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The next great small business battle may come wrapped in a bow

No retail space immune from ‘online evolution’: The Natori Company president

The Natori Company president Ken Natori discusses brick and mortar retail’s survival ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The next great business battle may come wrapped in a bow or packed in a box or filling a basket.

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Consumers and businesses made gift basket sales a $20 billion business in 2018 and it promises to get bigger. Giant brands such as Amazon, Harry & David and Hickory Farms are major players in the basket game, but start-ups such as Foody Direct and GiftBasket.com are making headway in the fight. Giftbasket.com besides having a search ready web address also just received a big gift of its own.

The online gifting website announced it’s raised capital from South African based investment company Safika. While the exact amount of funding was not disclosed, GiftBasket.com Chief Executive Officer Eric Shenker told FOX Business Safika is now the company’s largest shareholder.

The new funding Shenker believes will help transform the online retailer into a global platform, Shenker said. “We see this as an opportunity to take a small company, apply some intellectual capital, some real capital and change it from a gift-basket company to a gifting-solutions company.”

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That means competing directly with publicly traded brands in the sector like Amazon and 1-800-Flowers.com. But with its refined product offerings, new website and enhanced filter and search engine optimization features, Shenker thinks GiftBasket.com can excel in the gifting market and grow quickly.

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“This is a unique opportunity to not only leverage our successes but transform into a global gifting platform" where, said Shenker, he company is “going to upgrade the quality of offerings we were already excited about. That’s just one of the things this funding will allow us to do.”

Yet more competition may be on the way as online ordering has made entry into the field easier. Well known greeting card company Hallmark has jumped into the fray offering items such as candy chocolate, baking and drink mixes, and tea.

David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, a consumer market intelligence firm, in talking about his company's 2018 report said of the sector competition, "Food gifting marketers need to continue inventing and reinventing food gifts and to keep a watchful eye for ways to broaden holiday-related purchase rationales."

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