Facebook Lets Users buy Gifts

Facebook just launched an interesting new option to users, especially in anticipation of the holidays. Users can now purchase gifts for one another directly through Facebook.

To do so, a user simply visits their friend’s profile on Facebook. Right above their timeline, the user chooses “Gift”.

Facebook gifts Bryan Nagy

A new window is displayed. Users are given the option to sort through various gift categories to find the gift perfect for their friend. There are many different categories, including home & kitchen, fun, and fashion & beauty. Some of the Facebook gifts are unique (like the home brewing kit below) or standard (a bon appetit subscription). Clicking on the gift gives them additional information about the product.

Facebook gifts Bryan Nagy 2

Once the Facebook gift is selected, the user clicks “next” and gets to select a message (like a card) to add to the gift. These are separated by category as well, such as birthday, love, and congratulations. It’s interesting to note that at this time there is not a holiday category.

Facebook gifts Bryan Nagy 3

Upon selecting the message, the user completes the order. Once the order for the Facebook gift is complete, the receiving friend is notified of the gift. The friend then enters their shipping information, and can even update the size, style, and color of the sent gift. Once this step is complete, the gift is sent.

The new functionality helps expand Facebook’s capabilities further. It hopefully regenerates talks of the social networking site becoming a ground for e-commerce. In previous years, a few  brands tested out the Facebook UI to sell their products, but results were disappointing and the tests were cancelled. It will be interesting to see how this performs and if users actually start embracing the functionality.

What does this offer mean for businesses?

Number one, businesses can possibly sell their products on Facebook. To become a part of Facebook gifts, businesses just need to fill out a Facebook Merchandise Interest form here. For those businesses who are approved, the approval means a new outlet to merchandise their products.

Number two, it signals Facebook is continuing to explore e-commerce options. It could mean more aggressive offers in the future, and possibly even acquisitions (such as Etsy).

I think the new gift option at Facebook proves the company is looking to expand, and given this, other sites (especially Pinterest) need to get their offerings up to date. Pinterest is losing out on countless revenue opportunities by neglecting to see they could easily become an e-commerce driven site, and would likely succeed much more than Facebook.

– Bryan Nagy