This holiday season Facebook Friends in North America may give gifts to one another, whether naughty or nice.
In May of 21012, purchased Karma, the maker of a social giving app. Not much later, Facebook Gifts debuted in September allowing anyone connected to you as a “Friend” on the most popular social network in North America to receive real products from one another.
Companies such as Brookstone and the Gap are among numerous popular brick & mortar retailers that have already signed on the latest Facebook e-commerce concept of gift giving, as well as others, such as virtual retailers Pandora and now even iTunes. All poising themselves this holiday season for a good analysis of the new social networks future viability as an e-commerce competitor.
Currently, Amazon is the “world’s largest online retailer”, but Facebook has an estimated 800 million users. Something Amazon could only dream of having as a registered user base or potential customers. The enormous user base puts it in a firm standing as a direct competitor for on-line sales with Amazon.
How prepared is Facebook to handle this potential success? Facebook has thus far:
* Obtained a warehouse in South Dakota
* Developed a proprietary inventory tracking and shipping system.
* Begun testing the Facebook Gifts service with users in the U.S.
It’s difficult to imagine any way the service can ultimately fail and therefore it’s fairly safe to say that the stage is now set for Facebook to enable this e-commerce concept in numerous countries around the world. More than that, Facebook also has the ability to market the service through their own network, free of charge, as often as they want and in anyway they see fit. It sort of makes one wonder now if that’s why Facebook has always made such a big deal of “Birthdays”.
Eventually it seems this new e-commerce ability may also cause some issue for Facebook as well though. As we recently reported, Google has been under a barrage of attacks around the globe as countries attempt to pry into their records, claim monopolistic practices and a host of other accusation which Google has had to defend against. Facebook to is already in the position to be under scrutiny as well, as the company has even far more personal information regarding its users than Google typically collects (i.e. mobile numbers, friends, family data, etc.) By adding more monetizing features to their site, surely the money honey pot is going to attract more attention.
Facebook also has made Facebook Gifts available for iOS and Android users.
The question doesn’t seem to be, can Facebook make this an international e-commerce venture. The only question really seems to be, how long will it take?