BEIRUT: The most hectic part about the holidays is the gift shopping extravaganza, but what settles every shopper’s anxiety is the thought that their gift will put a smile on a loved one’s face.
Presentail was launched just before the holidays specifically for the expat giving niche, to help with the logistics and delivery of thoughtful presents.
Expats have often found that abroad gifting a longer process than many might like.
Not only do they have to participate in the annual wild shopping spree, but also ship their gifts to their loved ones. Another option would be calling a local store in Beirut or elsewhere, to ask for gift delivery. But that means one should send the payments through a third party and since there isn’t an online billing system for most of the stores in Lebanon, one will just have to trust that the shopkeeper actually delivers the gift and that the third party transmits the payment on time.
After experiencing the life of expats, Farah Ali Hasan and Adnan Amach discovered how overwhelming it can be to have gifts shipped on holidays and birthdays. Thus, ensuring everyone connects better with their loved ones in the land of Cedars, these young Lebanese friends started an e-commerce launch called Presentail.
“During my first year abroad I was able to send my mom flowers on her birthday, and as other occasions passed flowers was my only resort, until at some point it became too cliché to send flowers anymore,” Amach told Annahar.
“Besides bouquets, there was nothing else on the market, except for a few websites that send balloons, but I wanted alternatives so I started contacting my favorite shops in Lebanon asking them for gift deliveries, they were helpful, but there was still the payment issues,” Amach said. “They wanted me to send them cash through a money transmitter, and as a person who lives in the U.S. with all the online billing services, I had no idea on how to send money through an agent.”
On that note, Amach and Ali Hassan sought to collaborate on a project that caters for expats and encourages Lebanese businesses to adopt an online billing system to catch up with technological shopping advancements.
Ali Hasan said Presentail is an online gifting platform for curated items from local sellers in Lebanon who have small and medium businesses. Starting off with a team of two, Amach and Ali Hasan, recruited family members to help handle logistics, delivery, and payments of each order.
“We approached our vendors with the idea of online billing, at first they were hesitant about the idea of getting virtually paid but when we told them we handle the process from A to Z they immediately came on board,” said Ali Hassan.
Presentail takes care of all the orders, and the process is as follows: someone requests a gift through the website, a local member of the team goes to the vendor buys the item and delivers it to the “loved one” on time. They also cover all regions in Lebanon.
They have started small.
“Until now we have four vendors and they are very known shops in the millennial market,” said Ali Hasan.“Our aim is to empower local, smaller businesses because they lack the resources of the larger operations.”
The website launched on the first of December, and until end of January, it only features gifts such as chocolate, cakes, popsicles, and flowers. After that period, Presentail will also introduce balloons, healthy desserts, and Lebanese desserts.
“We are in conversations for gadgets, accessories, and whatnot,” said Amach. “Our aim is to see what expats want for gifts and cater to them, we want them to have as many gift options that they can get.”
Presentail specializes in discovering what their consumers want to better cater for them, thus they rely on data collection. “The tool we use doesn’t invade privacy,it doesn’t showcase unwanted and extra details about our customers, it only tracks what kind of products they add to their cart,” noted Amach. “It is also anonymous because our aim is to better understand our costumers’ taste in gifts and not them as individuals,”
Through getting to know what type of gifts expats seek, Presentail customizes special gifts with vendors; such gifts are exclusive to the e-commerce startup.
“We create a lot of new items and concepts with our vendors,” emphasized Ali Hasan. “That’s how we help the vendors expand their brands.”
Presentail is initially made for expats but can also work for locals as well. People who have 9:00 to 6:00 jobs and can’t afford wasting time in queues can order online and have their present delivered, founders noted.
Amach and Ali Hasan constantly seek ideas for their website, they have sections for “Get well soon gifts” along with “Thank you gifts” and “Newborn gifts.” Presentail also features gifts with a range of prices to cover all economic statuses.
For the holidays they offered a “one for one gift,” in which for every gift a customer buys, a present will go to a needy child.
Readers can find out more about this launch-stage e-commerce business at their homepage: presentail.com
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