By Alexandra Burlacu email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 01, 2013 12:32 PM EST
Facebook is rolling out a new product called gift cards, as an expansion of its Gifts program.
The preloaded gift cards will work with real-world retailers, with Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora, and Target as initial partners.
How Does It Work?
The new Facebook gift cards employ a simple process. Once a user selects a gift for a friend from the Gift Cards & Digital category, the next step is choosing a value and completing the purchase. The receiver will be notified instantly about the gift and a few days later they will receive the Facebook card in the mail. After that, the recipient can use the card at the respective retailer for the amount the sender has chosen to gift.
"Facebook cards are reusable. After you've received a card, the next time you get a Facebook Card gift, it will instantly be added to your existing card," the social networking company explained in a news release announcing the new Gift Cards. "Your card can hold multiple balances, and each balance is dedicated to the retailer associated with the gift. For example, you might have gift balances of $100 at Sephora, $75 at Target, $50 at Olive Garden, and $8.25 at Jamba Juice."
Users can keep tabs on their gift balances from their Account Settings on Facebook either from their phone or desktop. The social network will alert users of each change in balance by sending a real-time notification to their phones.
Facebook launched its Gifts feature back in September, allowing its users to send real gifts to their real or virtual friends via the social network. By December, the company rolled out its Gifts products to all U.S. users.
The new ability to send a Facebook Card gift will roll out gradually, and is also aimed only at U.S. users for now. The new announcement comes on the heels of Facebook's mobile boost, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg just stated during a fourth-quarter earnings call that "Facebook is a mobile company."
Facebook continues to enjoy worldwide popularity with millions and millions of users accessing the network on a regular basis. Facebook has also reported that for the first time the number of daily active users accessing the network via mobile has surpassed the number of Web daily active users. With Gift Cards, Facebook is now expanding its presence right into users' wallets, gradually slipping from the virtual into the concrete.