Surprisingly, Facebook Gifts doesn't suck

posted Feb 21, 2013, 3:28 PM by Jenee Pearson Hughes   [ updated Feb 21, 2013, 3:38 PM ]
Facebook gifts
Curious cat that I am, I decided to take a look at the new "Facebook Gifts" offering.   To my surprise, I ended up really liking the platform.

There were a few pleasant surprises (and inspired design choices) that really cemented my positive feelings:

On the buyer side:

1) Diverse selection: There are a LOT of gifts here.  I could find something for everyone--my parents, my hipster sister, my boyfriend, my old boss, even my outdoorsy friend! They mix in traditional gifts (box of chocolates, flowers, watches) with "fun" gifts (like a Cat-Scratching toy that looks like a DJ turntable). Gift cards; Custom and novelty candies; wine; knick-knacks; makeup; flowers; stuffed animals; pet toys; spa days; gardening detritus; tea; cookies; magazine subscriptions, OH MY! 


2) Reasonable prices, at multiple price points.  Perhaps the pricing is just low to generate interest, but wow, these are some pretty nicely-priced gifts!  At worst, they're what I'd expect to pay at retail (like $30 for a mechanical citrus juicer or $11 for a mullet-wig headband), and at best, they're way less than I'd expect to pay (like $10 for a Brookstone multitool or $7 for a mini birthday bundt cake)!  I ended up going for the smiley face cookie from Cheryl's Cookies. You pay $5, free shipping, and your friend gets a nifty cookie and a $5 gift card for more cookies. Miracle of miracles, it's even a USABLE giftcard, since there are things you can get on the Cheryl's cookies website for just $5.  
Full Entry for Cheryl's Cookies Smiley Faces

Facebook Ecard Options "Anytime cards"

3) Awesome e-cards:  Okay, so they're pretty basic. But with each gift, you get a bunch of eCards to chose from, which you can add your own message to. It allows you to put your own personal touch on the gift, and is pretty awesome :)

4) Recipient-action notification: One of my major concerns with this was that I'd send a Facebook Gift to someone that's never on Facebook  Fortunately, you get a notification when the recipient opens the gift, and when the gift gets shipped. That way, if you send the gift, and realize it hasn't been seen by the recipient, you can call them and tell them to check their Facebook. 

Gift Status

On the receiver side:

1) Address obfuscation:  I don't want to put my address on Facebook for the world to see. When someone sends me a gift, I get their cute little card and message, and then it prompts me to enter my address. This address, as far as I can tell, isn't posted anywhere publicly, and is not shared with the gift-giving party. 

2) Gift substitution:  I had a friend send me a cookie gift, and when I opened it, it asked me if I wanted to swap out the gift for a different gift. Whaaa?  Yes, indeed. It allows you to pick a similarly-priced gift, and will send you that one instead, for no up-charge (as far as I can tell). I substituted the $7 "Grace Cake" mini-bundt for my $5 cookie, since both came with the $5 gift card.
Gift Swapped

I haven't received the gift yet, so I'm not sure about the quality, but they've got a pretty good system going here. I think I'll keep using it.