At some point, you have to go out and buy gifts for the holidays, birthdays, weddings, or even when a baby is born.
Although it may seem like you know a person, it's rather surprising how difficult it can be to select the perfect gift for them–a gift that says that you put some thought into, but is also functional and not going straight in the closet.
And that's the problem. Whether it's your spouse, nephew, aunt, parent, or best friend, those people aren't you, so the process isn't that simple.
UncommonGoods has been known as a hub for finding more unique gifts that are bound to generate some conversation during the holidays.
Now the company has released an expert gift guide powered by a Sunny bot modeled after Pandora.
In short, it cuts out the time you'll have to spend browsing through lengthy blog post lists. Instead, you're presented with a few questions, then delivered acceptable, and creative, gift ideas for those special people in your life.
Seeing as how I'm the type of person who waits until the last minute for gifts, and I still can't figure out what my closest relatives really want, the Sunny bot from UncommonGoods gets me excited.
So, let's take a look at how Sunny works to uncover whether or not it's going to solve my, and many other people's, gift buying problems.
A Unintimiding Interface With a Few Basic Questions
Upon landing on the Sunny homepage, you see a little elephant logo and the question “Who are you shopping for?”
You then type in anything like your brother, friend, mom, or niece.
For my test, I typed in “niece,” since I'm constantly asking my sister what's appropriate for my two nieces.
After that, Sunny asks whether that person is a baby, kid, teen, adult, or senior. I chose kid, since my two nieces are currently four and five years of age.
You do have the option to skip this step, but I don't quite understand why you would. The whole point is to have the bot collect as much information as possible to present you with some excellent gift ideas.
So, I punched in the information and hit the Continue button.
What Are they Into?
Now, this question is a little trickier, but you can obviously make some educated guesses based on your own observations and whatever information you have obtained from other people.
What's nice is that Sunny provides some suggestions to get the ball rolling. Then, you can type in any other interests that aren't included with the preset options.
For my particular search, I selected reading, games, and arts and crafts. I then added drawing and dolls, since I'd like to get them a creative or educational gift, but I know my nieces are obsessed with their dolls.
See Sunny's Suggestions
After clicking on the See My Suggestions Button, Sunny does the work for you by delivering a nice selection of items based on the interests.
A little more than 80 results came up, many of which would work perfectly for my nieces.
For instance, there was an eco-friendly finger paint kit for their creative sides, along with a jumbo USA coloring poster which I know would get some use. In addition, I saw a princess duvet and pillowcase set, and some dolls and stuffed animals to accommodate the interests I typed in myself.
With the results, it cuts down on the research quite a bit. Not only that, but you can take it a step further. Some of the gifts shown on this page cost more than $100, while others were around $10.
This is a large price range, so you also have the option to set a price range for how much you would like to spend.
Therefore, I cut it down to a range of $25 to $50, and some of the results were taken off.
But Here's My Favorite Part…
As mentioned, Sunny is a bot, inspired by the way Pandora views your music interests and curates additional music based on your past searches.
Sunny has a similar process but for your individual gift searches.
It lets you place a star on some of the items that come up in your initial search. For instance, I really think my nieces would enjoy the USA jumbo coloring poster or the “Animals at Home Matching Game.”
Upon clicking that star on one or two items, Sunny tells you that some other suggestions have been added to the bottom of the list based on these preferences.
This worked great because I received a handful of other products that relate to what I initially starred. For example, there's this personalized USA road trip book that was quite relevant after I starred the USA coloring map.
I also liked a create-a-plate item that allows kids to swap out interchangeable artwork in their food dishes. Seems like a wonderful way to get kids excited about their meals while also incorporating art into the equation.
Should You Check Out Sunny?
Overall, Sunny from UncommonGoods has major promise for cutting down your gift search time. It's easy to use, clean, and useful for locating interesting gifts that you might not have thought of outside of the big box items you see on TV.
The only feature I would like to see added is a filter to specify the age of that person you're shopping for. This is particularly important for kids, since a gift for a five-year-old can vary drastically from a gift for a six-year-old.
Other than that, I love the pricing filter, the almost instant search results (which all ended up being relevant,) and the easy search function based on interests.
Finally, my example mainly covered toys for kids, but it has the same functionality for adults, seniors, friends, spouses, and other loved ones. Furthermore, Sunny brings you directly to the right UncommonGoods product page. So, you can add items to your cart, then jump back to the Sunny suggestions in case you missed anything. The online store and suggestion bot integrate seamlessly.
If you have any questions about this Uncommon Goods review, or if you'd like to learn more about the Sunny gift engine, let us know in the comments section below.