Sincerely, the startup behind a range of photo-printing and greeting card mobile apps, including Postagram, PopBooth, Sincerely Ink and Dotti, is today rolling out a major update to its Postagram product which will introduce post office tracking for its cards as well as scannable QR codes – which the company is cleverly not planning to refer to as “QR codes” (too geeky) in its communications with customers.
More importantly, Postagram is the first of the company’s apps to gain access to “Sincerely Magic,” a new feature that will help build a connected database of the apps’ users across all Sincerely products. The feature will allow users to send cards via snail mail to anyone, even if they only know their email address.
I’m sure we’ve all been the recipient of those emails where a friend or family member asks, “hey, can I get everyone’s mailing address?” Addresses used to be something we remembered, or at least had jotted down in a book somewhere, but in the post-email/Facebook era, they’re an afterthought. You tend to only realize you need a address on the rare occasion you have formal invites to send out, printed photos to share, or something else – like a gift – that needs to be sent via the mail.
There have been a lot of attempts at building an email and/or mobile photo-to-postal mail solution, including SnailMailMyEmail, Postful, Hipster, Red Stamp, and new entry (and more direct competitor to Postagram) Postcardly, to name a few. But many of these have failed to overcome the biggest hurdle in using snail mail – getting people’s addresses.
That’s why what Sincerely is doing is so clever. It automatically searches your phone’s address book (with your permission, of course), to load up Postagram with a list of all the other Sincerely users you’re connected to, filling out your Sincerely address book. For now, the app matches contacts based on email address, but, in the future, being Facebook friends will be all that it takes. The addresses will be marked with a red “S” to separate them from those you added manually.
Postagram (for iPhone) is the first of the company’s apps to get the “Magic” feature, which will roll out to all the company’s products and supported platforms in the coming weeks.
While Sincerely Magic is the biggest news in terms of the startup’s future vision, the Postagram app has also received some other notable features in today’s update. The postcards will now ship with a scannable QR code, which the company will tell customers is “just a stamp.” Scanning the stamp gives the recipient a digital copy of the photo on the card, adds the sender’s address to the recipient’s Sincerely address book, and it alerts the sender the card has been viewed.
Both parties get one free credit towards their next Sincerely purchase, too, after the scan.
Finally, Postagram has added post office tracking, similar to Apple’s Cards app. Senders are alerted as to when their card reaches the first post office center, and when it gets to the recipient’s post office.
Although Apple’s Cards app also provides notifications (via push), Sincerely’s CEO Matt Brezina says that he’s not worried about competing in the same space as Apple. Not only was Sincerely launched first, its Cards competitor Sincerely Ink offers a better selection with better designs. (That’s actually true). As a startup, they’re also able to move more quickly, he says, introducing new features and designs faster than a large company like Apple can. If anything, Brezina says that the launch of Cards was some of the best marketing for Sincerely that they could have gotten.
Printed out photos and cards sent via mobile is just the beginning for this startup. Brezina tells us he sees what they’re building as a “gifting” company, which leaves room to move into other types of gift options via mobile in the near future. While he wasn’t ready to discuss details, some obvious gift options could be flowers or gift cards, perhaps.
Sincerely is backed by $3 million in funding from Spark, First Round, Charles River, and SV Angel.
The updated Postagram app for iOS and Android is rolling out today. (Note that “Magic” is iPhone-only for now).