Facebook Innovates the Gift-Giving Process

Post by @julieyeats

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and while some couples will be celebrating in person with flowers and chocolate, others must settle on showing their affection from afar. Luckily, Facebook has streamlined this process with their new Gifting functionality. But it doesn’t just have to be for Valentine’s Day – birthdays are a great excuse to send gifts as well.

There are a few ways to give gifts. A quick and easy way to give, especially if you are forgetful, is to check the birthday reminder in your newsfeed. It lists your Facebook friend’s birthdays and with the click of a button, you can send the suggested Starbucks gift card (Facebook shows you if your friend has actually ‘liked’ the Starbucks page), or simply click through to choose another gift.  Digital gifts, such as gift cards, are emailed within 24 hours to the recipient with redemption instructions and can include a personal note.

The other gifting option is to visit your friend’s timeline and select the “Gift” button. From there, you can browse by category to find the perfect gift. If your friend has ‘liked’ various brand pages, Facebook will suggest gifts for them in the ‘recommend’ tab. There are hundreds of items to choose from, ranging from five-pound gummy bears to baby blankets.

After selecting the perfect gift and entering your payment information (which can be deleted after the payment is processed if you do not want your information stored on Facebook), you can choose to make your gift public or private by selecting the “Share Gift” checkbox. If you are buying something you’d rather keep between you and your friend, they will receive a private notification and the gift will not be posted to their timeline. As the gift-giver, your part is done. Once your friend is notified of their gift, they must preview it, accept it, and enter their shipping information.

You will be notified when your friend has accepted the gift. During the preview process, your friend can select their size or favorite color, depending on what the gift is. And if they aren’t as excited about that banana-shaped USB drive as you thought they’d be, they have the option to swap the gift altogether. As the gift-giver, you will never know (virtually, that is) if your original gift was exchanged. The original gift will remain on your friend’s timeline regardless. It’ll take some real-life snooping to figure out if the Hello Kitty travel pillow you gifted was a keeper or not. After the gift has been shipped, no returns are allowed, and exchanges are only accepted if the item arrives damaged. Gifts that have not been accepted within two weeks will be canceled and the money refunded.

Facebook even has a “Gifts That Give Back” section where you can make a donation in honor of your friend to one of the dozen charities listed on the site.

FB charities

With this rollout, Facebook has drastically simplified both the gift-giving and gift-receiving process. Givers can easily choose a gift without having to ask for a shipping address (great for surprises!) and gift recipients can customize their gift and discreetly exchange well-intentioned, but unwanted items.