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Facebook recruits retail partners for big Gifts holiday push

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Facebook (s fb) unveiled a slew of new big-name partners Thursday for its Gifts service, as part of a major expansion of Gifts to millions of users in the US. The new partners, introduced at a New York event, include Brookstone, Baby Gap (s gps), Dean & Deluca, Fab, L’Occitane and Lindt chocolate.

Facebook users can also send subscriptions to digital services like Pandora (s p), Rdio, Hulu Plus and make charitable donations to non-profits. And they’ll be able to send wine from Robert Mondavi Winery and Chandon in the coming weeks.

Facebook launched Gifts in September with 100 retail partners including Starbucks (s sbux) to a small subset of users, building off its acquisition earlier in the year of gifting service Karma. The service is now available to about 20 percent of Facebook users in the U.S. and will gradually roll out to all users.

The Gift feature allows users to buy real-world gifts for their friends. Facebook prompts users to consider buying a gift when their friend’s birthday or a big event comes up. Earlier this month, Facebook allowed mobile users to send gifts. 

Facebook GiftsThe new partners should make Gifts even more attractive. Right now, when you try to pick out a gift, Facebook recommends a bunch of stuff  and also gives you categories like food & drink, babies & kids and home & kitchen to choose from. But a lot of the gifts are products from smaller makers and brands. Getting some bigger brands and more familiar products in the mix might make it easier to get people to pull the trigger on a gift.

For the retail partners, the integration with Gifts gives them a chance to market themselves and pick up new customers. Fab CEO Jason Goldberg told me he’s not interested in the revenue from the partnership. He said he’s looking forward to the ability to spread awareness of Fab. The company plans on giving recipients a $5 gift card to buy their own Fab products.

Gifts represents a big commerce opportunity for Facebook. Since it knows a lot about what’s happening within your social network, it can push users to make targeted purchases throughout the year. Also, getting people to buy even one product allows Facebook to get a credit card on file, which could turn out to be important if Facebook builds out its own payment system.

3 Responses to “Facebook recruits retail partners for big Gifts holiday push”

  1. FlashPurchase

    Social commerce is always great as long as it offers convenience and value to users. With that in mind, we are poised to launch Flash Purchase to enable consumers to create their own deals, join others and share them leading to group purchasing volume and sellers bidding on the business to get large groups of consumers in a single transaction. Sellers can also create their own deals that vary pricing depending upon participation level. We call this win-win commerce.

  2. Facebook Gifts is exactly why we’re not worried about where the company is going. We explained why “Facebook will do just fine” here:

    Facebook has math on their side…and that matters more than science. With 900 million profiles, they don’t have to all be authentic for the math to kick in and Facebook to monetize in so many possible ways. Gifts is a start but there will be more to follow.

  3. Fred Roosevelt

    I think discovery is going to be the future of social

    There is a facebook recommendation engine app that is better called recomendo.

    because instead of gift for others it helps you discover things that YOU like.
    In addition you can designate friends as tastemakers in specific categories and that influences what is recommended to you.