Some time ago, I randomly picked a winner among those who participated in a survey. The winner got to pick any game from Big Fish Games. He selected one game and I said I would get him the game.
After browsing some time, I realized that I couldn’t find a “buy as a gift” option from their website. I decided to buy the game “normally” and proceeded. I thought I would use PayPal to make the payment… just to see Big Fish Games (BFG) wasn’t accepting it. I chose to use credit card, made the payment and created a customer account.
After making the order I got clear emails telling me what do I need to do in order to play the game. I wasn’t sure how to get the game to other person, so I tried emailing him the customized link. That didn’t work, and we exchanged some emails trying to find a solution.
Finally I gave up trying to get files to work at his end, and I simply gave him my BFG account details and let him try to install the game (Naturally I made sure that my credit card information would not be available, so that no harm could be done). That worked, and the guy got his game (and I changed my password after he was done) and in the end all was well.
What Big Fish Games could do to improve their system
The two tiny issues bugged me. First of all, why there’s no PayPal option to make the payments? (Or did I miss it?) PayPal is quite widely used and the money on PayPal account is just right for doing purchases like these: no need to give credit card information for example.
And secondly: BFG is has millions and millions visitors on their website. I bet *somebody* would be interested to buy games as gifts for their friends or family members. Why aren’t they accepting these type of orders (or again: did I somehow messed up and missed it?). It’s quite understandable that smaller studios selling games directly don’t accept gift orders, but from one of the biggest casual game portals – that seems like a missed business opportunity.
It boils down to the same old marketing wisdom: giving customer the option to buy the way he prefers.
Update: Scurvy Lobster notified me that I missed the gift certificates, which reminds me that the next time I shall use browser’s “Find” functionality to search for “gift”. My mistake. Maybe they still could learn from Amazon.com who even asks “is this purchase going to be a gift” (would be good for customers like me :)