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Target adds an e-gifting option to its website

Sarah Perez

Target today unveiled a new e-gifting feature designed for those who think gift cards are too impersonal, but who are just too busy (or too lazy) to actually shop for and mail gifts themselves. The retailer is announcing the launch of a feature called "GiftNow" which lets you browse its site, then pick out an item to be sent via email to your gift recipient.

The recipient can choose to accept the gift by providing their shipping address, or they can change the size, or even use the money you spent to buy themselves something else entirely.

Because why should we live in a world where we have to smile and pretend to like the ugly sweaters from auntie, when we could instead put the money toward something we actually wanted? I mean, spoiling ourselves is totally what the holidays are all about, right?

To use the feature, you click the new "GiftNow" button that has been added to tens of thousands of products on Target's website. You can then choose to have the gift sent instantly, or you can schedule the date you want it delivered to the recipient's email.

Target claims the new feature is ideal for those who are "impossible to shop for" (read: picky and rude about their gifts), or for those cases where you don't have a home address for the person you're gifting. But it seems it works as a last-minute gifting option, too, as you can pretend you've carefully and considerately shopped for a gift, when really you quickly scanned Target's site and then shot off an email.

Target is hardly the first to enter the e-gifting market. In years past, a number of startups have tried to make e-gifting a bigger trend, including companies like Jifiti, Loop Commerce, Token and others. In fact, Loop Commerce is powering the GiftNow solution for Target, the retailer confirmed.

The solution also quietly went live in October, but today Target is making it known -- appropriate timing, given that we're heading into the final days of the holiday shopping season. However, the feature isn't a holiday-only addition -- Target tells us it's sticking around.

Call me old-fashioned I guess, but if you're not giving someone a "real" gift, I don't see the need for this in-between solution -- a gift card or even plain ol' cash will do. Both of those will allow the hard-to-shop-for recipient to pick out something they like, and a gift card can be emailed to those whose address you don't know.

The e-gift, meanwhile, sits in an odd place -- you took the time to shop for something specific online, but couldn't reach out to confirm a mailing address, apparently?

Still, e-gifting may make sense for those people where you don't actually need to get too personal -- like a child's teacher, an employee, colleague, co-worker or other acquaintance, for example.

The feature is live now on Target.com on select items.