Here’s how it works:
Click on the “gifts” icon in a friend’s birthday announcement or visit their timeline and look for it there, and you can send a gift to your friend. He or she will be notified immediately and can choose an address where the gift should be shipped.
Okay, so you knew that. But did you know that Amazon and Cafepress have followed suit? The funny thing is that both rely on Facebook (at least in part) to supply a list of friends.
According to Internet Retailer, Amazon’s new feature, called Friends & Family Gifting, allows users to organize their gift lists, find gift ideas and receive reminders of their friends’ birthdays and special occasions, as well as share gift lists via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or e-mail.
Late last month, online retailer Cafepress launched its own gifting program, Likeable Gifts, that uses the same protocol. Read more
When Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843, he was driven as much by financial desperation as inspiration. Dickens wrote and published the classic tale to pay off crippling debt, says a WIFE.org article. But, thanks to a few ghosts from his past, even Scrooge changed his miserly behavior and experienced the joy of Christmas gift giving.
A new holiday trends shopping report from Yesmail Interactive says that, due to the sluggish economy, many shoppers may act similarly Scrooge-like. According to an eBay/Edgell Network report, retailers are looking at a 5% decline in Thanksgiving sales due to showrooming; the use of stores as showrooms to research, view, touch or try, but then buy elsewhere wherever the best value can be found.
In addition, according to the Yesmail research, there will be a lot of procrastinators (51 percent) making their holiday purchases during November and the first two weeks of December. However, a full 24 percent will wait until December to start their shopping.
The bright side to this Scrooge-like Christmas – 7 out of 10 surveyed consumers plan to spend the same or more than they did in 2011, thus continuing the trend from last year when overall holiday sales increased by 4.1 percent. Read more
Users can choose a gift as well as a card to send to friends on Facebook. The gift will post on the friend’s timeline or can be sent privately. Members that are sent gifts can unwrap them virtually before receiving the real gift at their address.
Gifts can be sent from birthday reminders or from a friend’s timeline.
Facebook also gives the option of paying right away or later as well as letting gift receivers exchange for something else.
The social network has since added hundreds of gifts and new retail partners including babyGap, Fab, Brookstone, Dean & Deluca, L’Occitane, Lindt, ProFlowers, Random House, Inc. and NARS Cosmetics.
Users also have the option to gift TV shows and music with subscriptions to Hulu Plus, Rdio and Pandora.
The gift service will continue to roll out to Facebook members globally over the next few weeks.
While Facebook has made several attempts in convincing brands to accept the “F-Commerce,” idea, the newest gift service could actually prove successful for the company.
“The prospect of a full scale rollout of Facebook Gifts could be a real shot in the arm for Facebook and its drive to convince brands to commit to the concept of F-commerce,” said Richard Britton, managing director at Cloudsense.
“Even before its IPO Facebook was working to make the site more palatable for retailers and brands as a potential sales channel. Retailers are keen to use Facebook to tap into its massive market of one billion users to drive sales and develop another revenue stream, they just need convincing. It remains a catch 22 situation: brands need to get involved for the system to take off yet many won’t commit to the platform until they see success stories from other brands. If Facebook can demonstrate that ‘Gifts’ does indeed appeal to consumers, then Facebook, its shareholders, consumers and brands will ultimately win.”
If the social network’s gift platform can win over brands then it could prove to be a lucrative way of bringing in money for the firm while proving to investors it can make money in other ways than only advertising.
“Brands will need to adapt to the innovation by removing silos between business systems to deliver a more granular view of the customer that can be the basis for a long term relationship. Brands are still to be 100 per cent convinced about the overall success of F-commerce, but the introduction of new and usable tools like Facebook Gifts could go a long way to towards tipping the balance.”
This post originally appeared on ‘Computer Business Review‘
A new report from Forrester Research found that less than 1% of transactions for new and repeat customers in a recent study could be traced back to social links. The report, The Purchase Path Of Online Buyers In 2012, examined the data for 77,000 consumer orders made between April 1 and April 14, 2012.
The study’s author, Forrester Research VP and principal analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, told Internet Retailer, “We’ve known for awhile that Facebook hasn’t been a direct sales channel for most companies and it never will be.”
The Forrester report looked at transactions conducted on large retail sites serviced by GSI Commerce. Meanwhile, online marketplaces also report difficulty driving traffic – never mind sales – from social sites. EcommerceBytes collected data from five online marketplaces that received a total of 100+ million visitors during the past year and found that the top three social networking traffic-drivers – Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter – accounted for just 1.1% of the total 100 million visitors to these marketplaces. Read more