White elephant eCommerce on Facebook
There is a growing feeling that Facebook and other social properties will begin to join forces with online retailers to sell real products on their networks.
In fact when Catharine Taylor asked thought leaders to consider what is ahead for 2010, John Dudley, an editor at Hampden-Sydney College suggested that “At least one major retailer will develop an e-commerce Facebook app that will replace its entire “traditional” e-commerce Web site.
What does this really mean?
Can it mean that retailers will just increase their efforts by beefing up their fan page or throwing up some additional advertising on the walls?
No.. Mr Dudley is suggesting that e-commerce will move an actual sales channel into Facebook. This effort would require that a retailer build a storefront on the Facebook super highway. With a social network based store, users could stop and shop without leaving the Facebook system. They could use their regular profile, their recognized PayPal account and have UPS deliver the goods to their door. They would find shopping and sharing with distant family and friends a seamless experience.
What type of retailer would take that risk?
We suggest that gift merchants are the perfect group for the move toward an e-commerce/Facebook partnership, and here is why:
* Gift giving among family and friends sends about $115 Billion dollars into cash registers every year, in just the US alone.
* The concept of sharing gifts (virtual, at least) in Facebook is not a new concept, so selling real gifts through this space is not a giant leap.
* Facebook users have demonstrated that they want to stay connected and supportive to even the most distant contacts.
* Established affiliate sales systems provide the framework to track and administer the sales efforts.
Adding to this concept of e-commerce on social networks, a year end discussion on advertising trends suggest that; “Social media will provide a new sales channel for establishing product awareness and commercializing brands to better support traditional advertising or text-based ads”.
The keyword in this statement is the mention of a new sales channel, supported by advertising and other internet based tools. The integration of retail sales and online tools will provide the wise e-commerce pioneers with a head start into this emerging opportunity.
Which e-commerce retailer could take advantage of this emerging trend?
Amazon should be on the list, and so should Ebay. But Wal-Mart or Target could make a big move with this effort as well. Then there is Buy.com, Overstock.com and other 2nd tier online retailers, who might be looking for some differentiation from the big dogs in e-commerce.
It might be interesting to explore the possibility that an e-commerce retailer could use an engaging Facebook application to assist in gathering family and friends together to purchase gifts and share with each other.
We really like this idea…!!!
The AlbinoPhant Creators
Your Party 2.0 Specialists