On Ship To Friends, you can select which Facebook friend you’re shipping to. You’ll be prompted to enter both your and your friend’s respective addresses and phone numbers, as well as information about the weight and dimensions of the package you’re sending so you can choose the appropriate rate. After that, it’s pretty much the same process as you’d find on the FedEx website: Enter your credit card info, print your label, prep your package, and drop it off at a physical FedEx location. (Ship To Friends doesn’t support scheduled pickups.)
Unlike Facebook Gifts, which asks the receiver to provide their mailing information, on Ship To Friends there are a lot more data-entry steps required of the sender. In effect, the app doesn’t make it that much more convenient to send packages. Instead, it feels like a half-attempt at a bridge between traditional, physical-world commerce and social e-commerce that doesn’t provide significant added value to the consumer. It’s similar to the notion that paying with your smartphone digital wallets isn’t actually more convenient than swiping your plastic. At least, not yet. Features that could actually be useful additions to the FedEx app would be, for example, the ability to let your friend decide the delivery window most convenient for them, based on which day they expect your package to arrive.
Though Ship To Friends isn’t explicitly holiday-themed, it’s one of a number of physical-digital initiatives we’ll undoubtedly see more of from brands as we roll into the holiday season, such as Target‘s QR code campaign that allows shoppers to discreetly purchase toys and have them shipped, rather than having to walk out of the store with them.
Shoppers, charge your engines.
[Image: Flickr user lemonhalf]