How does Facebook say “Happy Valentine’s Day”? By saying “Show me the money baby!” At the top of my news feed this morning, I was encouraged to share the love and send one of my eligible friends (more about that later) a Facebook gift card. It’s smart, personalized selling and one-stop shopping at an interface where users check in multiple times a day. And the offer gets top billing — right above the “How are you feeling, Rainbow”? which is really asking “Do you feel like being generous today, Rainbow?”
Will users bite? Will I? I chose to dig around a bit more and see how this actually works. Another click led to the screen below providing 3 Easy Steps to make a friend happy: Choose a gift. Your friend is notified instantly. The gift arrives! Um really, how does it arrive? Magically through their computer screen?
I kept clicking to see what I could actually send, and saw these partners — Olive Garden (not for Manhattanites, only tourists), Starbucks (a given), iTunes, Sephora and a slew of other personalized gifts. The pug t-shirt from Fab was my favorite. So what next?
Next choose friend. This is where it gets interesting. Some friends are hyperlinked in blue and some are greyed out. And international friends, sorry, you don’t make the cut — no shipping outside of the US. If it’s a virtual gift, why is my Brazilian friend cut from the mix?
Because a PHYSICAL Facebook gift card will arrive in the mail. The mail? This is the social media world we’re living in, I’m lucky I remember my parent’s address. So this is where I see a roadblock. I’m not the Christmas card sending type, I honestly do not know one of my friend’s physical addresses. Maybe the street, but definitely not the zip code. Challenge! Aha, on further review, I read, “Miss X will be instantly notified of her gift. It will be delivered after she provides her address.” Problem solved.
What I like:
- It’s different. I like to surprise people and this would definitely register in that surprise category.
- Purchases made using the card won’t appear on your News Feed. Thank God! Your social network does not need to know you purchased anti-wrinkle cream and anti-frizz serum at Sephora.
- It saves time with one-stop shopping, I don’t have to log on to another web site to buy.
What I question:
- Your “gifting” is posted on your friend’s news feed, which is a little obnoxious. Like, “Hey look at me, I’m so awesome, I actually sent Jamie a present for her birthday, instead of just posting ‘Happy Birthday Chica’ on her timeline.”
- The vitality of this Facebook card — will retailers recognize this new form of payment or will there be confusion when a user goes to redeem? How effectively are they communicating this promotion to their on-site staff?
- What if I lose my Facebook card? Why is it physical? Why couldn’t it be tied into the Facebook App where a user could just flash their phone for the retailer? The whole physical part seems out of sync with a digital powerhouse like Facebook.
- Will Facebook users will be turned off to yet another advertising ploy from Facebook that comes in disguise as e-commerce on their news feed? There will undoubtedly be some backlash from the purist of users.
I will watch and wait. I’m not into the gifting cards, but I think a Gifting App tied into Facebook has a future.