“By 2015 companies will generate 50 percent of web sales via social presences on mobile applications.”†
Facebook commerce, or f-commerce, is the new e-commerce, or so researchers like Gartner Inc. predict. They write that by 2016 social technologies will be fully integrated with business applications.‡ In other words social platforms like Facebook will be a seamless extension of the e-commerce world.
But questions and conversations about f-commerce continue. Though it is a practice applied very successfully by large brands, such as Coke, Lady Gaga and Pampers (to name just a few), f-commerce is still in its experimental phase, and demonstrable ROI varies from brand to brand. In addition businesses recognize that Facebook itself is not making any profit from its free hosting of brand page’s social sales leaving observers to wonder how Facebook will try to cash in on a bigger piece of the pie in the future.
Another question in the f-commerce conversation involves consumer reach: is anyone buying? A Forrester Research study reported that the conversion rate for a Facebook store is equal to that of a standard e-commerce store—between two and four percent. It also attracts traffic between one to 10 percent of the total fan base.§ These facts would suggest that retailers and marketers should consider a way of integrating their products into a Facebook storefront or strategy of some kind.
Actionable F-Commerce Tactics
Since f-commerce is still in the experimental stage, there are a great many recommendations on how businesses should implement it. Here are a few ideas to consider for your venture:
- Build up your fan base through promotions and content posting.
- Create an app or use an existing app to enhance your Facebook page, like the Twitter app, a video app or a gaming app.
- Make your Facebook page exclusive with giveaways and promotions for fans only.
- Use Facebook to trial new products or Facebook fan-only products.
- Build a Facebook storefront (options include the app Payvment or iFrames tabs), and market selective products that are different from those offered on your other channels.
Besides these ideas, it’s always good to see what your competitors are doing as well.
Finally, the entire concept of social commerce hinges on one main principle: making the right offer to the right person. The sheer amount of social data inherent in the network that is Facebook offers a chance for businesses to do exactly that. In this regard social commerce is the future, because it is a perfecting of target marketing that will allow businesses to communicate with their consumers directly, person to person, brand to fan.