You’ve always been able to shop on Facebook with select merchants. However, Facebook wants to make that even easier and recently rolled out another new feature called Facebook Gifts. With Facebook Gifts, you can now buy, give, and ship a real gift to anyone on Facebook. Forget about those virtual cupcakes for someone’s birthday, or virtual get-well wishes. Now you can buy and ship a person flowers or a book. This has huge potential for writers, product merchants, service merchants, and nonprofits if Facebook rolls it out correctly.
From the looks of it, Facebook will be rolling this new feature out with select merchants. However, if you want to get your product listed, you should contact Facebook directly.
How it will work from the consumer side?
Consumers will see a “Gift” icon through the Birthday Reminder feature or in the status update on your friend’s Timeline. Just click it and you’ll be presented with gifts. You can choose to share it with friends or make the gift private. You can also choose to pay now or pay when the recipient accepts your gift. At any given time, you can click on your account settings and review your gifts.
They haven’t fully rolled out to everyone yet, so don’t despair that you don’t see it on your friend’s Timeline yet. However, expect it to be out in time for holiday shopping!
Note: you cannot use Facebook credits to pay for any gift.
Note: Facebook will not accept returns, only exchanges within 30 days.
You can cancel a gift after sending and after paying, but you’ll need to allow 7-9 days for a refund.
How it will work from the business side?
As mentioned above, Facebook will start out with some select merchants and if you want to sell your item, you can contact them via the form above. From the looks of it they’re willing to offer food, beverages, wine, apparel, accessories, beauty items, home & design items, digital subscriptions, gift certificates, baby, children, and pet products. But don’t get discouraged, if you have something else that doesn’t fit into one of those categories, you can still submit it under “Other”.
Keep in mind you’ll need to provide photos of your product and have a way to fulfill your orders. Fulfillment will be delayed by the very nature that the recipient needs to first accept the gift, and even if they accept, they can swap the the gift for a different size, color, or style or simply for a similarly priced gift (although the recipient will not see the price of the gift, just shown similar options).
If the recipient doesn’t accept the gift and enter a shipping address within 2 weeks of being notified, the order will automatically cancel and Facebook will refund any payments made.
Having worked in the software industry and being an expert in inventory movement, I’m a little skeptical of this process and see this being somewhat troublesome for consumers as well as merchants. But, we’ll have to wait and see.
One last thing…contacting Facebook
For all of you who have had trouble contacting Facebook in the past for things, it seems that you’ll be able to fill out several different online forms via Facebook’s Gift Payments and Troubleshooting section and contact Facebook regarding problems or issues with sending or receiving Facebook gifts; as well as exchange a damaged item or an item that doesn’t fit, within 30 days. I imagine Facebook will have to beef up their email support team to gear up for the holidays.
Do you think Facebook Gifts will be successful? Would you use it to promote and sell your item? Would you use it to buy a gift for someone?