First there was e-commerce; then there was m-commerce, and now there is f-commerce to be added to the mix. Not only is electronic commerce on the internet, it has moved to mobile platforms, and now it is creeping ever deeper into Facebook – which brings us to f-commerce – the effort to capitalize on the Facebook crowd by placing purchasing opportunities directly within Facebook.
Facebook has over 500 Million Users worldwide, and 50% of them login on any given day. In Canada, as of March 9, 2011, there are 17,381,700 Facebook users. Considering a population of just under 34 million, retailers cannot ignore Facebook, and many of them have a Facebook page. While some of the initial outlooks on f-commerce appears to be a bit enthusiastic (1 in 4 have made purchases in Facebook already?), this is an area worthy of consideration.
It’s still early days for f-commerce, even though it’s been possible to order pizza via Facebook since I started this blog at the beginning of 2009, and Best Buy’s Facebook store has been in place for some time. I’ve not seen any Canadian based Facebook stores (yes there are some that link to their web based stores…let me know if you see any directly integrated!), but the links are evolving and a few more are starting to show up directly in Facebook. One interesting trend is the movement of CPGs into Facebook stores – Pampers , Dove, Heinz, and Coca-Cola are good examples. Another is that airlines are also entering the fray with Malaysia Airlines and Delta Airlines offering ticket purchases directly in Facebook. To top it off, there was an announcement this week that Warner Brothers will rent movies online via Facebook.
This means one more dizzying element to consider in marketing strategy for retailers, but nothing fundamental has changed. It’s all about selling product where customers want to buy. It comes down to presence and preference. Ensuring that wherever the targeted client wants to shop and where they expect to shop, they have the experience they expect from the retailer. The challenge is integrating the ever increasing number of potential consumer touchpoints into a cohesive strategy and mapping out how to use the budget available for the best result.