Have you ever had a friend on Facebook who says that they’ve just been up all night working on a project, or that they are stuck at the airport? You send them a message, or write on their wall. It’s a nice gesture, but you wish there was something more you could do to help them feel better.
That’s where Treater comes in. It is an an online gift giving website that allows users to send instant virtual giftcards to buy Treats, such as a cup of coffee for that friend who was up all night, or a beer for person stuck in the airport. On Wednesday, Treater announced that it is launching a new app for iOS and Android.
In an interview with VatorNews, Treater CEO Jeff Ross described the act of giving Treats as “more meaningful and thoughtful than just sending a message on Twitter or Facebook.”
Here’s how it works: When someone is sent a Treat they will instantly receive called a Treat Card on their smartphone through e-mail, text or Facebook message. They can then immediately redeem the Treat Card at the participating merchant. All they have to do is type in the Treat Card number, and the amount for the item will be deducted.
If the total amount on the Treat Card is not used up, the remainder goes to a “PiggyBank” and can be used by the recipient toward a new Treat for themselves or someone else.
The new app for Android and iOS will integrate the smartphone camera, allowing both users and recipients to send each other videos. It will also integrate the user’s address book, to make it easier to put in an email address or phone number when sending a Treat.
The app will also give the sender a notification when the Treat is received and when they have been sent a thank you message, and will allow friends to see a live feed of what Treats have been sent and received by their friends.
Treater currently has 300 items for sale at 50 merchants. Some of the items available are higher end and more expensive, such as a Seamless transition bag from Lululemon that sells for $119.75, and a Signature Massage from Red Door Spa, which costs $163.25. Items on the site sell of as high as $300. Most items, though, are lower cost and more casual, and that is the bulk of the gifts that are sent.
While Ross sees it as a natural progression the more expensive items to eventually become more popular, he admits that it will take time to work toward that, as people have to become more comfortable with the process.
In addition, Ross says that the site is item centric, and not dominated by the dollar. When testing out the site, Ross said found that what people cared about was that someone had gone through the trouble of selecting a gift for them, and did not really care how much the gift was worth.
What Treater is meant to do, is “expand the circle of giving out,” says Ross. “We have built our whole brand around generosity and thoughtfulness.”
Treats are spontaneous and instant gifts, in contrast to Facebook’s recent revival of its Gifts service, where items must be sent through the mail. Treats can be used within seconds of being sent.
Arlington, Virginia-based Treater was founded in 2011. It came out of stealth mode in August, and announced its desktop version, as well as the news that it had raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from a mix of funds and angel investors.
Since coming out of stealth mode less than two months ago, the site has seen thousands of new users, and is growing weekly.
The site makes money through a revenue sharing program with merchants, where each take a percentage of every transaction. The percentage taken out varies by the type of retailer. Treater also works with brands to help them engage with users through campaigns such as contests and promotions.
(Image source: https://treater.com/trailer)