By Erika Von Tiehl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There are many ways to shop this holiday season. You can go online or you can go to the mall. But have you ever thought of going to Facebook for gifts?
3 On Your Side and Erika Von Tiehl want you to know about a brand new way to get some of your holiday shopping done.
Shopping online is nothing new. But what about shopping on Facebook?
“Oh wow, I’m not surprised,” said Tashara Jones, a junior at the University of Pennsylvania.
The social network is rolling out a new service called ‘Gifts’.
Facebook users click on the gift icon on a friend’s timeline and a selection of items pops up.
People can make a purchase, notify their friend that the gift is on its way or keep it private so it’s a surprise when the gift arrives. The service is free for users. Facebook earns a percentage from the businesses.
The gift selection is wide. Choose from iTunes gift cards, cupcakes, cozy pajamas and gourmet coffee just to mention a few of the items.
There’s even a swanky ride in Uber, a private car service available in Philadelphia.
“For Uber it’s a great fit because it’s another channel for us, a different way to reach customers,” said Uber spokesperson Adria Hou.
“I think that’s very interesting, I didn’t know that Facebook was doing that,” said UPenn student Paige Backenstoe.
That may be because not all Facebook users will find the gift store.
A Facebook spokesperson says they are continuing to roll out the feature to more people throughout the coming weeks.
But not everybody will be waiting for it, according to some Penn students.
“I’d just go to a store,” said Casey Smith.
“I don’t think I’d use it, I like keeping Facebook separate from the rest of my activities,” said Jordan Kodner.
“When consumers go to regular websites they’re in the mood for shopping,” said Drexel University marketing professor Burt Rosenbloom.
“When they go on social networks like Facebook, it does other things, to keep friends informed, share photos, so this creates something of a barrier I would think compared to regular online shopping,” said Professor Rosenbloom.
And what happens to that information on what you buy?
Facebook says it is not currently using gift data to target you for certain advertising.
In this busy holiday shopping season, Facebook’s gift option could be a real time-saver.