Profile: Jeremy Gilley

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'Forget F-commerce, make your site social'

Retailers should concentrate on building social features into their own websites rather than trying to encourage consumers to make transactions on Facebook, research suggests.

Asos Facebook Store

Asos closed its Facebook store recently, favouring social widgets on its own site.

Just one in four people have followed a link from Facebook to make a purchase, yet a third say their purchase decisions have been influenced by social media, according to research from MPG Media Contacts and Lightspeed Research.

Of those who use social media for inspiration, 47 per cent are inspired by images, 46 per cent take recommendations from friends and 38 per cent look at brand pages.

MPG says the findings suggest there is a “huge opportunity” for brands to apply “window shopping” and social tactics to their own online stores as consumers are still uncomfortable with purchasing through social networks.

Consumers want stores with customer reviews, user generated images and easy ways to stamp their approval on products via social widgets such as Like, Tweet and +1 buttons, according to Amy Kean, head of consumer innovation at MPG.

She adds that the launch of Facebook’s new “Want” button – which allows users to build up a wishlist of items that friends can click straight through and buy from online stores – will enhance retailers’ social displays even further.

“Brands have spent years making their sites consumer-friendly, focusing on usability, baskets and conversion to drive that all important sale – however, last year there was a sudden trend for taking e-commerce functionalities outside of a brand’s own website to create transactional applications on Facebook, for example. We’ve seen from the limited success of these ‘stores’ - with most now having been removed - that this isn’t what consumers want,” Kean says.

Examples of retailers already applying social rules to their websites include Domino’s, which allows customers to create and name their own pizza to share with friends; the Nando’s mobile app, which is linked with Facebook so consumers can create their own “Nando’s events” with friends; and Asos, which has social widgets for each of its products. Asos also launched a Facebook store last year, but this has since closed.

Travel brands, such as Trip Advisor have also taken steps to socialise their sites by allowing Facebook logins so visitors can see where their friends have rated holidays previously.

The research was carried out by MPG using Lightspeed Research’s online panel, using a nationally representative survey of 1,000 respondents. ISBA members were also surveyed via MPG’s Fabric Panel.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Hi Lara,

    I come from the F-commerce industry, and these are my thoughts:

    Bloomberg decided to show only a few failed attempts of F-commerce, and didn't provide even one brand that succeed in F-commerce.
    Companies like Gap Asos, and Gamestop, closed their stores because the company that built their stores, Adgregate Markets, closed its doors.
    A lot of these big brands created stores on Facebook that didn’t fit the Facebook ecosystem, which is based on social elements and open graph usage.
    However, we’re positive that they will use the knowledge they have gained from this experience and develop an improved storefront - one with a better social experience.

    Facebook is already directly responsible for billions of dollars of 3rd party commerce transactions resulting in its social plugins and Open Graph API.
    There are great examples for F-commerce campaigns like the launch of Heinz ‘Get Well’ Soup cans: 4 weeks, 2,127 sales – 1 sale per 8 fans – and a 200% (32,810) increase in Facebook ‘Likes’.

    We at StoreYa (http://www.StoreYa.com), see an enormous traction, there's an amazing daily growth of merchants, creating their own Facebook shops. There's no doubt that F-commerce is the next step in the eCommerce evolution, but it will take some time.
    Duplicating your eCommerce store to Facebook will not do the trick..You must provide the merchants with engagement tools, such as: Fans-firsts, Fans exclusive deals & discounts, this adds an important added value to the social shopping experience.

    Mia

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  • Well I would not agree fully on this. There are still many f-commerce success stories booking a repeated increase of sales of more than 200 to 300%. Replicating the social experience Facebook provides, on any company's e-commerce site is just difficult. If f-commerce is failing in some cases its because people try to duplicate e-commerce on Facebook. F-commerce is not e-commerce on Facebook.

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  • I agree F-commerce is not ecommerce on facebook the two business approaches need to be totally different, people go to facebook mainly for rest and fun buy is not primarly on their mind so you have to catch the customer for fun and then to buy. I think in future will see a gamification of F-commerce, and it will be as soon as the gambling regulations over the net will take place.

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