Time reporter Dan Fletcher recently tried to use Facebook as his florist, with mixed results.
He chronicled his adventure in a piece titled:
Gift Giving on Facebook Gets Real
This tongue in check portrayal illustrates the challenges that retailers will have as they attempt to move from virtual gift selling to the real deal on Facebook.
Dan attempted to use a Facebook application to purchase and deliver some actual roses to three women on his “gift list”.
In the end, only his mother would take the roses from him, and here is why…
Facebook is not designed to be a convenience store. If retailers are looking for another distribution channel like 7/11, they will fail in this space. Purchasing convenience is not what social networker’s need when they come to Facebook. They are there for something different.
Facebook is a friend and family gathering system with the potential of being a fabulous retailing format. It can be the perfect place for passing out real gifts to people who WANT to stay connected. But the key is not the convenience of the purchase; rather it is the simplification of the gift sharing process. Even then the sharing must be a part of the engaging conversation within the Facebook experience. Retailers who can facilitate the sharing of gifts within these walls will find the gift selling process simplified.
Facebook is more like a party than a convenience store. Retailers who can inject a fun atmosphere of a group activity within the gift giving process will fit the Facebook model perfectly.
Until Dan’s real flowers can join the Facebook party, they will wilt in the delivery box.