Facebook will be shutting down its Gifts service so that it can concentrate on helping businesses sell their own products instead.
Facebook Gifts will be coming to an end on August 12, which means users will no longer be able to purchase gift cards, chocolates, or teddy bears for their friends. This is no great loss for the company, as the service was something of a failure. People simply did not want to spend money sending nonsensical items to other people.
Replacing the service will be the Buy button, which Facebook’s says will allow for e-commerce purchases directly on Facebook. Facebook businesses will have the option to publish ads and Page posts which include a Buy button. This button enables people to make their purchases without leaving Facebook, so an alternative third-party site is cut out of the buying process.
The Buy button will be a boon to sales, especially since mobile users are averse to jumping between different apps just to buy something. At the moment, it appears Facebook won’t be taking a cut of the revenue, although this could still change.
Another tool Facebook will be introducing is an Auto-Fill button. This automatically repopulates your billing info, so you no longer have to keep reentering your credit card info when visiting and buying from various shopping apps. This service will also give Facebook a good idea of customers’ shopping habits – like how much they spend on specific apps.
On the other hand, the Custom Audiences app will help offline merchants by letting them retarget Facebook ads to customers.
It’s still to early to tell, but Facebook’s new commerce initiatives show promise.
“The more people buy online, the more people buy things they discover through their mobile phones, the more people discover things from a News Feed and go on to purchase, the more important we are in driving ecommerce and I think we are increasingly important,” said COO Sheryl Sandberg.