Six weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Shop.org Summit in Boston, Mass. This particular summit is one of the largest conferences for online retailers. Over 400 participants attended, 225 vendors appeared and seven influential keynote speakers presented over a three day period. As with all major conferences, certain trends stood out: mobile e-commerce, cross-channel marketing and social shopping. I certainly agreed that the first two topics were up and coming, but I was not so sure about the last. Facebook has already surpassed all expectations by becoming the social network of choice and advertising powerhouse, but does it really have a future as an e-commerce platform?
Experts are saying, “Yes.” Forrester Analyst Sucharita Malpuru says, “Facebook is a communication tool and place for people to share their thoughts with one another. You have the same way as if you’re chatting with friends.” She says there is lots of opportunity, but you have to keep in mind that some products are more social than others.
Although, f-commerce is still a relatively new marketing phenomenon, brands have already seen success. For instance, Ticketmaster found that users spent an additional $5.30 on events after seeing that a friend bought a ticket for an upcoming event. Their triumph should be no surprise since their industry is extremely social; I’m sure your plans and your friends’ plans for the weekend often comes up in conversation. Plus, their key target audience is women, aged 18 and younger, also, a key social media user.
Back when the Facebook Storefront discussion back in March, there were only two key Facebook commerce software providers: Payvment and 8thBridge. Today, there is more than an abundance of providers available. It seems many businesses also see potential in the idea of f-commerce.
If experts and business hopefuls agree and success stories are any indicator, maybe Facebook has an opportunity to become a major player in the e-commerce arena. Like every other new trend, we will just have to wait and see.