Our ups driver wears a party hat

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Fun-filled gift distribution can change the way we view product delivery. If we add engaging party activities in advance of the UPS delivery we get better memories.
Gift giving is too important to just leave to a delivery service.
At PartyWeDo we put the Fun into gift giving through an online party system. This way when the UPS driver brings the gift it is like he is wearing a party hat!

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Our ups driver wears a party hat

  1. 1. Our UPS driver wears a party hat… Putting Fun into the Product Distribution Process The Problem of Dull Distribution The brown van swings into the cul de sac, abruptly stops, and the UPS driver emerges with a box in hand… The door bell rings, the package is scanned and a signature is recorded... Mission accomplished. This process repeats itself hundreds of thousands of times a day without much fanfare. Parcel delivery has become an almost invisible utility of our daily lives. By PartyWeDo, LLC © 2010
  2. 2. Adding in some fun This paper suggests that product distribution can be enhanced with just a bit of fun. This is especially important when the content of the package is a gift. After all, gifts are special to both the giver and the receiver. So, mundane parcel delivery is not quite good enough. We are not really suggesting that UPS drivers change their wardrobe every time they deliver a gift. Rather we are proposing to make the giving and receiving of these gifts a bit more memorable. We can enhance a portion of the gift distribution process and build great memories. With some additions to the process we can make it seem like the UPS driver is wearing a party hat… Gift Distribution Gifts are delivered ether in person or by a service. Many prefer to deliver gifts in person, where opening a gift in the company of a loved one is an expression of mutual love and support. Often personal gift deliveries are associated with a social event like a party, which adds to the memories of the gift giving process for all involved. These special events are usually associated with birthdays, weddings, baby births, holidays, graduations, etc. However, our mobile society has created a great dispersal of family and friends, making personal delivery difficult. Sadly, the social gift distribution process has given way to the cold utility of package delivery, due to our busy lives. No matter how much thought and concern are given to the gift purchasing process, we lose something when we can’t be there for the unwrapping. UPS will never be able to deliver our love with the box, so gift delivery loses its special meaning.
  3. 3. Filling the gap on the web Using technology made popular by the social networks, we can put back some fun and personal engagement into the gift distribution process. By employing some virtual mimics of these traditional social activities, we can build back some of the memories and add in fun. By providing family and friends with the tools to virtually distribute gifts we can provide many levels of social contact and fill some of the gap lost by distance. Our society has embraced platforms like Facebook, Skype, Flickr and Youtube to span the distances that separate us. These virtual substitutes are the pattern which we can use to improve the gift distribution process as well. Are Gifts Important Enough? Before starting any effort to bring fun and engagement back into gift delivery, we must first determine if it is worth the effort. Are people really interested in supporting one another with gifts? The answer can be found in some annual retail sales figures. It is difficult to put an exact number on the total gift sales in the US, because it is not tracked very well. For example, you will not find the sales total for all birthday gifts, but you can get some details on wedding gift spending from the National Retail Federation (NRF). We do know however, that birthday gifts are a significant portion of all retail sales. By compiling data from research papers, the NRF and other agencies, there appears to be about $115 billion spent annually on gifts in the United States. This would suggest that a significant number of people have an interest in supporting each other with the purchase and delivery of a real gift. It is interesting to note that “real gift” sales numbers dwarf the popular “virtual” gift industry, which is currently only at $1.6 billion per year.
