by Neil Jones
Monetizing a site is a must for most of us, we need to pay wages, hosting fees and the list goes on. Most of us throw up an AdSense block or maybe an affiliate offer but when you are Facebook you have to look at it a little differently. Facebook don’t just throw up an affiliate offer, they throw up an all-in-one ecommerce platform, well maybe not Mark Zuckerberg personally but you can bet he is in the somewhere pulling the strings and finally introduced Fcommerce to the world at his keynote speech last year.
In the space of the 3 months what was once a route to market that only a select few retailers could invest in is now open to everyone. I’m still amazed at what can happen in such a short space of time. There is now well over a dozen integrated Fcommerce shopping carts offering a fully integrated shopping experience directly from a fan page. The potential is enormous, about 500 million members’ worth of potential in fact.
So what does it mean to ecommerce?
Well for starters if you have a large fan base you have a pretty good head start on the rest of us and if you don’t you’d better get friendly real quick.
Social media has a bad reputation for driving poor quality traffic and that is true to a degree, but if you have built up a fan base that like what you do or your products, then you should be able to put this myth to bed. With Fcommerce the rules have changed and if you have been building and interacting with your fan base you may be surprised at how well an store may be received.
There are a couple of things to remember.
If you have read much about ecommerce, you will know that you have interact with potential customer anything up to 7 times before they commit to buying. If you are interacting with your Fan base this part of the persuasion process should be covered.
You will also have the trust factor on your side, as most of the shopping carts allow you to checkout without leaving Facebook, you may find customers will pass further down the sales funnel without dropping off.
Because you are trading through Facebook, the social aspect will play an even more important role. With a traditional ecommerce store, you will always have some disgruntled customers, maybe they received a bad service or maybe they have nothing better to do then complain about the service they received. You may find the occasional rant about your product or service, which in most cases is not necessarily a big deal and can be swept under the preverbal carpet pretty easily.
This I’m afraid is not going to be the case with Fcommerce, Social media is now the number one pastime on the net (it ever surpasses porn) and Facebook is the largest social site on the web so it’s inevitable that most people will spend the majority of their time on that site and if any customers have a gripe about you or your business they will let the world know about it through your fan page and this can be devastating because it is directly linked to your shop.
If anything you will need to monitor the service you offer and indeed how you deal with unhappy customers more closely than with a traditional store as this type of negative feedback will have a direct impact on sales. With that said the exact opposite can also happen, where your customers are delighted with your product they will happily tell the world about it directly on your fan page.
Though it’s pretty clear to see that these shopping cart may not be the most advanced I have seen, the fact that the industry is so young it’s really impressive to see what they have achieved in such a short space of time.
Though some big names have already launched shopping sites, the NBA, UFC and JCPenny, which were some of the first and subsequently the most well publicized here are just a few that I liked and they showed, that you don’t have to be a multinational to make Fcommerce work for you. Take a look around this new platform and you will see stores selling everything from Tea To Hoodies and probably everything in between.
This is a guest post by Neil Jones who is head of marketing for eMobileScan, one of Europes leading providers to the data capture industry. Specialising in handheld computers like the Motorola LS2208 and Motorola MC70