f-commerce is simply selling with Facebook, is a form of social commerce that supports social interaction and user contributions, to assist in the ecommerce.
The business objective of f-commerce is facilitate and execute sales transactions using Facebook. The results can be seen on driving customer acquisition, customer loyalty (re-purchase) and customer advocacy (word of mouth), and finally improve the customer experience.
Arguments in favour:
- Facebook is where your customers are (750 mm active users Facebook timeline July 2011)
- Facebook is already a sales platform; e.g. top 3 brands directly sell on Facebook: Coca-Cola ($24m), Starbucks ($20m) and Disney ($19m)
- Customers say the principal reasons for connecting with businesses on social sites are to buy and for deals
- Users spend up to 1.5x more online than other online users
- Increases conversion; 51% increase in likelihood a customer will purchase and 28% repurchase, after clicking the ‘like’ button
Arguments in against:
- Booz & Allen report on social commerce found that 73% of online shoppers would not purchase goods on Facebook
- Facebook has a “reputation for bad privacy policies”
- Facebook is better for marketing than selling; it’s useful for promoting content marketing and brand personality
- Enabling e-commerce on Facebook, when you already have an e-commerce could create redundancy and/or channel conflicts
Types of f-commerce “On Facebook”:
- Storefront only: product catalogs linked to product pages on an external e-commerce site. Advantages easy to set up and no need of back-end integration. Providers: Shop Tab.
- Full stores: full e-commerce experience optimised for and inside Facebook. The full product catalog, shopping cart and the checkout process are all within Facebook. Advantages include increasing customer exposure to a full range of products and higher conversion rates. Providers: Usablenet and 8th bridge (known before as Alvenda).
- Fan stores: similar to full stores, but offering a limited range of Facebook fan only exclusive products, this kind of stores are typically used to support an event, launch or campaign. Providers: Moontoast and Payvment.
Types of f-commerce “Off facebook”:
- Traditional ecommerce sites that integrate with Facebook to offer users a better shopping experience by using Facebook Open Graph Protocol.
What is Open Graph Protocol?:
The Open Graph Protocol is a solution for external websites to get integrated into a Facebook user’s social graph, this means their personal map of connections with people, photos, events, and pages. Social plug-ins are Facebook.
- Facebook social plug-ins (extensions specially designed to enhance the social experience of the customer): Like button, Share button, activity feeds, recommendations, like box, registration, Facebook connect, send, Facepile comments and live stream. To review with more detail please click Facebook’s developers page here.
- Facebook deals: allows local retailers to drive loyalty by offering special discount coupons to users who check-in to their venue. Samples: individual, friend, loyalty and charity deals.
Examples of f-commerce:
- 1-800 flowers.com: $34 first transaction ever to take place in Facebook at 11.50 am EST on July 8, 2009 for bouquet of flowers
- Best buy: uses f-stores to encourage shoppers to share their purchases (Shop + Share)
- ASOS: e-tailer opens up a full f-store with international delivery
- Delta Airlines: first airline ticketing store in Facebook (you can only book tickets using Facebook in USA only)