  4. 4. Are Gifts being shipped? Gift purchases continue to be a significant portion of the US gross domestic purchases. But are there a significant number of these gifts being shipped by the likes of UPS? Can we justify creating online tools to support the gift distribution process? Again, data is not readily available so we must rely on some assumptions to answer these questions. Research by the National Retail Federation on gift purchasing for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduations indicate that 20% to 25% of gift sales were completed online. If we assume that other gift holidays and events yield the same ratios, then we can say that about $26 billion is spent buying gifts online (22.5% of $115 Billion). We realize that not all online gift purchases result in a product being shipped by UPS. Likewise, we know that many traditional store purchases are boxed and shipped by delivery services, adding to gift delivery numbers. It is reasonable to assume that between 20 and 25% of all gifts are distributed by UPS, FedEx, USPS or some other delivery company. Who is desperate for gift memories? Twenty-eight percent of the US population (approx. 84 million) is at the stage in life known as the “empty-nest”. The children of the Baby Boom generation are leaving home by the millions every year. A survey by Del Web also found that nearly 1/3rd of these people will live at least 3 hours from their family members. These Boomer parents have been very engaged in the lives of their children and have been generous with their gift giving activity for many years. The combination of distance, gift generosity and a desire to keep family connections alive provides a significant opportunity for a more memorable gift distribution process. The opportunity is enhanced when it can be accomplished on the internet and without the expense of travel.
  5. 5. There is an opportunity to deliver some fun Many groups of family and friends are settling for the impersonal gift distribution methods we have discussed. Finding a solution to bring some fun and engagement back into the process would be a benefit to families and is a business opportunity. Much of the technology to connect family and friend groups is already created and is ready to be adapted for this opportunity. There are millions of people who already participate in engaging social experiences on the web, every day. Because of these internet platforms, a trained and active prospect base exists, prepared to distribute their gifts in a fun- filled mimic of tradition social events. Creating a Portal for fun-filled distribution Establishing a central place where individuals can come to organize and participate in the gift distribution process makes sense. This portal for fun will house the tools required to build a party atmosphere, using the computer screen instead of the family room. Like other event invitation/organization sites, the portal will provide would-be hosts with options and simplifications to make the entire gift giving process easier for everyone. But this is a party organization site on steroids, and will go much further into the gift giving experience. • Invitations of all kinds • Guest List Organizers • RSVP Management • Message Boards • Wish Lists • Party Games and Activities • Shopping • Thank you cards • Memorials Adding to the common planning tools are the special activities that are central to adding the fun into gift distribution. Adding party games provides the unifying and engaging bridge that links gift giving to the online social experience. Including gift shopping opportunities provide an extra level of convenience and utility into the system.
  6. 6. An online party room The party portal is the entrance into what is really a mimic of a traditional social gathering. In real-life we gather in homes, event centers or church basements for our social gift sharing activities. Like Facebook and MySpace, this portal links individuals together in conversation and sharing opportunities as a group, just like the traditional party would do in a family room. The games we play Every party host knows that getting guests involved in a group activity breaks the ice and opens the conversational flood gates. This need to be involved is we buy almost $800 million in board games in the US every year. We have used these games so much that some of these have already been adapted for use in the expanding social gaming industry on the internet. Playing games online has become very common. There is also large group of games that are common to traditional gift-giving parties: • Bingo • Scavenger Hunt • Improv • Mystery • Secret Santa • White Elephant • Yankee Swap • Word Association • Truth or Dare • Spin the Bottle • Pin the tale on the Donkey • Piñata Engaging in an online mimic of these traditional party activities can make gift distribution a bit more memorable for any group. An online party host can select the appropriate party game for the occasion and then mix things up a bit every year with something new.
  7. 7. Gifts join the conversation The online party network gathers family and friends together for the fun, the conversation and the gift sharing in one location. The key to a successful gift party is to focus attention on building great conversation. Watching reactions and making comments as the gifts are opened is a central part of most gift sharing events. The online party game also integrates the actual gifts into the process and includes them into the conversation. Building Memories The act of giving or receiving a gift naturally builds some memories. Adding a social gathering expands the memory to include those within our social circle. Then, engaging in a party game creates opportunities to introduce memorable conversation and banter. When you place the gift into the game it creates a strong reminder that these people care for one another. By building memory generating activities, we can fill some of the voids cause by distance. If every gift was delivered following a memorable group event, then the distance the gift travels becomes less of an issue. If the starting point of our distribution process is engaging, then the UPS driver triggers a memory of great conversations and reminds us of the fun associated with the gift delivery. The guest list The great thing about gift giving with a family is that everyone can be a part of the fun. Support is a generational activity, with grandparents, parents and siblings becoming involved. A simple party activity provides a common location for all ages to share something together and to create a memory or two.
