The way retailers and customers interact has changed, and now, thanks to Facebook, consumer purchasing may be headed in a likewise direction. Facebook Credits has provided a system that makes purchasing virtual, and now real goods easier than ever before.
Currently, there are 300 million consumers playing games through Facebook, and so, Facebook came up with the concept – Facebook Credits. Facebook Credits are a virtual currency you can use to buy virtual goods in all games on the Facebook platform. You can purchase Facebook Credits using your credit card, PayPal, a mobile phone and many other alternative payment methods. There are many games available on Facebook, including Farmville, Cityville, Mahjong Trails, Mystery Manor and even Scrabble and Chess. Credits allow you to play (and buy virtual goods) in exchange for the credits.
Even though Facebook is not a direct sales channel, they are at the cusp of developing a ROI for retailers that goes beyond engaging customers in an attempt to monetize the site. For example, Cold Stone Creamery took a bold step using virtual goods to deliver e-certificates that were redeemable at physical locations. The results were modest, but after securing $10,000 in revenue for their efforts, this could be the start of a huge trend. American Express also jumped into the act by allowing customers to trade in points for virtual goods to be used in these games like Farmville and Mafia Wars. According to experts, it is only a matter of time before Facebook credits become accepted in other retail stores and by other businesses.
Facebook has two other applications that hold promise for retailers – Shopkick and Plastic Jungle. Shopkick is the first multi-retailer rewards program on your phone that rewards you just for walking in. You can collect kickbucks at participating shopkick retailers like Best Buy, Macy’s, Sports Authority, American Eagle and SIMON Malls and turn them into Facebook Credits. You can also turn gift cards into Facebook Credits. Plastic Jungle is a Facebook application that allows you to enter your gift card information, then use a prepaid label provided to mail it in. Once received and verified, your credits are added to your Facebook Credits account. Plastic Jungle pays out up to 92% of a gift card’s balance (rate is based on brand, seasonality, etc). And, you get 10 Facebook Credits for every dollar in trade-in value. For example, you get 920 Facebook Credits for a $100 Target gift card.
As soon as more retailers figure out how to leverage Facebook Credits, we are likely to see a complete integration of a convenient, universal form of payment…especially since this social media giant continues to expand at an unstoppable rate. With amazing opportunities for loyalty and reward programs for customers and in-depth targeting for businesses, Facebook Credits holds true potential. It may not be all that long before you are trading in your Visa for a Facebook Credit Card. With worldwide use of Facebook, Facebook credit could be the first true global currency.