On Thursday, the social ecosystem received a very big present in Facebook Gifts. The social platform’s gift-giving service, launching in partnership with 100 retailers, makes it simple for users to give gifts to other users through their profiles. The newest Facebook capability also represents its broadest e-commerce initiative to date.
From Like & Share to Give & Receive
Facebook users can buy a gift and give it privately or in public. The recipient can customize his gift, depending on the item everything from color, size or flavor. Recipients can even exchange it for something else of equal value. Facebook Gifts will be available through Facebook and an Android app to a small amount of Facebook users in the U.S. Don’t worry Apple users, an iPhone app is expected to come within weeks.
Lightweight User Actions
The secret weapon in Facebook Gifts is how easy it will be to give gifts to users. According to All Things D, “Now, along with Notes and Photos, users can posts Gifts directly to their friends’ Timelines with the addition of a ‘Gift’ button, squarely placed inside of the text box on each profile.”
The initiative also works well with the Life Event option on your timeline. Say “happy birthday” with a Starbucks gift card or “good luck at the new job” from 1-800-Flowers. Much like the iPhone app slogan, if you have a life event there is a “gift for that.”
This opportunity is sure to increase Facebook revenues and opportunities for marketers. And the news comes as no surprise, since Facebook acquired Karma the same day it went public. Karma is the app that connects with Facebook to show users important dates and even suggest gift ideas based on user data.
Is Facebook the Next AOL?
In the early days of the Internet, AOL was considered the Internet for many consumers. Facebook is clearly trying to become a similar one-stop destination for consumers. They can connect with friends, share photos, consume news and now buy things for offline consumption — regardless of what screen they’re using to access the social network.
Facebook’s e-commerce capabilities open up opportunities for marketers. And with these opportunities comes yet another stream of data that can benefit Facebook’s advertising offering. Marketers are sure to get the gift of better paid media options thanks in part to Facebook Gifts. Now if only Facebook could also charge my phone and pick up my dry cleaning. My fingers are crossed!