Facebook often has the luxury of refining ideas that have been around a while and that is what I predict for payments over Facebook. People are already comfortable with entering their credit card info on websites so payments on Facebook won’t seem like a huge leap; here I will review a few of the most recent trends in currency and the opportunities for brands.
- The End of Facebook Gifts (Kind Of)- This Sunday, August 1st is the last day that the Gift Shop will be open. Gifts already circulated will remain on your profile forever and gifts can still be part of third-party applications; however, this is a good indication of where Facebook thinks gifts are going. In the future brands will most likely reward fans with virtual credit to play games or gift specifically tied to coupons or other exclusives. If you want to send your college roommate a tequila shot, sticky note, or unicorn you better get it in before Sunday!
- Pay Through Facebook- There are plenty of other gifts you can buy on Facebook though… like maybe a nice wool blazer? Brooks Brothers is one of many retailers allowing fans and non-fans alike to make purchases through their brand Page. There are also new applications, like Wildfire’s Group Deals, which will bring Groupon-like deals to Facebook and leverage the built in social function to help you split vacation packages with friends or see who else is attending a concert.
- Facebook Credit in Games- As with many online games, most famously World of Warcraft and Second Life, Facebook users have taken well to the idea of paying for new fences on Farmville or guns in Mafia Wars. This is great for Facebook since they take up to a 30 percent share of this money and great for brands like 7-11 who offer promotions tied to game credits. Not so great for 12-year-old boys who steal their parent’s credit cards.
- Facebook Credits EVERYWHERE- Mashable wrote back in March that Facebook credits could overtake PayPal someday and I agree if that’s Facebook’s intention. You can already buy Facebook credit gift cards offline in Asia and with Facebooks new open graph model it is clear that they want to interact with other wedsites, perhaps through currency. However, Facebook generally prefers to play on their own terms and keep the payments between developers and users to keep their hands clean; if they do take on PayPal I don’t think it will be for at least a year and who knows where the world will be. When it does happen the opportunity for brands to sell products and better track sales through Facebook or learn about customers’ demographics, brands they like, and interests will take personal shopping to the virtual stage.
On a parting note this will be my last TGIF post as I am leaving 360 DI to start law school full time. I will still be around on Twitter and I know that a new team member will step in to our Dr.Facebook role and keep the great content coming. Thanks for reading!