silicon Valley tech companies such as Uber, Facebook, Salesforce and Microsoft. Microsoft, in fact, started with two departments and is now using Snappy in more than 500.
All told, Snappy has over 2,500 enterprise customers.
For individuals too
Snappy is now expanding beyond its business-to-business roots with a new version of the product that can be used by individuals to send gifts to one another.
While you can send gifts to overseas destinations, the sender – whether a company or an individual – must be located in the United States.
Snappy, founded in 2015, completed a $70 million Series C funding round in 2021, boosting the total raised to over $100 million.
Snappy was named the fastest-growing company in the American Northeast (headquarters are in New York, R&D is in Israel), with two-year revenue growth of 5148%. The company now has more than 300 people on staff.
“Snappy solves a massive problem for large companies that spend tens of millions of dollars a year on gifting,” Eran Dover, Snappy’s head of product, tells ISRAEL21c.
“Every department can have its own process, its own vendors. So, the ability to consolidate everything in one place is very compelling for our customers.”
How it works
The Snappy process is straightforward.
First, gift-givers choose a budget, typically ranging from $25 to $500 (although a few companies have gone as high as $5,000 for a hot tub or giant outdoor plasma TV).
Next, they select a curated and customizable collection of gifts. The collections are curated by real people (with a little help from Snappy’s algorithms).
Thousands of sellers and brands on the Snappy platform are constantly being updated, although the company tries to limit the selection to avoid what author Barry Schwartz calls “the paradox of choice” resulting in diminishing satisfaction – the opposite of the initial intention.
Recipients receive an email or SMS inviting them to choose a gift from the collection. Snappy handles everything, from collecting the recipients’ addresses to arranging delivery (paid for by the giver).
Snappy’s APIs connect with vendors automatically. A vendor can even “self-onboard” to get on the Snappy service, although it’s more common to work with a Snappy team member, Dover notes.
What are some of the most popular items on Snappy?
Air fryers, Instant Pots, Kindles, AirPods and Bluetooth speakers move quickly off Snappy’s virtual shelves.
So do “experiences” such as hot air balloon rides or jet skiing weekends. There are board games, plants, musical instruments, even a hammock.
The common denominator: Because the recipient gets to choose, all of these products and experiences are generally well received.
Compare that with “the $100 billion worth of merchandise that goes wasted,” says Hani Goldstein, Snappy’s CEO, in reference to January 2, the busiest day of the year for holiday returns in the United States, according to UPS.
Some 52% of Americans say they get at least one holiday gift they don’t want.
Nor have gift cards lived up to their promise: Over $44 billion of unused gift cards have been sold since 2018 according to the NY Post.
Snappy gifts, on the other hand, are retained by 99.5% of recipients.
Moreover, Snappy customers only pay when a recipient redeems their gift. That’s a stark difference to the sunk-costs problem with gift cards, which must always be prepaid by the sender in full.
The Covid-19 pandemic, not unsurprisingly, boosted Snappy’s business, with employers desperately seeking creative ways to engage remote-working staff in an age when lavish office parties became potential super-spreader events.
Snappy grew over 600% from 2019 to 2020. “Even as the pandemic is wearing off, customers are still using us,” Dover notes.
Corporate gift-giving has long had enthusiastic buy-in – and for good reason.
Organizations with recognition programs have 31% lower voluntary turnover. Over 80% of C-suite executives believe employee gifts generate measurable positive return on investment.
On the staffing side, 66% of employees who quit their jobs cited “lack of appreciation” as the main reason.
“An employee earning $50,000 will not care if his or her salary is increased to $50,100,” Goldstein notes. But give them a gift worth $100 and “they will feel acknowledged, motivated and excited.”
Snappy has built gamification into its product, too.
Some examples: You can “pick” your gift online using a virtual arcade claw or via a slot machine interface. There are animated greeting envelopes, snow globes to shake, and various ways to “unwrap” your gift digitally before it’s physically shipped out.
CEO Goldstein is an unconventional founder by Israeli and Silicon Valley standards. She previously worked for the Israeli Department of Justice as a lawyer, representing the state in criminal and security cases. She became a first-time founder with no prior contacts or relationships in the high-tech industry. Goldstein cofounded the company with Dvir Cohen.
Goldstein and Cohen originally intended for Snappy to be a consumer-facing app. But one day, a few years after the company started, a customer asked if Snappy could be used for employees.
“Sure,” Goldstein said.
“OK, I’ll order 100 gifts,” the customer replied.
“That was an a-ha moment for Hani and Dvir,” Dover recalls. “We realized we can acquire users one by one, or we can acquire a company and send to 100 users. So, we pivoted to companies. Now we’re coming full circle.”
Dover says the corporate sweet spot is 20 to 40 gift choices. And customers do love their Snappy gifts.
“They become ambassadors. They think, ‘How can I use a service like Snappy myself for my team or even in my personal life?’ We are looking a lot at the virality of this,” Dover notes.
As for the name, Snappy suggests an easy-to-use product. “In a snap you select it,” Dover says. “Or, in a snap it arrives at your door.”