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Epiphany Search

With less than eight weeks until Christmas, eBay have launched ‘eBay Group Gifts,’ a new social commerce tool, which integrates eBay, Paypal and Facebook giving users the opportunity to buy gifts collectively for friends and family. EBay has for a while been trying to rekindle growth in its core market and with eBay’s initial growth in the auction market, an emphasis has been made on growing the ‘buy it now’ items. With a decrease in disposable income and an increase in spending around Christmas, this may be the solution for buying those endless gifts for relatives.

The new tool allows users to set up a profile for the person they are looking to buy for, and choose a gift of which they hope to buy. You can then invite friends and family to join in and contribute to the gift. If you’re stuck for ideas, the social network has now become even more powerful as is it now able to choose gifts for the person using information from their profile. So how does it work? 1. Visit and input the gift recipient’s name, the occasion and the deadline. 2. You then choose a gift either by selecting an item that you choose or by selecting one of eBay’s recommended items pulled from information on the recipient’s Facebook and general popular choices. Buy it now items can only be purchased as auction items have an uncertain price. 3. Choose how much you will be contributing and sign the virtual greeting card. 4. Invite friends/family to contribute by using Facebook privately, Twitter or email. 5. Once the required funds are collected, the item is purchased and can be sent to the buyer or directly to the recipient. EBay Group Gifts is designed to make "it easier for friends and relatives to chip in for gifts because it eliminates the headache of collecting contributions". This service is a great way to encourage group buying, save money and still buy the recipient a valuable gift. It also removes the hassle and makes relevant suggestions as to what they may like. The only problem is that if the recipient has Facebook privacy settings active, eBay is unable to pull the information required. Some say that eBay may have to spend time convincing consumers to join in as changing buying habits can be difficult. A recent survey from Accenture found that one in five consumers used Facebook for purchases last year, but that 88 percent said they wouldn't be doing their holiday shopping on social networks or mobile phones this year. Of those, 26 percent cited privacy concerns as the primary deterrent, while 20 percent simply didn't see the benefit in mobile or Facebook-based shopping. I did have a go at Group Gifts and surprisingly it came up with some good ideas, however you have to hope that the recipient has updated their likes and interests recently, as when I tried this for my 19 year old brother it came up with music that I am pretty sure he does not listen to any more! Overall I am not sure if this is something that I would use, however If I was asked to contribute to someone who was using the tool I would. It may be something for those early adopters to persuade the masses, but one thing is for sure, I will be changing my likes and interests to something other than Cinderella!