Recently there has been a lot of debate on whether the Facebook store front - f-commerce, is meeting the hype, despite several high profile f-commerce stores closing shops for failing to produce the expected return.
It was only a year ago that speculation began to linger on the internet, that f-commerce is the next big thing for on-line commerce, posing a threat to retailer giant Amazon given the size of Facebook's 800 + million users.
Why can't retailers get f-commerce to work?
While there has been great success claimed by some small businesses, big brands have failed to monetise from this social commerce revolution, with the likes of J.C. Penny, Gamestop, Nordstorm and Gap opening and closing their f-stores within a year.
Many have been discussing the reasons why f-commerce failed to take off for retailers, mainly being:
- Retailers failing to create the optimal f-store buying experience on a social networking site, with many replicating their on-line stores on f-stores.
- Facebook's commerce platform is somewhat restricted on customisations, thus damaging store-usability, branding incorporation and ultimately the overall customer experience.
- Facebook users are reluctant to engage in a purchase while they're in 'social mode'.
Despite the problems mentioned, there are still many success stories for adopting this social commerce platform.
Justin Thorne of E-consultancy reports that his clients in the event ticketing and hospitality industry have been profiting from selling on Facebook, and suggested a few ways to embrace f-commerce technology.
All that said, f-commerce still has significant benefits when applied correctly. Potentially, it can drive significant traffic to the main e-commerce sites, promoting sales and brand engaging activities.
Some businesses have labelled their f-store as an exclusive place for their fans to get special offers on products and services, thereby creating engagement and loyalty as a result of a great on-line buying experience.
There are some great f-store examples that can be found on the web. Those who would like to launch an f-store can model these successful cases. With these in mind, you can tweak your f-commerce strategy to suit your business, with the aim of creating a great social commerce experience for your Facebook fans.
My view is that there is still plenty to be done by Facebook and on-line retailers on connecting the dots between 'social' and 'commerce'. Expect rapid innovation on e-commerce technology, along with a growing number of businesses solving the social commerce puzzle in the coming years.