October 4, 2012, 11:39 AM

Social gifting service Treater goes mobile

Its new Apple and Android apps include extra mobile-only features.

Lead Photo

Social gifting service Treater, which allows users to send gift cards for items like cups of coffee, T-shirts or movie tickets to the mobile devices of their Facebook friends, today debuts apps for iPhone and Android smartphones, the company says. Previously, gift givers could send “Treats” to their friends only through Treater’s web site.

Now users can access all the Treats they’ve given and received in one place, as well as use new app-only features. Those include the ability to select recipients from smartphone address books and send pictures and videos from smartphones along with gifts, the company says. Customers can also opt to receive notifications when they have a Treat waiting for them, when friends have received Treats or when it’s a good occasion to send a Treat, such as on a friend’s birthday.

“More than anything, it’s just easier with the app,” says Treater CEO Jeff Ross. “Once you log in and store your information, sending a Treat is just a matter of clicks.”

Both apps also allow smartphone users to view Treater’s activity wall, a page on the e-commerce site that displays a live feed of the messages, photos and gifts consumers send to one another through the service. Ross says the company created the wall after feedback from users revealed they were looking for inspiration and reassurance about what to say in their gift notes.

Treater launched in August, and simultaneously announced it had raised $2.5 million in seed funding. It intended to build mobile commerce apps from the start, Ross says.

“While we’re on track with our growth plans, what we’ve been surprised by is the inbound interest of merchants,” he says. “We’ve known that our platform is merchant-friendly because we’re not requiring deep discounts in order to participate. We were pleased by interest from retailers that are seeking meaningful ways to connect with their followers and fans and offering them ways to Treat themselves or someone else to specific items.”

Merchants can sign up with Treater to sell products and services in a revenue share model, for which they pay a percentage, based on the specific offer, when a consumer redeems a Treat. To date, 50 merchants are signed up to offer about 300 items with Treater, the company says.

In addition, merchants can use Treater’s software platform to share custom-branded Treats with their followers on social media or via e-mail and rewards programs, which costs an annual fee plus a per-transaction fee, the company says, declining to give specific amounts.

Based on findings of a small user group who tested the apps in beta, Ross says Treater users appear to fall into two categories: they’re either highly concerned about privacy in gift giving or they have zero inhibitions about how they share. “There was no middle ground,” he says. “So giving Treaters the option of posting to a Facebook wall or e-mailing and texting treats was important.”

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