Facebook unwraps m-commerce ambitions with Gifts platform

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is rolling out Gifts, a new service enabling users to purchase and send real-world items to their social network contacts.

Facebook Gifts

Facebook Gifts allows users to send real-world items to friends.

Launching on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and the desktop, with a version optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS coming within the next few weeks, Facebook Gifts builds on Karma, the mobile gifting platform acquired by the social networking giant in May. Facebook Gifts leverages birthday reminders and timeline events like engagement and wedding announcements to prompt users to purchase presents from more than 100 retail partners including Starbucks, 1-800-Flowers, Gund and Magnolia Bakery; all items are recommended based on the recipient's Facebook profile.

After the gift is selected, senders attach a card and mail the item directly to the recipient's address, choosing whether to post the gift to their friend's timeline or send it privately. The recipient may 'unwrap' a virtual preview of the item before it arrives on their doorstep, and he or she can also choose the color, size or flavor or exchange the product for something of equal value.

To complete a Facebook Gifts transaction, senders bill their purchase to a new or existing credit card saved to their Facebook account. Speaking to TechCrunch, Facebook Head of Gifts Lee Linden declined to divulge how much revenue the company claims on each transaction, explaining the terms vary by product and partner.

Facebook Gifts represents the social network's latest move to monetize its mobile platform. Earlier this week, Facebook and digital commerce partner Bango rolled out a new mobile Web billing service enabling consumers to purchase in-app goods and bill the transaction to their monthly wireless bill. Facebook is also trialing mobile advertisements across selected third-party iOS and Android applications, introducing banner and interstitial ads that direct consumers to mobile websites or app stores based on their profile and social media activities.

Facebook reported net losses of $157 million in the quarter ending June 30, its first as a public company, and vowed to right the ship with the introduction of new and improved mobile experiences. Facebook now boasts 955 million monthly active users worldwide, and 59 percent of that audience accesses the platform via mobile device. In addition, the number of Facebook users who accessed the site exclusively via mobile increased to 102 million in the second quarter, a 23 percent quarter-over-quarter leap.

For more:
- read this Facebook Newsroom post
- read this TechCrunch article

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