Facebook Commits to Gift Cards, Facebook Card (Aug. 27, 2013)
Aug. 27, 2013
After several months of experimentation, Facebook has made the decision to focus on gift cards and eliminate the gift service in which it sold and shipped physical gifts to recipients. Since launching its Gifts service in September 2012, 80 percent of the gifts users chose to send to other Facebook users were gift cards, a Facebook spokesperson tells Paybefore. Facebook is rolling out a new design for Facebook Gifts that will emphasize digital code-based gift cards and its Facebook Card, she says. The reloadable plastic Facebook Card program runs on the Discover Network. Facebook began selling physical gifts following its May 2012 acquisition of gift-giving site Karma.
The changes are all part of Facebook’s efforts to experiment with various commerce offerings while moving cautiously within the minefields of consumer concern about privacy and security, analysts say. (Facebook last year ended its Facebook Credits virtual currency launched in 2010.) In the next few weeks the social media giant will unveil its first mobile payments test, enabling users who have stored credit card information with Facebook to make purchases directly from e-commerce mobile apps using Facebook login credentials. Columbus, Ohio-based menswear shop Jack Threads is one participating retailer.
Facebook in recent months has enlisted substantially more merchants to participate in the Facebook Card. First-time Facebook Card recipients must provide their address to have the card mailed to them, and thereafter senders may reload funds designated for specific merchants, including Target Corp., Olive Garden, Sephora, Jamba Juice, Outback Steakhouse, Burger King, Home Depot, Pier 1, Ikea, Staples and GameStop, among others.
The list of merchants supporting Facebook’s digital gift cards also is growing. Recipients receive an e-mail with a gift code they may redeem online, at the point of sale or over the phone from merchants, including Starbucks, iTunes, Fandango and Morton’s Steakhouse. Facebook also prominently displays a “Let Them Choose” option where the sender can select any amount and the recipient may choose which participating merchant she prefers.