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Facebook launches gift-giving service for online and mobile users
Many believe that e-commerce on social networks is a non-starter, but Facebook appears to have faith that it could gain traction as it launches a new gift-giving service.
Users of Facebook are already given prompts to wish friends a 'Happy Birthday', congratulate them on an event, such as a birth, or celebrate an anniversary. Users in the U.S. will now also be given the option to buy a gift.
Facebook Gifts works online and on mobile, although currently only on Android.
Links to the service are included in notifications of friends' celebrations. Users can choose from a variety of gifts offered by 100 retail partners including major players such as Starbucks and 1-800-Flowers.
The option also exists for recipients to choose specifics such as color of clothing, flavor of sweets, or even to exchange a gift, before it is dispatched.
No delivery address is entered by the user. Instead, the recipient, who is notified instantly of the gift, provides such details. This is a great security check from Facebook, and a blow for stalkers, as some gifts may be sent to friends whose address is not known to the user.
Recipients may 'virtually unwrap' the gift on Facebook before it is delivered to their door.
Facebook's revenue will come from taking a cut of the sales, although no details have been released by the social network as to how much that cut will be.
And, of course, once Facebook has a user's credit card information it is kept on file, making subsequent gift-giving quick and easy.
This will be an interesting initiative for retailers to keep an eye on, particularly as the service works well on mobile devices.
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