Zest is Ingram’s second company after Sunlight Health, which sought to make brand-name and specialty prescription medications affordable for patients with chronic conditions. He met Zest’s second co-founder, Jeremy Feinstein, while working at Flatiron Health, where they helped to develop cancer center software.

Image Credits: Zest

With Zest, Ingram says that the goal was to make the experience of online gifting “delightful.” How? By allowing e-commerce brands to embed a “send as a gift” button on their product or cart pages and letting givers choose a digital greeting card, add their own message, pay through Shopify and deliver the gift to the recipient via text or email. With gifts gifted through Zest, recipients — who can opt into shipping notifications — can add their own mailing address or customize the gift’s attributes (like size or color) and optionally send a thank-you note to the sender. 

But Ingram argues that Zest uniquely takes a “brand-first” approach, helping brands grow by building direct relationships with their customers.

“With some of the other gifting tools out there, the brands are almost an afterthought,” Ingram said. “Zest makes sending a gift a convenient and easy experience for shoppers, who never have to leave their favorite brand’s website — it’s as intuitive as clicking ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy It Now.’ There are lots of e-gift card apps too, but we don’t believe e-gift cards are the future of gifting. They feel transactional and impersonal. They’re so forgettable that billions of dollars of gift cards go unused every year in the U.S. And many brands don’t like to deal with the accounting headaches that come with the long-standing liabilities of unused gift cards.”

Image Credits: Zest

“E-commerce and gifting exploded during the pandemic,” Ingram said. “People wanted to send more gifts to friends and family to help bridge the literal gap between them and loved ones. And while that growth rate has slowed, it’s a behavior that’s here to stay. [But] it’s never been harder for direct-to-consumer brands to acquire and retain customers. That’s partly due to the sheer number of direct-to-consumer brands out there today … For brands, the value we’re providing is first and foremost an elevated gifting experience for their customers. When it’s so easy and natural to send a gift directly from a product or cart page, these brands will sell more gifts and reach more people.”

Zest wants to make buying and sending gifts online ‘delightful’ by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch