Amazon’s New Social Gifting Service “Amazon Birthday Gift” Leverages Facebook, Competes With Facebook’s Own Gifts

Posted: June 19, 2013 in GT, Social
Tags: , ,

Stealing a page right out of a startup called
Aggregift’s playbook, Amazon today launched a new
feature called “Amazon Birthday Gift,” which allows a
group of Facebook friends to go in on an Gift Card together. That gift isn’t posted
to the recipients’ Facebook Timeline until their big day arrives. To get started with the service, a user buys an gift card, then invites other mutual
friends to donate using the Birthday Gift website here.
When the birthday arrives, the recipient is tagged in a
Facebook Timeline wall post, receiving the digital
card and everyone’s birthday greetings. The new addition is a further expansion of Amazon’s
deepening integration with Facebook, as the company
last December launched a “Friends and Family
Gifting” feature just ahead of the holidays to
generate Facebook-enabled gift suggestions, send
out reminders, and enable gift list sharing via both email and social networks. Online competitor
Walmart, too, had previously launched a similar
Facebook-based gift recommendation service in
2011, which was added to the site
ahead of the 2012 holiday season. Social gifting is still very much in the experimental
phase, despite the support from e-commerce giants
like Walmart, Amazon and others. For instance,
Facebook has also dabbled in this area with the fall
2012 debut of Facebook Gifts (built on top of former
social gifting startup Karma). The service is meant to tie into one of Facebook’s most regular draws — its
birthday reminders. The idea is that users could visit
the site, and in addition to wishing their friend “happy
birthday,” they could also add a gift to accompany
that message. The social network offers gifts like
iTunes digital Gift Cards and physical goods, and it even launched its own self-branded “Facebook
Card” earlier this year. However, even with Facebook’s broad reach, its Gifts
service has been struggling to generate serious
revenue, and certainly falling short of earlier
projections and estimations regarding its potential.
Meanwhile, some startups like Sincerely (with
Sesame) and recently funded Wrapp, carry on in this space, while others head off in new directions. Giftly,
for instance, exited to this March,
while Boomerang has turned its focus to the B2B
market instead in recent months. That being said, Amazon still has a shot at winning
the social gifting space with its new Amazon Birthday
Gift feature, since it can be argued that users don’t
associate Facebook’s brand with spending or
shopping the way they do with Amazon. (See also:
various f-commerce struggles). Plus, Amazon’s cards are the go-to for the “generic” gift option, which people
buy when they don’t know what to get, or when they
need something last minute. However, the new service is still limited today to
smaller gift amounts ($1, $5, $10 and $25), which can
be a challenge for those attempting to raise funds for
a larger present like an electronics purchase. Plus,
being tied only to birthdays eliminates the big holiday,
graduation or wedding presents users may want to go in on together. Often these larger presents are led by
a close family member or friend who puts in a big
chunk of change, to which others pile on. Not
supporting these other types of gifting narrows the
already potentially narrow market for digital, social
gifting even further. Amazon Birthday Gift is live now here for interested

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