Facebook’s ventures into the real world continue. This time, it’s actually a pretty darn nifty idea.
Users can order gift cards that are mailed to the recipient. These cards can be used at multiple retailers – Target, Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, or Sephora. The balances are separated, so if they receive a card from one person for $100 at Target, the same card could also be used to give them $50 at Jamba Juice.
They’ve offered gifts for a while, though I haven’t heard how effective they’ve been. This should help to improve the effectiveness thanks to the tangible presence of a card. It’s refillable and only one is sent, so if multiple people give gifts, the totals are all added to the same card.
A few things need to happen for this neat innovation to take off:
- More retailers have to get on board. They offer digital gifts to various places like Starbucks – these should also be allowed on the gift cards.
- They MUST promote this. Facebook is notorious for understatement of the cool things and overstatement of the minor things (Graph Search was a big deal?).
- Gifting needs to be easier. Right now, it’s hard to figure out how to send someone a gift if it isn’t their birthday. There should be a “Send a Gift” button on every profile page.
- Businesses should be able to send gifts to their fans. This could be huge and I’m a little surprised they didn’t make that a possibility from the start.
If they can do those things, this might be their first entry into the physical world that actually turns up some revenue. If not, it will fade away into the realm of forgotten promising projects that didn’t get enough attention.