Dropost.it is a clever smart service that allows you to drop gifts for friends which are geo-tagged to specific locations. These gifts, which you can think of as virtual gift cards purchased via the Dropost.it service, can only be accessed when the recipient visits a specific location. Initially, the service works over PayPal, but the company is working towards deeper integration with mobile wallets, including NFC-based wallet systems, like Google Wallet.
Beyond facilitating the gift-giving process, Dropost.it is also working on a feature that will help you figure out what gifts to buy your friends (this piece hasn’t yet launched). To do so, Dropost.it will pull in data from Facebook, including friends’ likes and interests, but it will also work with social data from Foursquare and Twitter in the future.
The idea is that you’ll be able to use the service to figure out what places your friends typically visit – that is, the restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retail stores, etc. that they favorite. This is especially helpful when you’re buying for acquaintances whose personal interests you may not know too well, or when you’re buying for friends who live out of town.
After the gift is purchased (with a small fee), the recipient is emailed a message that includes an optional video greeting from the gift-giver, for a more personalized experience. The email also includes a link to download the accompanying Dropost.it mobile application (HTML5 first, then iOS and Android). To claim the gifted funds, the recipient just launches the app upon arrival at the given venue. As a service that works over PayPal, of course, this isn’t ideal, since the money isn’t instantly available in the recipient’s bank account unless they use the PayPal Debit Card. But further down the road, when mobile wallet usage is more prevalent, something like Dropost.it could be a useful way to surprise friends with instant gifts that are available immediately.
In addition to the consumer-facing angle, merchants can also participate in Dropost.it to set up their own promotions (aka “drops”) wherever they choose. They could allocate $1,000 in $5 increments to encourage foot traffic, for example, or they could use a series of drops to create a scavenger hunt-style game.
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