Shop.org, the online retail division of the National Retail Federation, and web measurement firm comScore Inc. released a study last week which found that 58% of online consumers follow brands on Facebook, Twitter or their corporate blogs to find discounts, 49% to learn about products, 34% to read customer reviews, and 30% follow them to share information with other customers. Social commerce is big, and Facebook commerce is too: Facebook is now the top source of sign-ins for retail sites (TechCrunch, “Facebook Has Eclipsed Google As Most Popular Sign-In Choice, April 2011). The term “F-Commerce” denotes purchases driven by the world’s largest social network.
But it’s important to note that F-Commerce isn’t just about brands and commerce happening on the platform itself. Ethan Beard, director of the Facebook Developer Network, claims that Facebook’s interest “isn’t in getting people to create tabs where people can shop, but allowing consumers to shop wherever they are and helping them discover products through their friends.” According to Jamie Turner, author of “How To Make Money with Social Media,” the smartest brands “create circular momentum across many platforms” when designing their social media campaigns (Inc. Magazine, “How To Monetize Social Media,” April 2011).
The brands getting the most social commerce value are the ones who make themselves and their products discoverable through activities that Facebook certainly fosters, but doesn’t necessarily host. Facebook comments, sponsored ads and Like buttons on corporate websites are all ways Facebook catalyzes commerce in the broader online ecosystem.
Designer clothing retailer Tea Collection is embracing the possibilities that various Facebook features provide the firm across its properties. In the words of CEO Leigh Rawdon: “It’s great when someone uses either the Like button or comments, because they aren’t only endorsing the product. They’re spreading news of the product so that all of their friends see it. And that helps introduce us to new people.”
What features are you using to foster your brand’s social commerce?