Business Owner FAQ

What is Nift?

Nift is the first invitation-only network that helps neighborhood businesses get the right local customers to walk through the door. It's the only network that guarantees businesses are discovered every time they thank their best customers.

It all starts with a "nift," a neighborhood gift. When you give a nift to one of your customers, you'll introduce them to another local business. In return, another business will give a nift to their best customers, introducing them to you. And not just any customers. Remember, the people who redeem Nift gifts are not bargain hunters. They are the great tippers and loyal customers that another business wants to thank by giving them a Nift gift.

How much does it cost to use Nift?

Trying Nift is free!

When you sign up we'll put money in your account to test drive Nift, with no obligation to continue. You'll use these funds to buy your customers gifts. They'll love that!

Like so many other businesses who rely on Nift, if you feature a gift in the network, you'll start getting discovered by new customers right away. When a customer comes in to discover your business and redeem their Nift gift you'll be responsible for covering the cost of your goods and services. You won't have any additional out of pocket expenses.

Nift is not taking any fees at this time. We're still in beta mode and will be for a while. Afterwards, Nift will implement a pay for performance model. Rest assured, everyone who participates in the Nift private beta will receive at least 90 days notice before the beta ends.

What are some examples of Nift gifts?

Dinner for two, a massage, the perfect artisan cheese. Almost anything a business offers can be a nift. Popular gifts include: $50 gift certificate to a boutique, tickets to a show, a $35 gift certificate to a restaurant, custom framing, a spa treatment like a facial or massage, lunch for two, 1-month gym membership, $20 towards baked goods, a gift certificate to a wine shop, and a bouquet of flowers. We tell business owners that a Nift gift should feel just like that… a gift. It shouldn't be a discount, but rather a true gift so that people who receive them can discover your business and experience it for full value.

I received a private invitation. Who invited me to join NIft?

Nift is a private, invitation-only, network of hundreds of local independent businesses. They all use Nift to thanks their best customers and get discovered by more customers. Any one of these businesses could have invited you. We get recommendations from their customers, too.

Do I pick the gifts for my customers?

No, you don't. You get to pick the customers you want to send gifts to, but you don't get to pick their gifts. That's the only way we can ensure fairness. Each time one of your customers redeems a gift at another store the Nift system will offer your gift to another business' customer, sending them your way. Besides ensuring fairness, Nift is the only system that uses a patent-pending matching algorithms to select the best gifts for your customers. As an added precaution, everyone gets an option of two gifts and business owners have the ability to favorite preferred merchants and deselect the businesses whose gifts they don't want to offer.

What if there's a business I don't want to send my customers to, like a competitor?

Your customers will not receive gifts to businesses in the same category as your business unless you approve it. For instance, a salon's client will not get a gift to another salon. If you feel your customers would not like a gift to a particular business outside of your category, you can also mark these and we won't send them to your customers. On the flipside, if there are businesses you prefer, you can mark these as favorites. This tells our system that you prefer them, though it does not guarantee that your customers will always get their gifts.

How do I decide who to give gifts to?

Give nifts to great customers that you know other business owners would appreciate meeting. If you're thanking customers in person by giving Nift gift cards, please make an effort to genuinely say thank you for shopping local. We can help you create a custom thank you note to give gifts by email, too. It's a great way to send a lot of nifts at once, augment an existing loyalty program, automate gift sending, and get discovered by more people during the holidays, a special sales event, or slow seasons.

How does Nift ensure gift quality?

Our team reviews all gifts to make sure they are suitable for the network (image, language, and gift type). Once approved, gifts are offered to many potential customers. Customers who select your gift will get a gift certificate to your store. By cross-referencing our businesses' customer lists, we can also increase the likelihood that a Nift gift will help every customer discover another great local business.

Can I give Nift cards in person and by email?

Sure. You can thank customers in person by giving Nift cards. We'll ship you a stack of these cards to you at no charge once your gift is approved. You can also thank customers via email. Like Constant Contact or MailChimp, we'll send gifts to your customers from your email address. You can upload your customer list by logging into your account and selecting Account > My Customers > Import Customers. Your customers will always be matched with a choice of 2 gifts to other neighborhood businesses.

I'm hesitant to upload my customer email list. What will you do with it?

You don't need to upload your email list to sign up and use Nift, unless you would like to send nift gifts to your customers by email. If you'd like to do that, it's simple to upload your contacts. We integrate with many service providers, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact. Whether you connect through them or upload your list to Nift directly, the list and all of its contents remain yours. In fact, much like Constant Contact, MailChimp, and, the gift emails you send to your customers will come from your email address through the Nift system, with Nift operating as an email service provider. Your business is the only one able to use your email list.

Because we take privacy and security very seriously, business owners choose who to email and will have an option to include a personal note. In addition, we use email addresses to confirm recipients and match them to gifts. When matching customers, we can also cross-reference your email list to exclude your current customers from receiving your gift, thereby increasing the probability of offering your gift to someone who'd be excited to discover your business.

Who owns my data? Can my data be resold?

When you upload your customer list to Nift, it remains yours and can only be used to provide Nift services to you. Much like other web services, such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, and, you always maintain ownership of your customer's contact details. Hence, this data can never be resold.

Do gifts have an expiration date?

Yes, they do. Anyone who selects your gift has 45 days to redeem it. If we see the gift has not been used and is about to expire, we'll ask them if they'd like a 2-week extension. For people who say yes, this signals that they are still interested in trying your business and will likely stop by soon.

