The Year of F-Commerce
By David Dorf on Jan 20, 2011
There are three internet sites I use daily: MyYahoo! to check stocks, news, and RSS feeds; Google to search; and Facebook to stay connected. With Facebook exceeding 500 million users, at least half of which logon daily, I have to wonder just how big it can get. I finally saw The Social Network (excellent movie) this past weekend, and was fascinated when Mark Zuckerberg's character said something to the effect...
We don't even know what it is yet. We don't know what it is. We don't know what it can be. We don't what it will be. We know that it is cool. That is a priceless asset I'm not giving up.
We still don't know exactly what Facebook is because it keeps changing. Here's another great quote:
It won't be finished. That's the point. The way fashion's never finished.
Jake over at the AppsLab has an interesting post that describes the many things Facebook is. His conclusion is that Facebook is the internet -- it does everything you did on the internet before Facebook was around, albeit poorly in many aspects. Its kinda like AOL was in the 1990s.
One of the key emerging capabilities of Facebook is the storefront. With people spending over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook, f-commerce is sure to be an important channel for retailers. Several retailers have opened limited storefronts that are closely linked to their e-commerce site for checkout, but JCPenney is the first I know of that offers their entire product catalog inside Facebook. This will be a big trend this year.
What will make f-commerce different than e-commerce is the social experience. Think of it as moving the POS closer to the water-cooler. People will be able to discuss products before, during, and after the sale within the Facebook environment. I don't know exactly how this will bear out, but you can be sure it will include advanced analytics that help understand demand drive consumer behavior.
Traditional web-stores won't disappear nor will physical stores, but f-commerce will be an important channel for retailers of all sizes.