“I know I can wish Happy Birthday to my friend on Facebook, and I can even send virtual greeting cards and cat photos but how can I send a gift — a real gift — to my friend?”
Facebook is entering the real world. We saw Facebook life events where anyone can donate organs, now it’s time for Facebook to eliminate virtual gifts — and send real gifts to people.
A new feature called ‘Gifts’ which was launched and killed in 2010 is back again, promising to stay much longer this time. Using this new feature, people can send real presents to their friends on Facebook.
How Facebook Gifts work
Users who want to send a gift to their friends can do it directly through Facebook. As the whole process is carried out within Facebook, there’s no need to go through any sign up process. You have to click on the “gifts” icon visible on your friend’s profile, select the gift, pay for it and Facebook will deliver the gift to your friend’s house.
Your friend will receive a notification and the gift will be posted on their timeline. This friend of yours must enter the shipping address to get the gift delivered to his/her doorstep.
Facebook will roll out this feature only in the US — it is already out in selected cities and will expand in the coming weeks.
Sending Starbucks gift cards, teddy bears, chocolates or even ice creams is possible through Facebook Gifts. What’s more is that the gift receiver can customize the gift — change the size, flavor or packing before finalizing the shipping address. The gift will appear on the recipient’s timeline where everyone can see what was gifted and who gifted it.
Over 100 retailers have joined hands with Facebook to ship products, which means Facebook will not be shipping these products — they will, of course, get a commission for each sale. And how much money can Facebook make out this e-commerce scheme? As noted by Venturebeat, Facebook can easily generate a profit of about $250 million:
If 50 million Facebook users (that’s one-third of U.S. Facebook users) each buy a $20 gift for a family member or friend five times a year, that adds up to $5 billion in gift purchases. Five percent of $5 billion is $250 million. So hypothetically and rather conservatively, Facebook could be getting an extra quarter of a billion dollars in revenue each year with Gifts.
Facebook has also integrated “give him/her a gift” link below your friend’s birthday to make it easier to wish and send presents. In short, this feature will be all over your Facebook timeline in the coming months ahead.
Gifts can also be sent to your friends using the Facebook mobile app. For now, Android smartphone users in the US can use this new feature while iPhone and WP7 users have to wait a little bit longer.