Popfor

Are you a serial flake—constantly setting up dates and meetings you inevitably skip—but then you feel really guilty? Good news! Now you can hit a little icon on your phone and send those sad lonely creatures an apology and a latte while finishing up that video game and bottle of bourbon in your underpants. Boom, now you’re a great guy.

I asked Michael Manning, creator of the PopFor app, to give me the whole rundown.

(Michael) The idea of gifting via app has been touched on in one way or another in the past, mostly related to buying alcohol (the first one I’m aware of was an app in the UK that let you buy a beer for someone). I saw the opportunity as being much larger and something that local merchants could really benefit from, and the next logical step in social app development. People see online buying as taking over, and while it’s grown substantially (and continues growing) it still hasn’t replaced how people shop: locally. That’s especially true for food establishments, which until now haven’t really been able to participate in online sales.

(Synthesis) I suppose one could—theoretically—also give gifts for non douche-guilt. A nice person could just be feeling all the feels and decide to buy a friend one of those reusable coffee cup sleeves. 

(Michael) It allows people to express their generosity, to say “thanks,” “congratulations,” “my bad.” And it allows them to do so via their local businesses, which benefits their community. Along with the obvious connection between friends, parents can “pop for” their children (from middle school to college) and know their money is being used as intended, HR can reward their employees, users can favorite different items from local businesses and create a bridal registry, etc. We’re confident shoppers and merchants will come up with ways to use PopFor we haven’t even thought of yet!

(Synthesis) I imagine one of those uses could be becoming a super classy stalker, the kind who keeps a respectful distance while buying things for you to eat, and then peers at you from behind a fern while you eat it going “hmmmmyyyeeeeeees, my gift is inside you.”

(Michael) The app was developed here in downtown Chico. It’s designed to work with browsers, tablets and smart phones (downloads from Google Play and the Apple App Store will be available soon). We’re in beta right now, but anyone can sign up. Users can send to any recipient with an email address (we’ll be adding SMS and Twitter as options also). You can also pin your favorites to Pinterest or share on Facebook so your friends know what to get you.

Merchants also get a dedicated page that can really help promote discovery of their business and what they have to offer, with the added benefit of visitors being able to purchase right from the web page.

We’re piloting Popfor in Chico right now, and plan to expand to other cities very soon (and when we do, users can pop for friends and family even when they’ve moved away).

(Synthesis) All in all a very cool and useful app that can not only make you look super suave and generous, it can help the local economy. If you’d like to try it out right now, go to popfor.com. One of those local participating businesses is the Naked Lounge, and they have a super heady pumpkin latte made with real pumpkin goo.

Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.