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GiftStarter looks to take hassle out of gift giving

BY Mike Troy

SEATTLE — A recently launched gifting website with a familiar sounding name promises to make it better to receive than give a gift.

The recently launched Web site GiftStarter – not Kickstarter – claims to be reinventing the gifting business so that family members, friends and co-workers are able to co-mingle individual budgets to offer recipients a more substantial gift.

“We are on a mission to bring the humanity, personality and joy of real life interactions back to gift giving, using technology as an enabler – not a focal point,” said Arry Yu, GiftStarter’s CEO and co-founder.

The way it works is simple. Users launch a campaign for a gift and then GiftStarter does the rest, from helping collect the money to ordering and shipping the gift with a personalized handmade card from all contributors.

GiftStarter said it has more than four million gifts available that are sourced from reliable brands and retailers such as Amazon, B&H Photo Video, Kohl’s and REI. Users simply to choose a gift, and invite family and friends as contributors. Central to the Giftstarter model is a payment parsing platform breaks the gift up into pieces in a visual, easy to track mosaic that illustrates who’s contributing what.

Each person can pitch in as little or as much as they wish and GiftStarter eliminates the need to collect money or chase people down for cash. In addition to recipient receiving a higher value gift, retailers benefit from a higher transaction with the $381 being the average amount spent on a GiftStarter gift.

The company also offers a Gift Concierge service that works like a personal shopping assistant to curate a list of gift ideas to help users find the perfect gift for any occasion.

Yu and co-founder Christie Gettler created the company after winning first place at startup weekend hackathon at Seattle ReDesign.

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Survey: Everyday prices drive grocery purchases

BY Dan Berthiaume

NEW YORK — Most consumers base their grocery purchase decisions on very basic information. According to new research from data analytics solution provider Precima, 80% of U.S. shoppers choose their primary grocery store based on everyday prices, with two-thirds (65%) stating that the everyday (regular/non-sale) prices of staple items such as milk and eggs most influence their price perception of a grocery retailer.

With seven in 10 Americans reporting they have shopped at their primary grocery store for more than five years, it’s become increasingly important that grocers secure a favorable price perception in the marketplace. When asked what most drove their price perception of a particular retailer, 65% of respondents reported that  the everyday/regular prices of staple items was most important in driving price perception, followed by the average spend/bill each time they shop at the store (59%) and the products they shop for that have the lowest prices (58%).

In addition to the online consumer survey of 3,000-plus respondents, Precima completed in-person intercept surveys with 70 shoppers in Chicago who had just exited an EDLP, Hi-Lo or High-end grocer with a grocery purchase. When asked how many items in their basket they could remember the prices of, on average shoppers reported being able to name 12 items. However in reality, they could only accurately recall the prices of two items among everything they purchased.  

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Hallmark Business Connections names new president

BY Lesley Thulin

Hallmark Business Connections, a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc., has named longtime employee Tressa Angell as its new president.

Angell, who succeeds Keith Fenhaus, has worked at Hallmark or 18 years. The most recent customer strategy director of the Walmart account, Angell started at the company as an assistant product manager immediately after graduating college.

"I'm excited to continue my career within the Hallmark family," Angell said in a press release. "It's rare to spend your entire career with one company, and this is an ideal opportunity to grow an already vibrant organization within Hallmark."

Hallmark Business Connections is headquartered in Minneapolis, with other locations in Kansas City and Duluth, Minn.

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