Amazon Launches Social Gifting Tool

Discussion
Dec 18, 2012

Amazon.com, Inc. last week launched Friends & Family Gifting, an application that lets users merge their Facebook and Amazon accounts to find gift suggestions.

Once the user connects to their Facebook account, they’ll be able to see the Wish Lists that their friends have created on Amazon as well as information about things they may have "Liked" through Facebook. According to a press release, "Customers can find existing Amazon Wish Lists to make it easy to find the perfect gift for their friends. By connecting their Amazon and Facebook accounts, customers can also use information about their Facebook friends, such as the things their friends ‘Like,’ to select a gift."

Other benefits of the tool:

  • Centralize/Share Gift Lists: Customers gain a tool to centralize their gift-giving ideas in one place. Using the Gift Lists feature, customers can create and share gift ideas via email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest;
  • Keep Track of Friends & Family: Consumers can store birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates of their acquaintances. Reminders of the events can be linked directly to their existing Wish Lists for a quick view of gift suggestions;
  • Gift Recommendations: Plug in an age and/or interest and Amazon’s Family Gifting provides gift recommendations. The feature is said to be particularly beneficial in decided what to buy for kids with little Facebook access.

For those without a Facebook account or not wishing to synch their account to Amazon, there is an option to add friends manually by entering in their name, birth date and interests.

Friends & Family Gifting is said to resemble Walmart’s Shopycat Facebook application launched last year and the Likeable Gifts Facebook service that CafePress launched last month. A day before the introduction, Facebook rolled out Facebook Gifts, which enables its users to buy presents for friends on the social network.

However, access to Amazon’s Wish List provides an extra benefit for Amazon over the others.

Wrote Tim Peterson on Adweek, "While both Amazon and Facebook can crunch users’ profile information to spit out gift ideas, Amazon’s service also lets users manually compile Wish Lists of presents they’d like or their friends would like. If someone’s Facebook friend has also connected his Facebook account with Amazon, they can view that friend’s Wish List when their birthday pops up to facilitate the present-purchasing process."

How would you rate Amazon’s Friends & Family Gifting tool? How should brick & mortar retailers be looking to capitalize on Facebook as a gifting tool?

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10 Comments on "Amazon Launches Social Gifting Tool"

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Cathy Hotka
Guest
5 years 4 hours ago

Gee, what a creeptastic way to glean personal information about consumers. If I were Amazon, I’d sell these insights back to advertisers for a substantial sum of money. And if I were an Amazon customer I’d make sure never to link my Facebook account….

Ken Lonyai
Guest
5 years 4 hours ago

This sounds like a possible indication that among existing (regular?) customers, Amazon has reached a plateau regarding up-selling or incentivizing. It may be that Big A is looking to leverage Facebook to promote new thinking or novel experiences to get incremental sales that it’s not otherwise affecting.

Other sites or b&m retailers can try the same, but once this practice becomes ubiquitous, it will offer little additional cachet or benefit.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
5 years 4 hours ago

Social integration has already begun to happen (albeit experimentally) in physical retail spaces. “Facedeals” is an opt-in, facial recognition system that recognizes shoppers as they enter a store, matches them up to their Facebook profile and then sends them a notification of the in-store items their friends have “liked.” Another company in South America, C&A is digitally displaying the number of Facebook likes a product has, in real time, on the clothes hanger it sits on.

Although very early days, these experiments signify the need and the ability to overlay the social graph on the physical retail experience.

As big data becomes more pervasive, our expectations that this sort of social integration in the shopping experience are going to become implicit.

Shep Hyken
Guest
5 years 4 hours ago

My first thought is, what took so long? I thought that the this type of integration of Facebook and retailers would have happened sooner.

Those Facebook users that are compelled to take advantage of the Amazon program will love it. It’s still early and lots of changes are forthcoming as they tweak the program.

Amazon.com is a role model. Once they have the proven system that integrates with Facebook, others will follow.

Tracey Klein
Guest
Tracey Klein
5 years 3 hours ago

Social gifting is only in its infancy, and this is Amazon’s first foray into the space. Not every retailer can implement their own social gifting solution, however, and compete head on with Amazon. For those, our social gifting app eGifter and others are a good alternative for this new channel of customer loyalty and acquisition that is going to be the next big thing in social and mobile commerce.

Doug’s comment is very astute that for retailers, this is all about big data. The more we can learn about consumers by their actions in social networks (okay, so maybe it’s a tad creepy) the better value we can deliver to them and therefore to the retailer.

Lee Kent
Guest
5 years 2 hours ago

I don’t really have an opinion about this. Can you believe that? I don’t have an opinion…however, my housekeeper uses the Amazon wish list and she was just sharing with me yesterday that she hates the fact that she now knows what she is getting for Christmas. She can see that items have been selected and bought, but not by whom. They need to fix that IMHO! πŸ™‚

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
5 years 2 hours ago

This question seems like it has a typo in it; shouldn’t we be asking “should brick and…” before we ask “HOW should…”?

Anyway, my thoughts are:
(1) How sad: I was asked for gift ideas yesterday, and—yes—I did go to Amazon…but at least there was some effort put into it. This process makes me wonder how long it will be before the process its totally automated, and people won’t even find it necessary to “bother” getting involved;
(2) This illustrates a classic example of how/why market leaders (often) only get bigger: if you’re really into something—say skiing—you’ll probably think about a similar linkage with some specialized site; but how many people will bother with dozens of linkages? Very few, I imagine…they’ll stick with one or two they find generally useful.

Brian Numainville
Guest
5 years 56 minutes ago

From a consumer perspective, two thoughts. One, what a great way to shop for friends and relatives in a way that might actually result a gift that they want! Two, take care what you link to and from as the whole world will know.

Matthew Keylock
Guest
Matthew Keylock
4 years 11 months ago

Seems like a great commercial idea.

Call me “old-fashioned,” but I find the idea of people curating and sharing lists of things they want somewhat disturbing and a bit tragic.

Chandan Agarwala
Guest
Chandan Agarwala
4 years 11 months ago

Facebook has been trying to promote Social Commerce by developing payment platforms. Amazon seems to have taken a lead in social commerce application development. Even brick-and-mortar retail chains can learn from Amazon’s application. Eventually, all the parallel developments along multiple disciplines will need to converge to support a better experience for shoppers.

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