Social networking is driving what we buy, which means it’s influencing the way businesses are looking to sell.
The leading Ecommerce social portal is of course Facebook, dubbed F-Commerce, is there any wonder?
Last year Facebook overtook Google as the most visited website in the USA and is now the most visited website globally. This means it has quickly become the world’s most powerful search engine, with more than 750million users and counting.
Because Facebook is a demographic directory, not only holding user data, but tracking interests, the potential for online advertising and retailing is not only vast, but can be so finely targeted that the ROI can be immense.
Stats indicate that the average user has more than 130 friends and interacts with Facebook (they post, they indicate interest, they connect) on average 3 times per day.
The scale of these numbers is mouth-watering to internet retailers and their web marketers. Combined with the increased use of mobile and people prepared to buy using mobile, social shopping cannot be ignored, F-commerce is not only in the users face, but it’s got the in-built addition of viral, it is perfect.
Selling using Facebook can be done in various ways. The most common is utilising the social voting (Facebook Like) to allow your product pages to be shared, this is quick to achieve and highly effective as user interaction is minimal.
Facebook business account holders can create a Facebook shop for free, but this can be handled in different ways. The first is to use Facebook to show a catalogue, but any user interaction diverts them to an external shopping site, therefore taking the user away from Facebook which could reduce purchase volumes. The other method is to use a fully integrated solution using iFrames to supply custom content to Facebook pages, retaining the user for the full transactional process.
So is F-Commerce here to stay? Well many businesses are jumping in feet first, developers are building apps for fun and most ecommerce website builders are offering F-Commerce as an extension of their internet retail package.
Only time will tell. Some commentators believe that people use Facebook to communicate, not to be advertised too, and this could be the downfall – not for Facebook, but for the marketers that create overkill. Users have the option to opt-out, they will likely never opt-back in and form an opinion of the retailer that could affect sales through other channels.
For more information on how F-commerce could benefit your business, from social voting to fully integrated solutions, speak to Ascensor, web design Leeds and London.
Andrew J Firth