Facebook about to change the face of ecommerce?

By December 20, 2010 6 Comments

Bloomberg has an article today about Facebook’s push into ecommerce.  Apparently Facebook is:

teaming up with startups, vendors, and even giant Internet rivals to turn Facebook pages into online shopping outlets fuelled by recommendations from friends who "like" to buy

This will be interesting to watch.  I am keen to see which ‘Internet rivals’ are keen to work with Facebook.

Back in September I wrote a post asking whether social commerce is about to have its moment and made the point that smart way to make ecommerce social is help people ‘connect where they buy and buy where they connect’.  Given that Facebook is pretty much the first and last word in social at the moment, that means integrating Facebook into the ecommerce site and building ecommerce pages on Facebook.

The benefit for consumers is that they will then be able to see what their friends have liked and/or bought as they go through their purchase process and the benefit for ecommerce businesses should be improved conversion.  I say ‘should be’ because businesses selling poor products, or with poor delivery/customer service will likely see conversions fall.  I can foresee a day in the not too distant future where we all think twice and maybe three times before buying from a site that isn’t integrated with Facebook – and that might even include Amazon.

All of this means that Facebook is in a very important position because their data and a presence on their site could become an important driver of conversion, margins and success for ecommerce businesses.  I have heard that Facebook is letting media companies have free access to their API to power their recommendations services, and I haven’t heard anything to suggest that they will start charging ecommerce companies – but even if they were planning to charge down the line I wouldn’t expect them to frighten potential partners off by either charging today or talking about future plans to charge.

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