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Just In Time for the Holidays, Facebook Gifts

Now we are getting somewhere.

Facebook is rolling out a service called, creatively enough, Facebook Gifts which allows Facebook users to buy gifts for friends from inside of Facebook. No, it’s not a virtual gift and yes it can be done from a mobile device. So Facebook appears to have killed two previously unwanted birds with this one deal. From the LA Times we hear

The social networking giant announced a new service Thursday afternoon called Facebook Gifts that will let users buy and send each other presents they can enjoy in real life.

To start, these presents include Starbucks gift cards, stuffed animals and cupcakes, but Facebook said it will continue to add more options every day.

If you like pictures to tell a story here you go.

Mobile Marketing Goes Postal with Holiday eCommerce Promotion

It may not seem like it, but mobile is actually the perfect compliment to the US Postal Service. When a customer uses their mobile device to buy something online, that something has to be mailed to them and there’s a one in three chance that that something is going to arrive via the US Postal Service.

In order to encourage this symbiotic relationship, the USPS is offering a special holiday direct mail promotion aimed specifically at mobile marketers.

The 2012 Holiday Mobile Shopping Promotion gives online merchants a 2% postage discount as long as they have a a mobile bar code or QR code that leads back to the web. (You’ll find the specifics here.)

The Fancy: All the Top Social Commerce Trends, All in One Place

What are the top trends in Social Commerce right now? Photo galleries (Pinterest, Lover.ly). Subscription boxes (Love with Food, Birchbox). Daily deals are hanging in there (Groupon, AmazonLocal). Gamification is always hot, as is social sharing and referrals. Put them all together and they spell The Fancy — a new place to buy more stuff.

I got The Fancy bug after reading comScore’s article called From Pin to Purchase. The piece talks about that illusive social media fellow, the conversion. You know, 10,000 Likes on your Facebook page but only 1 sale. Hundreds of photo repins on Pinterest but not one clickthrough.

The Fancy is working to change all that by providing users with every opportunity to not just covet and share what they see on the page, but to buy it, too.

Gasp! Survey Reveals That Many Online Reviews are Fake!

My world has been rocked, not once, but twice this week. First I found out that the reality series The X-Factor hid the fact that a 13-year old contestant was actual a Broadway pro in order to make the episode more compelling. That makes it more of a semi-reality series, doesn’t it? Appalling!

While I was still reeling from that shock, I checked into Mashable and found this: By 2014, 1 in 10 Social Media Reviews Will Be Fake. 

Say it isn’t so! I, like most internet users, trust those online reviews to give me the scoop before I check into a hotel, eat at a restaurant, or buy a new product. If 10% are fake, whom am I to trust?

Survey Shows Made in USA Matters

Back in July, the USA Olympic team hit a bump in the road when the news broke that their all-American athletic wear had been made in China. Considering the patriotic nature of the games, it’s not surprising that folks were upset but how do they feel about the origin of everyday items?

According to a shopper survey by Perception Research Services International (PRS), that “Made in USA” label is important enough to influence their buying decisions.

76% of those surveyed, said seeing a “Made in the USA” label made them more likely to buy the product but patriotism wasn’t the reason for the decision.

Most shoppers said the shopped USA in order to help the economy. PRS says it’s more likely that the real motivator is concerns about the quality and safety of products made overseas.

Product Information is Key for the Showrooming Shoppers

If you ever had any doubt about how attached we’ve become to our mobile phones, take a look at this graph from Vibes.com.

After you get past the 11% of smartphone owners who keep their phones on hand while showering, take a look at the “While Shopping” column. 82% of smartphone users have their phone with them when they shop, and they’re using them to make sure they get the best deal.

Showrooming is when a shopper uses a brick and mortar store to touch and try a product only to buy it online. It may seem like a concept that is new to the mobile era, but it actually goes way back to the days when stores knew the meaning of customer service. By putting out only one display model of a product, retailers saved space and lowered instances of theft and breakage. Consumers would choose the item they liked, then “order” it on a form, which was then taken into the warehouse to be filled or they could order it to be delivered through a catalog service.

Majority of Consumers Would Trade a Facebook Like for a Discount

Speaking of Facebook likes. . . it’s National Coupon Month and RedPlum has just released the results of their annual Purse String Study. The overwhelming conclusion? People are so used to looking for deals and coupons, it’s “become second nature to them.” But instead of just heading to the newspaper for circulars and inserts, they’re using the internet to save more money and save time.

Here’s the best news for ecommerce folks:

Look at that happy orange strip; 67% of consumers said they’d like a page on Facebook in return for a 25% discount. That’s huge and way more than I would have said if you asked me (which nobody did.) With all the grumbling people do about Facebook, here they are willing to sell their soul vote of confidence in order to save money.