Heads up, DropGifts is taking social gifting to South Africa

DropGifts, the service that lets you send free and paid gift cards to your friends on Facebook, will be launching in South Africa by the end of Q1 2012.

Backed by Rocket Internet — the German web incubator run by the Samwer brothers — DropGifts is expanding its rollout strategy into emerging markets following good traction in the UK, France and Germany.

Rocket is famous for its clone sites and DropGifts is no different. It follows the same recipe as the Swedish Wrapp.

How does it work? DropGifts connects to your Facebook account and pulls in your friend list. Although it groups your friends by birthdays, you can send a gift card for any occasion. Simply choose a friend, choose a gift card — free or paid — write a message and send it. Gift cards are physical cards with barcodes scanned in PDF format, or redeemable online codes.

Once a gift card is sent, friends of the beneficiary are notified and can join in increasing the value of the card. Users of DropGifts can choose gift cards from participating retailers and there are always a certain number of the gift cards that are free. The free cards are usually about US$8, so they’re more than just glorified discount vouchers. Participating South African retailers are rumoured to include Wantitall, Zando and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Kevin Tucker is the MD of DropGifts South Africa. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Tucker founded PriceCheck, the popular shopping comparison site, in 2006. Following PriceCheck’s acquisition by MIH Internet Africa in 2010, Tucker experimented with a Groupon clone, the short-lived daily deal site, Dealify.

For businesses, social gifting has the same type of allure as daily deal sites. Provide a discount online and benefit from walk-in traffic. According to the DropGift, recipients of gift cards spend upwards of 3 times the gift card value in-store or online.

Tucker is looking forward to launching the concept on African soil. “We’re very excited about launching in South Africa. Most international companies don’t see the benefit of launching here, but with the relatively high number of Facebook users, South Africa is, in fact, a perfect market to launch DropGifts.”

He added that the gift card market is already a US$100-billion market in the US alone, and that he’s sees the market growing in South Africa. “We’re seeing all kinds of gifts cards on sale, and now we’re bringing that to Facebook and smartphones (with our DropGifts app),” he added.

Something DropGift highlights and that I find compelling is that DropGift makes it easy for South Africans living overseas to send rand- value gifts back home.

Will social gifting be bigger than daily deals sites?



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