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Consumer’s Guide To Downloadable Gifts

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Facebook-based gift cards and mobile apps
Lord & Taylor is among the retailers experimenting with what they’re calling “social gifting,” which in their case means making it easy to tap friends on Facebook to pitch in for a gift certificate. If you’re not already a Facebook devotee, it probably doesn’t make sense to join up just for this. But if you already have connected with friends on the social networking site, keep reading.

From Lord & Taylor’s Facebook page, you can click a link that says gift cards to install a virtual gift card app.

Pick the recipient and the amount you want to spend, and set a date for delivery in the future. Once you pay for the gift card, you can then invite others to contribute additional money to the gift card. You could tweet or email the link, or the app will help by suggesting friends you have in common, so you can send a quick Facebook message. You could post the plea to your own Facebook wall, too, though the recipient might see that.

On the delivery date, the recipient will get an email or a Facebook message showing how much each person contributed; they can send the gift to their phone or print out a barcode to redeem the gift certificate.

A growing number of other stores, including Starbucks and Target, allow customers to pay via mobile phone apps, and gift cards can be converted for use in those accounts.

Startups
Several Internet startups are taking different approaches to digital gift-giving. One, KangoGift, lets you send a gift certificate for everything from a basic cup of coffee to a six-week music class by text message to a recipient’s cell phone, or right to their Facebook page. Then they can just bring their phone along and show it to the merchant to redeem their gift. Most of the offers are clustered in four cities – Boston; New York; Madison, Wis.; and Chapel Hill, N.C. – but there are some national merchants on board, such as Fandango for movie tickets, that sell things that can be redeemed online.

Another, Giftly, lets you bundle up to three different shops, restaurants or services into a single gift package – tickets at three artsy movie theaters, or pints at three different microbreweries, maybe. You decide the amount and the merchants, then send either by email, Facebook or snail-mail. This makes it easy to customize a gift, even if the merchants themselves don’t offer gift cards or gift certificates.

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Posted by FanSite on Dec 1st, 2011 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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