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Facebook Gifts – Presents New E-Commerce Opportunity for Brands

Facebook has rolled out another value add for brands. Facebook Gifts, which have been available through chain invites since September, are now available to all users and open for brands to submit products as consideration for Facebook Gifts.

Remember Facebook’s Virtual Gifts of yore? When you could send your Facebook friends a “beer”, “rose” or “birthday cake?” Facebook closed its virtual gift shop in August 2011, and has replaced it with the ability to send Facebook friends real beer, roses and birthday cakes (or at least cupcakes). All from the status box on their friend’s timeline.

So what is the benefit of this for brands? Your brand’s products can be offered via Facebook Gifts, which offers a seamless e-commerce experience and new platform for driving sales. Now, when a user sees a friend announce they are expecting a baby that user can quickly send an appropriate gift without having to leave the confines of Facebook for, say Amazon and perhaps get distracted along the way to purchasing your brand’s product.

Facebook has also done a great job of removing the shipping address barrier of sending gifts to people you are friends with on Facebook, but are not close friends with in real life. The sender doesn’t have to enter any shipping information. The gift recipient is notified via Facebook private message that they have a gift waiting and they are prompted to accept the gift, at which point they enter in their own shipping information. This lowers the barrier to purchase for the gift giver and also encourages surprise, and impulse gifting (it’s a little hard to surprise someone with a gift when you have to text them and request their shipping address).

The social media/word of mouth marketing aspect of Facebook Gifts is also alluring to brands. Every time a user sends a gift, a tantalizingly wrapped gift image appears on the recipient’s timeline by default, encouraging them to unwrap it and reveal what is inside. Senders can opt out of the share. Below is an example of the image a recipient sees on their timeline:

At this time, the gift selection is somewhat limited. Potential senders first land in the “Recommended Gifts” section, which is mostly gifts of food, but also include Starbucks and iTunes virtual gift cards. The user then has the option to navigate into the following gift categories:

  • Food & Drink
  • Wine
  • Fun
  • Home & Kitchen
  • Fashion & Body
  • Flowers
  • Baby & Kids
  • Gifts that Give Back
  • Pets

According to Facebook, there are multiple safeguards in place to ensure that alcoholic beverages are not purchased by or sent to underage users, including carding recipients at their physical door during delivery and barring users with a stated age below 21 from even seeing alcoholic beverages as Facebook Gift options. This could be a great sales platform for those brands in the wine and spirits category.

At this time, the gift selection is somewhat limited. For instance there are only 10 gifts available in the pets category. So, Facebook is going to have to expand their selection to appeal to more buyers. Which is great news for brands who are interested in coming aboard.

So, what brands are taking part in the initial roll out of Facebook Gifts?

  • Apple
  • Baby Gap
  • Harry & David
  • Fab
  • Brookstone
  • Gund
  • Sesame Street
  • Warby Parker
  • And more…

Want to get your brand’s products on board with Facebook Gifts? Just fill out this form to submit your products for consideration.