While Facebook is pushing its own newly-launched ecommerce effort, Facebook Gifts, retailers connected to Facebook are also seeking a piece of the holiday shopping action ahead of Black Friday.
Payvment, for example, which bills itself as the number one Facebook ecommerce platform, has announced that it will run Black Friday deals between November 23rd and 27th, as well as Weekly Deals, enabling sellers to feature up to three promotional deals per week.
The deals will be featured on Lish.com, a new site outside of Facebook the company recently launched that looks far more like a page on Pinterest than on Facebook page, with lots of beautiful graphics. Payvment said that nearly half of 1,000 sellers it recently surveyed are planning to run some sort of promotion for the holidays on Lish.
While Lish is not directly on Facebook, it still draws on Facebook's data to let users share the purchases with their Facebook friends. The promotions retailers run are also automatically posted to their Facebook newsfeeds.
"This gives me access to a new set of eyes," said Marcy Roth, founder of Accessory Artists, one of the retailers taking advantage of the weekly promotional deals. "It's a good way to find people who wouldn't know about you otherwise." The seller of handcrafted jewelry saw good response from an earlier flash sale on Lish and thus decided to keep going with the Weekly Deals.
Meanwhile Wrapp, an app that users download on their smartphone that lets them give free and paid giftcards to their Facebook friends, has declared November 21 "Social Gifting Wednesday." On that day, Wrapp retail partners including Sephora, Gap, Levi's, Warby Parker, Rent the Runway, Fab, Gemvara, Hayneedle, and 1-800-Flowers will offer sponsored gift cards each worth $10 or more that users can give to friends and family for free. Users can redeem the cards in-store.
Wrapp CEO Hjalmar Winbladh says his company does not compete with Facebook Gifts, because it has nothing to do with ecommerce. "Wrapp is about helping retailers find new ways to leverage smartphones to get people into brick and mortar stores," he noted. Facebook's own digital gift cards are designed to let users purchase virtual items used in Facebook games and other apps.
Wrapp likes to cite data from CEB Tower Group that e-gifting accounted for $1 billion of the $100 billion US gift card industry last year. The group predicts that revenues associated with e-gifts should grow to around $11 billion in 2014.
Whether Facebook will begin to see these players as competition or just a continued part of the Facebook ecosystem remains to be seen.
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
March 19, 2014