Facebook to end Gifts service as company focuses on Buy button

Facebook has announced it’s to shutter its ‘Gifts’ service that allows users to buy digital gift cards from a wide range of merchants such as Starbucks, Best Buy, and Gap.

The service will end on August 12, the social networking giant said, giving it the opportunity to focus more on other e-commerce features, such as its new ‘Buy’ button that lets Facebook users buy physical goods from companies via a single click without having to exit the site.

E-commerce exploration

In a statement issued Tuesday, Facebook said it would use its Gifts experience “to explore new ways to help businesses and developers drive sales on the web, on mobile, and directly on Facebook.”

When the Gifts service launched back in 2012, it allowed Facebook users to purchase low-cost physical items such as socks and soft toys. A few months later it added digital gift cards to the mix. However, with user engagement lower than expected, it decided to switch the service to digital gift cards only, a move that clearly also failed to inspire its members.

Facebook noted on its site that while sending gift cards will no longer be possible after August 12, those in possession of a card can still redeem it beyond this date.

‘Buy’ button

The company started testing its new Buy button just over a week ago, giving users the chance to purchase goods from merchants without leaving the site.

“With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the Buy call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook,” the company said earlier this month, adding that its new button may also be seen on a user’s News Feed.

Initially, its Buy button involves partnering with small- and medium-sized businesses, though we can expect to see a wider roll out to larger companies if the e-commerce initiative proves successful.

[via Reuters]

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