Social commerce is estimated to reach $30 Billion (yes, that's Billion with a 'B') in the next 5 years. How is that possible? Facebook Commerce is more than just Liking product pages. There are 7 dimensions driving Facebook Commerce that make up the "F-Commerce Ecosphere," as shared by Janice Diner, founding partner of Horizon Studios, a social media consultancy at the Meshwest conference this week in Vancouver, BC.
The F-Commerce Ecosphere
Commerce Inside Facebook.com
Since the first in-Facebook retail transaction in 2009, many e-businesses have launched their own Shop tabs on their Facebook Pages that either redirect to their website or support real-money shopping right on the Page.
Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories
Ads and Sponsored Stories are advertising options, messages appear in the sidebar and in the News Feed.
Facebook Credits is a virtual currency redeemable for digital goods (like games, movies and paid apps) and virtualgoods inside games (extra lives, character enhancements, etc). Facebook Credits can be used for micropayments inside mobile apps.
Considering Zynga sells 38,000 virtual items every second, this stuff is pretty popular with consumers. In 2010, Zynga's virtual goods revenue topped 575 Million. The virtual goods insdustry is expected to total 1.2 Billion this year. Facebook Credits gift cards can be purchased online or in supermarket checkout aisles, or can even be earned as loyalty incentives. Through the Shopkick mobile app, customers can earn rewards points for store check-ins, similar to Foursquare. Move over Netflix, Credits can be redeemed for movie rentals too.
Open Graph Facebook Commerce
Facebook Mobile Platform
Facebooks mobile apps allow status updates on-the-go that push to Notifications, Requests, Timeline and News Feed, which may be shopping related.
Facebook Open Graph Beta
Open Graph 2.0 will move beyond the "Like," "Share" and "Recommend" buttons to incorporate a new set of “verbs and nouns” like "I Like," "I Want," or "I Bought." These actions can be pushed through Timeline, Newsfeed and Ticker. (Stay tuned).
Facebook Social Plugins
Plug ins allow users to perform Facebook functions on your site. Think "Like," "Share" and "Recommend" buttons, fan widgets and comment boxes. Facebook Places and Location Tab Did you know Facebook is stealthily cataloginging physical location data for every Facebook business Page? This data can be integrated online and in-store via the mobile experience. For example, Walmart uses one's zipcodeto personalize its Page with offers, new products and special events. Another amazing (and a bit creepy) use for location info is Ticketmaster's Interactive Seat Map, which lets you locate where your friends are sitting in a theater.
While I'd be hesitant to say anyone's making a mint off selling physical goods through Facebook, many brands have found it an important space to connect with fans. (See how I avoided saying "engage" there?) There's a lot of opportunity to play around with social marketing, even if you don't use all aspects of the ecosystem. It's an interesting animal to watch, we'll see what 2012 brings in terms of innovation and opportunity with Facebook commerce. If you'd like to play with the full presentation deck, check it out below:
Looking for help with ecommerce strategy? Contact the Elastic Path Research & Strategy team at email@example.com to learn how our ecommerce strategy services can improve your business results.