How are gifts redeemed?

Congrats! A local customer has come into your store to pick up their Nift gift. That means you've just made a sale, and it's time to complete the transaction. You can redeem the gift right on their smart phone by clicking the "REDEEM" button and entering your store code. You can change this code in your account settings to something unique your staff will remember. What if a person comes in with a paper certificate? No problem. You can complete the transaction by scanning the QR code on the certificate with your own smartphone. You can also sign in at, click the yellow REDEEM CERTIFICATE button in the main nav, then find the customer's name and click the blue REDEEM button. As soon as a gift is redeemed at your business, Nift will deposit the full amount of the gift certificate in your account.

How many customers will discover my business each month?

Once you join Nift and create a gift, we'll review it and begin offering it in the system. Most businesses who join our private beta see 5 to 10 Nift customers come through the door in the first 6 weeks. If your gift is not performing as well as expected, we'll reach out to help you edit it. If you'd like to be introduced to more customer, simply give more gifts to your existing customers. If you'd like to be introduced to fewer people, adjust your gift to set a limit on how many potential customers see it. Either way, you can manage how many NIft customers come through your door each month.

Does Nift collect feedback and reviews?

Yes, we do. We ask for feedback every time someone uses a Nift gift. You can review this feedback in your Nift account. It's a great way to make sure your business is always making a good first impression.

Why do businesses use Nift?

  • Reinforce customer loyalty by giving existing customers real gifts

  • Meet more customers each time your gifts are redeemed

  • Get great exposure by being featured in hundreds of weekly gift emails sent in your neighborhood

  • Strengthen your local economy by supporting neighborhood businesses

How does Nift work with my existing loyalty program?

Nift can work seamlessly with your loyalty program. It's a complement in the sense that it can be used to thank customers that you've already identified as deserving a gift through your existing loyalty program. Unlike traditional loyalty program rewards, Nift gifts encourage your customers to discover another great local business in the neighborhood and help your business get discovered by new customers.

What's guaranteed?

  • Earn back what you invest because every time you give a gift, another business will give their customer a gift to your business

  • Regular reporting so you always know how Nift is helping your business

  • Full transparency into which gifts are matched to your customers and the option to select which businesses you don't want to send customers to.

How come I've never heard of Nift?

Our first Nift network was established in Brookline, Massachusetts in 2015 with the goal of helping local business owners get discovered by new customers. Our founder's hairdresser became our first member. She helped to spread the word, and soon we had about a dozen businesses buying and selling gifts. Each time they bought a gift for one of their existing customers, they'd meet a customer from another neighborhood businesses in return. It was wild!

The hair salon introduced customers to the puzzle shop and the clothing boutique down the street. The children's clothing store introduced customers to a local photographer and the neighborhood liquor store. Everyone gave their customers gifts, and that made customers happy. And everyone met new customers, which made the business owners happy, too. That's when we knew we were on to something.

Since then, we've been building our private beta and working with select businesses to iron out the kinks and deliver a killer product. We're not advertising, and membership is by invitation only. So if you've been invited, you should know a fellow business owner or customer recommended you because they think your business is pretty awesome.

How can Nift help local businesses?

People love getting gifts, especially thank you gifts. That's how neighborhood gifts, or "nifts", help businesses keep their best customers happy. Nifts also help people discover or get reaquainted with other local businesses. This works so well that many of our business partners believe that giving nifts makes more sense than advertising, coupons or referral programs.

Giving nifts strengthens the local economy, too. That's because nifts promote shopping local, and we all know that's good for everyone. When you buy a neighborhood gift as a thank you for one of your existing customers, you'll be helping them discover another local business. At the same time, another local business will use Nift to buy one of their customers a thank you gift — introducing them to you.

How is giving a Nift gift different than giving a coupon or free sample?

This is what truly sets Nift apart. We're not about deals or discounts. Merchants get paid full-price for the goods and services they sell in the network. That's how we can attract the right kind of new customer to your business — the ones that are likely to come back. Remember, the people who redeem Nift gifts are not bargain hunters. They are the best customers of other local businesses. They are the great tippers and loyal customers that business owners want to thank by giving them a Nift gift.

How is Nift different than Yelp or Groupon?

Unlike Yelp, Nift reviews can only be left by customers who receive a Nift gift to discover that local business. We believe this makes Nift reviews more authentic and reflective of a person's first experience with a small business. Nift is not like Groupon, either. We don't sell Nift gifts to consumers and more importantly, Nift gifts are full-valued gifts. They're not discounts or coupons.

Is Nift a way for businesses to sell gift cards?

No. Businesses cannot sell their Nift gift cards. Also, Nift gift cards have no cash value. They're simply an invitation for the recipient to go to and select a gift from the two options offered. Once a gift is selected, Nift will issue a gift certificate that's valid at the selected local business.

Is Nift only available in Boston?

Today, Nift works with businesses throughout Greater Boston. We're growing quickly and are adding new neighborhoods every day. If you'd like to join and are outside Greater Boston, please let us know.

I'd like to try Nift, what do I do next?

Signing up for Nift is easy. If you've already received a private invitation, simply follow the link to sign up to the private beta. Include your name and email address, verify your business details, and set up your gift. The whole process will take just a few minutes. There's no credit card required and no obligation to continue. Once you're approved, we'll send Nift cards to you right away so that you can start handing them out to your best customers. If you haven't received a private invitation, you may request one here.