If there is one trend that I am very excited about over the coming 12 months it has to be commerce through Facebook. I’m not talking about sites building a following and pushing people off to their own E-commerce platforms but people actually buying goods within Facebook. I think we are at the very early stages of this trend and I think it’s something that could explode as shopping is matched up with your social graph and it could be massively accelerated by Facebook further expanding their credits offering which at the moment is mostly used in games on the platform. Think of shopping in the real world and what an incredibly social experience it is and how much of an influence your friends have over your buying habits and it makes you wonder just how huge the potential is for this market on Facebook. I wanted to look at some of the early examples of this happening on Facebook right now…
One of the first big brands to embrace this sector were the NBA who built their own custom store to sell all sorts of basketball goods. All the shopping happens within Facebook but you can imagine that they had some huge development costs as this is not a simple thing to build.
Amazon Gift Cards
So this one has only just launched and what it basically does is it allows you to give Amazon gift cards to people via Facebook. It pulls in their personal information (this will never be revealed) and posts the card to the person’s wall. You can imagine how perfect this would be for things like birthdays and crucially with this being super simple to use and very much integrated with your social stream you can see these spreading very quickly.
Facebook Vendor that allows pretty much anybody to have a store on Facebook within a couple of minutes. You can choose how to display your products by splitting them in to different categories and the most interesting element here is that you can have different pricing for fans and non fans so you are in effect creating a commercial reason for people to become fans of your page to get discounts.
This is a tool that offers plenty of features that will allow you to create a customized shopping experience within Facebook including taking over 20 currencies, shopping right within Facebook, adding your shopping experience to multiple pages as well as lots of sharing features for Facebook. A little bit of technical knowledge needed to get this one up and running but if you are serious about selling on Facebook then well worth having a look at.
So this one makes the list even though it doesn’t really let you actually do the commerce part of the job on Facebook itself. What it does Is it pulls in your listings from the commerce store “Big Commerce”. Clicking on any of the products will take you to their own store interface but it does allow you to show off lots of products and for users to share those products through their wall etc. Not a full commerce solution but somewhere half way in the middle.