Online shopping has been around a long time (believe it or not, since 1979), so it is no surprise buyers have become comfortable with the experience. With online retail sales expected to top $278 billion in the US by 2015, it has clearly become a booming business. One of the best indicators of an online store’s success is traffic and no site has more traffic than Facebook. So why has fCommerce failed when eCommerce is thriving?
A recent article from Bloomberg points out that there’s no unique experience when shopping on Facebook. Buyers are much more familiar with, and therefore inclined to shop at, the company’s regular site. Because of this, several large retailers have opened and quickly closed Facebook stores within the last year. No one turns to Facebook to shop—for that, they’ve got Amazon or the company’s traditional website which is already convenient. However, they do turn to Facebook to socialize and this is where a solution can be found.
The best way to enable fCommerce to succeed is to get users to promote products. Everyone has seen this already—a friend shares a link to a funny t-shirt or interesting artisan sofa—and maybe their friends like it, comment or even follow the link. This is still a social activity so it keeps users engaged. The next step is to get them to buy through Facebook by enabling purchases directly from a news feed. The distinction here is that the users, not the brands, market the products — leveraging the strength of Facebook as a social utility.