There is the new men’s gift buying service in town. Their slogan reads, “We do all the work. You get all the credit.” Here’s how it works: Let’s say your girlfriend’s birthday is coming up, and you have absolutely no idea what to get her. Well, you fill out the Cobiati membership form, describe everything you know about her, and then you set a price range for the gift, and sit back and forget about it.
There is no fee for this service. In other words, the gift is fundamentally the cost of the item plus shipping, and you have control over the final price, which can range anywhere from $50 and up. Cobiati practically guarantees the success of any gift they choose (and you approve), and everything is handled discreetly and professionally. In addition, their service includes a “panic button,” which offers overnight service to members who are teetering at the front door of the dog house.
But wait a minute. What gives Cobiati the confidence in knowing so much about our women? We wanted to know if this was the real thing, so we reached out to the man in charge, CEO and Co-Founder, Mr. Mark Poole:
Urbasm: Mark, what is your best customer story to date?
Marke Poole: Some of my favorite stories are the ones we most commonly hear. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call this couple Jack and Jane. Jack is a new member, and schedules a gift for his upcoming wedding anniversary. Our concierge team looks over Jack’s profile and selects a gift based on Jane’s personality. Among other things she’s young, successful, fun-loving, likes to travel, and has an interest in fashion. For this particular gift, we chose a designer handbag for Jane. The gift arrives, wrapped and ready to go. Jack presents it to Jane on their anniversary, and as soon as she opens it, she yells something along the lines of “I’ve been wanting this exact bag for months! How did you know?!”
I love stories like that because even though we see them all the time, they’re a good representation to me that the team is doing a great job. At the heart of things, our top priority is to choose the perfect gift every time, and we’re achieving that. We get emails with stories like this on a regular basis, and they excite me every time.
Urb: What is the most expensive gift your team has purchased for someone?
MP: Our most expensive gift to date was right around $4,000, but the majority of them fall between $250 and $1000.
Urb: We’re sure it hasn’t happened, but what would happen if a gift bombs out entirely?
MP: Between our member questionnaire and our concierge team’s expertise, it’s really unlikely. We’ve never had any gift even come close to failing, but we do have fail-safes in place, just in case.
Each member receives two heads-up emails. One, when the gift is chosen a few weeks out, and a second 48-hours before it arrives. That first heads-up email includes a ‘veto button’ if for any reason the gift is a no-go. If we had a situation where the member loved the gift and the wife for some unpredictable reason didn’t, we would do anything necessary to remedy the situation. The point of Cobiati is to make our members look good, no matter what, and we stand behind that.
Urb: How do you give each gift a ‘personal touch’ so that the recipient doesn’t suspect it was a service?
MP: Our member questionnaire is designed precisely with this in mind. Each new member fills out a series of 33 questions built specifically to get as much gift-relevant info as possible about the wife or girlfriend. We have an internal algorithm that helps narrow down the choices, but in the end, each gift is hand-selected by a member of the Cobiati concierge team. We don’t just stick your wife’s personality in a computer and have it spit out an answer for us.
Before it’s finalized, each gift choice is also approved by both the female and male teams, to guarantee that it is something that a man would actually pick and a woman would actually love. So far over half of our members have been referred by other members, so I think we’re accomplishing that. You can’t buy word of mouth.
Urb: Are your “panic button” gifts chosen specifically to get a guy out of the doghouse… or are they similar to any other special occasion—only delivered quicker?
MP: It depends. The Panic Button was designed to be for the guy in trouble, but that can mean many things. Sometimes ‘in trouble’ means ‘I forgot my anniversary and it’s in two days.’ Sometimes it means ‘I accidentally called her my ex-girlfriend’s name and I need an apology gift pronto.’
Urb: A few years ago there was a website called savemyass.com that has since disappeared. Was there anything you learned from them? Or have you done anything different to ensure your own success?
MP: We’ve learned a lot from looking at would-be competitors who have failed over the years. I think the defining feature of our company is that we provide truly top-notch service. Cobiati is delegating at its finest. Imagine if you had a personal assistant who did everything perfectly and, better yet, did it for free. Who can say no to that?
We’re not about a stock flower delivery service or a computer-based gift recommendation engine. What we do is personalized for the kind of man who wants the best without having to shop for it.
Urb: Thanks for saving our ass, Mark.