Saturday 29 September 2012

Facebook starts gifting service

When Facebook bought Karma, a gift giving start-up in May, this year, the social networking giant’s plans to get into the space of gift giving, became a little more clear. Facebook is now beginning its first steps in that direction by rolling out ‘Gifts’. This new service means that now users can send real-life gifts to their friends by picking one from what is available, be it good ol’ chocolates, socks, coffee or any of the other goodies. The way this works is that; if it is your friend’s birthday tomorrow, you’ll spot a “give her a gift” link, and will be able to see a gift icon with the name of the friend and photo. Once you click on the icon, you will be able to spot the gifts that you could present to your friends for their special day - be it a Starbucks gift card, cupcakes or a ‘you can never wrong with’ teddy bear. .

The recipient of the gift will then receive a notification on Facebook, asking them to enter the shipping address for the designated gift. Interestingly here, in a few instances, the recipients of the gifts will be able to pick and choose the flavour and size of the cupcakes or a different style of socks. Users, if they wish to can also exchange the original gifts with something else of their choice.

The icon will show up on the right side of a user’s page, where he has notifications for friends' birthdays, weddings and other life events showing up.

Users have the option of paying for their gifts using either,  Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover branded credit or debit card. Once a user makes the payment, he will be sent a receipt within 24 hours and his payment info will be saved for future purchases.

So apart from the social networking i.e. staying in touch with old pals, making new friends, connecting with them more frequently, Facebook's making it more 'physical'. Gifts are after all worth a thousand words.

Clearly, Facebook is trying its hands at an entirely new domain and this comes after its Karma buyout. Karma aimed to make gift giving a little more convenient. The service had a 'storefront' on their app through which users could select the gift that they would like to give to a friend. They tied up with vendors, like Spotify, Gund and MOMA for its selection of gifts, adding variety to its offering.

At the time of its acquisition, a post on Karma’s blog read, "We’re thrilled to announce that Karma has been acquired by Facebook. The service that Karma provides will continue to operate in full force. By combining the incredible passion of our community with Facebook’s platform we can delight users in new and meaningful ways."

Facebook Gifts is currently available to a subset of the service’s U.S.-based customers only, and will be gradually rolled out to others as the idea of real-life gifting on Facebook takes off. In addition to being able to click on the “Gifts” icon on the pages of their Facebook’s friends, users will also be able to do so on their Android phones. That being said, iPhone and iPad versions are to follow.

News Sources

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