Whenever a new iPhone or Android app comes out my first thought, I am now ashamed to say, is “what can it do for me?” If I’m going to go through the trouble of purchasing or even downloading a new app I expect for it to enhance my life in some small way. Does this make me selfish?
But I never really considered myself selfish until I came across a new iPhone application called “Giftly”. The app allows you to send and receive digital gift cards of all sorts. Except that the application goes further than the usual gift card model and allows you to send gifts from any establishment without the recipient needing to show anything to the merchant they are buying the gift from. It also differs from normal gift cards in that it allows the sender to specify the exact product they would like the recipient to receive allowing for a more personalized gift.
The Gifly website describes the process of giving and receiving “Giftlys” as follows:
“When you give a Giftly, you’ll tell the recipient what you’d like them get and where you’d like them to get it and decide how much to gift them. We’ve created dozens of fun icons that you can use or you can use a photo of anything you’d like. The Giftly can be delivered via text, email or Facebook. After you’ve sent a Giftly, you can see its status at any time in My Giftlys. You can know when they open it, where they used it, see what they got, and exchange messages. As a recipient, after you open the Giftly, all you need to do is go and buy the intended gift at the place chosen by the gifter. You don’t need to show anything to the merchant. After you buy your gift, use the iPhone app or mobile web app to indicate that you’ve used the Giftly and we’ll credit the gifted amount directly to your credit card or PayPal account.”
My understanding then is that Giftly is an application whose purpose is to facilitate giving. It was this observation that caused me to reflect a little on my own purchasing habits. I realize now that I’ve never browsed through smartphone apps wondering to myself “is there anything available that will help me to make the lives of my friends and family better, even marginally?” and so THAT is why Giftly made me feel like I was perhaps being a little bit selfish. On the other hand Giftly also facilitates receiving so there’s still hope for them to tap into the market of self-centered brutes like myself if they choose to market it that way.
Tim Bentley, the founder and CEO of Giftly
Giftly was founded by Tim Bentley who felt that gift cards, in their more conventional form, were both impersonal and inconvenient. Giftly appears to have been conceptualized with the intent of making the act of giving and receiving gift cards easier and more meaningful for both parties. On the Giftly website, Tim Bentley recounts the following story is describing the conception of the app: “I really wanted to treat my Mom to dinner at Sarducci’s, her favorite restaurant in Vermont, and a movie at Savoy, the local indie theater. I wanted her to know that I was thinking about her all the way across the country. Nothing existed that felt personal but made this easy, so Giftly was born.” I followed up with Tim recently to ask if he ever had a chance to use Giftly to deliver the aforementioned dinner and movie gifts to his mother. He responded “I have indeed been able to send my Mom and many other family and friends Giftlys. The launch of the iPhone app in September and the mobile web app 2 days ago were big steps forward for us.”