Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) today launched its newest development – the ability to give donations via the popular social networking platform. The new feature, which debuted just in time for the “giving season,” includes 11 charities such as the American Red Cross.
“Using Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to give the gift of a charitable contribution means you can introduce your friends and family to a specific nonprofit organization you care about, or to a larger world of nonprofits,” Jared Morganstern,the Facebook product manager who led the project, wrote in a statement provided by e-mail. “Facebook Gifts will act as a platform where people can learn about nonprofits, discover how easy it is to contribute to their work, and then share that with their friends.” The new Facebook feature is only being offered to a small subset of the social media network’s 1 billion users for right now, but charitable donations are only the beginning.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s new Facebook Gifts also allows users to give gifts to friends. According to the site, it works like this:
“1. Buy your friend a gift – Pick out the perfect gift, add your message and it’s ready to ship – no address needed.
2. Your friend is notified instantly – Friends enter their own shipping info and can swap for a different size, flavor or style before the gift ships.
3. The gift arrives! – Your beautifully packaged gift gets delivered right to your friend’s door.”
Companies can also get in on the action (or at least they can soon), allowing them to send Facebook users gifts without ever taking personal information.
In other words, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is making an entry into the e-commerce world, and unlike other online retailers, such as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), no personal information needs to be exchanged in order to send a gift. Moreover, recipients can choose to exchange their gifts before ever actually receiving them. So, users can buy a friend a sweater from The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), not knowing his size, address or color preference and, if the lucky guy doesn’t like the chosen gift, he can get select a different item. The whole concept could be a real game changer this holiday season. The company’s share price doesn’t reflect it yet – Facebook is actually down slightly today, trading at $21.05 with a 52-week range of $17.55 – 45.00 – but that doesn’t mean it won’t pop after Facebook Gifts launches to the public. Retail companies should also see a boost, especially those like The Gap Inc and American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) with a large range of sizes.