Americans love their gift cards, as the average American adult gives five a year and they are the most requested gift. Now they can turn to Wrapp, a social gifting service that enables F2F (friend-to-friend) marketing on behalf of brands.
The Swedish startup, founded last year, launches today in the U.S. with major retail partners including Gap, Fab.com, H&M, Sephora, the Wall Street Journal, Brooklyn Industries, Warby Parker, WeSC, Gant, Bjorn Borg, with another 15 retailers in the wings.
How it works: The Wrapp mobile gift card and retail app lets retailers drive traffic to online and physical stores starting with small amounts, $5 to $15, that users get for free. Then, using Facebook and the mobile app, people can give their Facebook friends those free gift cards, a notification they’ve received a gift card is posted to that friend’s wall, and others can see it and contribute more money if they wish.
Founded by a mix of Groupon and Spotify veterans, Rebtel and SendIt founder Hjalmar Winbladh and Spotify founding CTO Andreas Ehn, and with backing from Greylock Partners and Atomico, it takes social gifting to the next level by combining social, viral and mobile.
“Friend to friend marketing is best way to drive sales in retail market,” Winbladh tells TechCrunch. “Not only is Wrapp an innovative, social way for consumers to gift, but it’s also a performance tool for big retailers.”
Wrapp, available for iPhone, Android and web, had 250,000 users purchase cards in December 2011, and since then, more than 165,000 people have given Facebook friends over 1.4 million free gift cards.
“Retailers know that they need to move towards retail 2.0; and Wrapp provides this valued experience,” Greylock partner (and LinkedIn cofounder) Reid Hoffman told TechCrunch.
Previously available only in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Taiwan and Australia, Wrapp has competitor Dropgifts from Germany’s Samwer brothers nipping at its heels. Others in the space include Giftiki, Thoughtful, Shareagift, Friendfund, Friendgiftr and eBay’s Gifts Project.
Wrapp will follow its U.S. launch with roll outs in 15 more European, Asian and South American countries. “This is a breakthrough model for sales and an elegant way to do gift carding,” Windbladh told GigaOm. “You’re tapping into the most efficient marketing, which is friends of friends.”
Wrapped in blue-chip pedigree, Wrapp’s board of directors include Niklas Zennström (Skype co-founder), Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder) and Fabian Månsson (former global CEO of H&M and Eddie Bauer).