In July 2009 the first ever Facebook transaction was completed for a bouquet of flowers from a small US florist. Over the last two and a half years Facebook commerce, also referred to as 'f-commerce', has come on leaps and bounds with hundreds of brands selling through the social network today. In fact, some predict that within the next five years more business will be conducted through Facebook than on global e-tailer Amazon.
2011 saw the evolution of f-commerce, with an increasing number of brands opening Facebook Shops to sell directly to their fan base, including the three most popular brands on Facebook - Coca Cola, Starbucks and Disney. However, Facebook commerce does not solely consist of Facebook Shops, but rather an extensive ecosystem of digital solutions for conducting business via the popular social network.
|Facebook Shops:||A specially developed Facebook Shop supports purchases and monetary transactions directly from the company’s Facebook page.|
|Company Facebook Pages:||The user is redirected to the brand’s dedicated online shop from the company’s Facebook page, promoting both ecommerce and Facebook commerce.|
|Facebook Credits:||Virtual currency, which is redeemable on digital goods and can be used to reward loyalty. 16 million were bought in 2011 and this figure is expected to triple in 2012.|
|Facebook Deals/Gift Cards:||A platform that allows retailers to get customers to pay upfront for vouchers that can be used in-store or online.|
|Facebook Apps:||Since 2007 the Facebook Platform has provided third-party developers with the tools to develop applications that integrate with the ‘open graph’. Nowadays, there are reportedly over 500,000 active Facebook apps.|
|Mobile:||Facebook is mobile compatible, enhancing the usability and efficiency of your online commerce across platforms.|
|Facebook Components:||There are a number of Facebook development tools, which enhance the utility of different features, including a growing number of social plugins. The development of new verb and noun buttons, such as “I Want” or “I Bought”, will promote brand advocacy and have significant implications for f-commerce. Within this there are also growing opportunities utilising tools such as ‘Facebook Connect’, which is a set of APIs that allow users to log in to third-party websites using their Facebook details and post information back to their profile.|
|Facebook Advertising:||Exhaustive data collected through Facebook marketing allows companies to create highly targeted and customised display advertisements, which then link back to the company’s online shop.|
In a recent study 77% of respondents said that they were looking for deals and promotions when interacting with brands online. With a current population of over 800 million users on Facebook, who are ready and willing to engage with and purchase from your brand, the potential for Facebook commerce is enormous.
Our next blog will look at the benefits attained through f-commerce and how to best utilise this social network as a key business tool.