Each year, 80 percent of Americans use gift cards, with 3 billion given in 2011. Now Giftly aims to take gift cards mobile by encouraging people to give gifts and experiences through an iOS app.
The app, launched yesterday, allows individuals to give their friends and family virtual gift cards, known as "Giftlys," via their iPhone or iPod Touch.
Giftlys come with a note to the recipient telling them what the gift-giver would like them to get, and where they would like them to get it -- for example, a night at the movies or dinner at a particular local restaurant. The app includes icons that can be used illustrate the present, or gift-givers can upload their own photos. After setting up the gift and choosing its value, the buyer can choose to have the Giftly delivered to the recipient via text, email or Facebook.
Once it's sent, the giver can see the gift's status in the Giftly app. The app includes a record of when the Giftly is opened, where it was used and what for. Once the recipient indicates that they've used their Giftly, the monetary value of the gift is credited to their credit card -- meaning the merchant isn't involved in the gift card experience.
"Gift giving is happening all the time. When a co-worker picks up lunch or a friend buys you a drink, those are gifts. Giftly addresses that sort of every-day gift giving and makes it possible to do from your smartphone," explained Corianda Rocklein Leste, head of User Experience and Design at Giftly.