Boomerang Brings Local Gifting Online


It’s pretty safe to say that Groupon turned out to be a bit of a bust for most businesses. Shoppers gave up on daily deals thanks to inbox fatigue, and businesses kept finding the whole process damaging to their bottom line. That’s not to say the model isn’t still chugging along, but it’s lost a lot of its cachet as the next big thing.

So what’s the next next big thing? The same venture capital backers that gave Groupon its start have taken a foray into a new retail initiative, one that doesn’t rely on deep discounts. It’s called Boomerang.

Boomerang is a small startup that’s built on the back of Facebook. It helps Facebook users find opportunities to give gifts to friends, then recommends the perfect gift in the form of a gift certificate. What makes this service particularly cool is that, like Groupon, it’s partly intended to drive shoppers to local businesses. Boomerang crunches your friends’ big days, interests and geographical locations to recommend a gift from a particular local vendor, and users can then buy a gift card from that shop—a local gift from anywhere in the nation.

Since the service is all about giving, not saving, the margins are much nicer than those offered by daily deal sites. It’s about generosity, friendship, and shopping locally—a pretty cool combo. For now Boomerang is only available in Chicago, Austin, New York and Indianapolis, but that’s likely to keep expanding in the enar future.


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