  8. 8. Business Opportunity There are already too many social networks that struggle with a solid business model, so we do not suggest building another. Instead, a distribution model can be established in such a way as to fund and sustain the opportunity. A thorough review of the gift distribution process reveals a few business opportunities: • Gift Sales – A key step in the gift distribution process and a place where commissions can be claimed from retailers. • Event Hosting – Offering the portal on a “pay-to- play” or Freemium basis to create revenue. • Advertising – Assisting groups to find great gifts for the event or other needs can generate revenues as well. • Sponsorships – Retailers and their agencies can use the party rooms to sponsor promotional parties for their customers and prospects. • Virtual Offers – Online games are using virtual currencies and offers. Each party involves a game; so there are opportunities in this space as well. The Wal-Mart Party Room Retailers like Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Amazon and Overstock.com sell many of the gifts that are distributed in the US. Each retailer looks for that extra value that can be offered to persuade the sale. The fun distribution system included with an online party is an extra value for family and friends who are shopping for a gift. The gift sales feature of the party portal provides a free party whenever a gift is purchased from one of the participating retailers. Retailers pay the party network a commission for the opportunity to sell to this engaged customer group. Affiliate marketing systems allow the party participants to shop within the site, and then give the party portal credit for the sale.
  9. 9. The Tupperware Party There are over 1 million people selling Tupperware. This is just one of the hundreds of companies who use the home party plan as a sales tool. Hundreds of thousands of people attend these parties every year and purchase over $9 Billion in products. From food containers, to candles, to barbeque tools, these home parties are group events that are promoted by independent dealers. The average Tupperware party, for example, gives the dealer about $400 dollars in sales. Many of these dealers use the party system to build successful businesses and they are always looking for ways to improve distribution. An engaging online mimic of this party system would allow them to expand distribution to friends and family members who live far away. A premium services like this would have a financial value for the home party professional. Madison Avenue Gift Advertising is an important part of gift awareness and product promotion. An expanding and active group of families and a network of friends should be a great audience for many brand messages. Space could be provided at a fee. Brought to you by Best Buy Corporations use sponsorships for many reasons, and justify the expenditure through increased sales or higher brand awareness. Retailers can use party applications to promote their products within loyal customer lists or targeted prospect demographics. Exclusive events sponsored by name brands can be a powerful marketing tool, especially when there is a social component included in the activity. Prizes, giveaways and special discounts can add to the fun of a party sponsored by a favorite store. Custom storefronts and unique party games can be tied to the brand’s online promotions. Development of these special internet parties can be provided on a fee basis.
  10. 10. Making the offer Zynga and many other social game companies have discovered that internet offers and virtual items can fund their business. Marketers have found ways to integrate sales offers into the game play functions and receive income from the clicks or other actions of the players. Party games have many of the same features of a social game, so it seems reasonable that the virtual offers and game enhancements could be integrated into the party activities as well. CONCLUSION: The Party Hat of Gift Distribution UPS and FedEx will never be a part of any family party, but they can be one step in a better gift distribution process. By engaging people in a fun gift shopping experience, including a lively game with exciting conversation, we can add to the anticipation of the subsequent gift delivery. Groups that choose to use the tools of an online party network will begin to believe that their UPS driver is wearing a party hat. After all, dull gift distribution is so old hat! A Sample Party An application has been created to demonstrate this fun-filled gift distribution processes. The AlbinoPhant gift exchange is a mimic of the traditional gift exchange party known as the White Elephant or Yankee Swap. This Facebook activity mashes Amazon, PayPal and UPS to create the first of many online gift distribution parties. By PartyWeDo, LLC © 2010

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