If there is one thing that mars the joy of giving a gift, it’s actually thinking one up. I don’t know about you, but personally, I always prefer asking the person for a few things he or she wants, and then picking the best out of that. That way, not only is the recipient happy with the gift they got – since it was something they wanted anyway – but I also get the satisfaction of knowing it’s something they will actually use, and not just have it lying around somewhere in the closet for eternity.
Wishmindr is a nifty little service that lets you always have an answer for the question, “So, what do you want this Christmas/birthday/anniversary?” It’s tightly integrated with online shopping sites Amazon, eBay and ShopStyle, making it much easier to pinpoint exactly what you want and share it with your family and friends.
Note: Wishmindr currently works for the American edition of Amazon, eBay and ShopStyle. Other countries are not supported yet; but given that these three sites offer great shipping options, it ends up being useful no matter where in the world you are.
It’s Really Easy!
The most impressive aspect about Wishmindr, for me, was how linear and easy it is. Each step is logically followed by the next thing you would want to do.
Starting off, you can create a new account or sign in through Facebook, Twitter, Google or Yahoo. I’d suggest doing one of the latter – using the one you use the most – since it makes it easier to integrate your contacts and send them your wishlist. Fill up your profile name and you’re good to go.
Wishmindr then invites you to create a new list by giving it a name. For the sake of this example, we’ll go with a Christmas list.
A cool aspect here is that you can specify the date of the event. This helps Wishmindr in sending across a reminder to all your contacts a month before the date, reminding them of the upcoming big day and what you want on it.
Once this initial setup is done, it’s time to choose the gifts you’d like.
The toolbar at the top has a search bar which can be used at any time to look up a gift you want. I’ve been eyeing the iPad Mini, Nexus 4 phone and a brand new pasta maker for some time, so let’s see how it goes.
Searching for the iPad Mini immediately gave me related links on all three sites – Amazon, ShopStyle and eBay. The Amazon entries seemed to fit what I wanted the best, followed by eBay and lastly ShopStyle. That’s not a surprise, though, considering I’m looking for a gadget and ShopStyle is about clothes and accessories.
The bar on the left lets you quickly look at the results from one of the three sites, or you can simply scroll or use the tag cloud to narrow down your search results.
When you find the gift you want, just add it to your Wishlist (and if you have multiple wishlists, you can choose which one to add to) with the quick button.
Does it work well?
Both the Nexus 4 phone and the pasta maker gave me similar results, so it’s a pretty decent search engine, although the number of results you get is quite limited. This wasn’t ideal, since it meant that for some other items – like a Kitchen Aid, of which there are so many variants – I had to first search on Amazon for what I exactly wanted and then key in that exact term into Wishmindr’s search box.
Still, I really liked the idea of actually pinpointing the link of the product I wanted. Too often in the past, I have told someone or been told by someone about a gift they wanted, only to find that the actual present turns out to be a slight variation.
Sharing Your List
This is the crux of Wishmindr, if you ask me. Now that the wishlist is ready, you need to be able to quickly show it to anyone who’s interested, as well as let others know of the upcoming big day.
Of course, the wishlist can be shared at any point with the usual social sharing options. But where the service really makes a difference is in the reminders it sends out to people.
My wife’s birthday is in December and I know a bunch of the things she has really wanted for some time. I created a wishlist for her birthday, complete with the items she desires, and shared it easily by importing her contact list.
When you first add a contact, Wishmindr will send a notification email to that person saying they have been added to a mailing list created by you, with the title of the Wishlist.
Thirty days before the event, the contacts are sent an update with all the gifts in the wishlist. This way, they quickly know exactly what you want.
Buying and Marking items
The link of the wishlist that your recipients open will have a button marked ‘purchase’ to let them quickly buy it for you, as well as the option to ‘Mark as Purchased’ so that others won’t end up buying you the same gift.
You can also mark any item as ‘purchased’ in case you get it before it comes to you as a gift.
I found this to be a really cool feature. A couple of people wanted to buy my wife the same gift and they ended up in a race to be the first to purchase it and mark it, which was quite good fun.
There’s little not to like about Wishmindr. The only flaw, as such, is that I wish it had better integration for other country editions of the sites as well as other big e-retailers. But these are small quibbles, given that Amazon and eBay cover pretty much anything you’ll need.