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Copycat: Amazon Follows Walmart with Facebook Gifts Integration

Sites include , . Published on December 15th, 2012. Written by Anthony West.

This holiday season is proving rather bountiful for Amazon’s revenues and it appears that Bezos and co are not content—they want more. The online retail giant has taken a page from Walmart’s books by adding social integration to its web properties for Facebook Gifts.

Friends and Family Gifting

The push to generate more sales is really an extension of Amazon’s longstanding ‘Wish List’ feature. Friends and Family Gifting is geared towards helping customers better organize and keep track of their gift ideas and recipients. The sales blurb on Amazon’s own page promises to help customers “keep track of birthdays and gift ideas, get shopping reminders for every occasion and find and remember friend’s’ Wish lists.”

Friends and Family Gifting is heavily managed by MasterCard, the chosen partner for the initiative and many analysts believe it is Amazon’s way of keeping Walmart at bay. The offline retailer has stepped up the pressure on Amazon in recent months by launching a series of apps and portals that help customers integrate their shopping with social media. Amazon has made doubly sure that Friends and Family Gifting doesn’t miss this social mark by providing for sharing and integration with not only Facebook, but Twitter and Pinterest.

Facebook and ecommerce

The fact that amazon has had to tap into Facebook’s social graph shows just how important Facebook is becoming to online commerce from an integration standpoint. No retailer (online or offline) can ignore the social networking giant since 1 billion+ people call it home almost daily. Facebook has become the de facto gatekeeper or online users and Amazon is wise to recognize this.

The integration given by Facebook to Amazon is also surprisingly liberal. When a user logs into Facebook via Amazon’s feature page for Friends and Family Gifting, they are presented with curated list of their friends who have Amazon Wish List accounts. This makes it easier for them to make decisions about who to buy gifts for and many are calling the setup a “work of social and ecommerce genius.”

I am sure Amazon will take such compliments any day but the question is how far behind Walmart the retailer finds itself in this new world of social buying. Walmart has shown that despite its late start to online commerce, it has the money and the talent to capitalize on what is current. Some have even argued that Amazon should have gone social a long time ago, but that is another argument for another time.

This year at least the online retailer seems to have got in step at the right time. Online retail sales have already shattered records so far and with gifting now a much bigger part of the Amazon shopping experience, this should add handsomely to the retail giant’s bottom line.

The whole affair sort of makes you wonder what Amazon must be paying to Facebook for this sort of access; one can hardly imagine this level of open graph integration through just a simple API. Whatever the amount though, I am sure Amazon can afford it.

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