In part-1, we discussed the importance of F-Commerce and what can be done with it. In this article, we discuss more details of how Facebook as a platform can benefits the merchant by making it easy and value-rich for both buyers and sellers.

Now that you are getting excited about using Facebook in your business for generating awareness, drive and sustain engagement, and maybe actually do sale, let’s get deeper into the benefits offered by Facebook both to the merchant and to the buyer. Facebook crossed 1 billion users yesterday, and now there are still more reasons to be there for you.

Benefits of using Facebook for Commerce

  • Word-of-Mouth Advertising – Facebook Likes are ubiquitous, and are almost universally used to generate awareness and engagement. While it is not easy to generate lots of ‘likes’ for your product or store, if your content can drive this, it gets you the best way to achieve word of mouth advertising which is very valuable.
  • Reputation management and feedback tool – There are a huge number of potential customers as well as existing buyers. Their feedback can help build brand reputation. Positive feedback from existing customers can be promoted. Hence, it is also a great reputation management tool.
  • Lead Generation – A recommendation from an existing customer can interest the members connected to the profile.
  • Marketing Limited Edition Products – Most companies bring out such products, so they can pique the interest of the users. For instance, Heinz launched limited edition flavor ketchup and it was only available to those who like the Heinz page. So promotion and sales opportunities went hand in hand.
  • Product Recommendations – Product recommendations can be based on user interest and other details about the user which Facebook already has – what sort of interest they carry and groups they have. If with time, a user changes their preference, the products that are recommended to them also changes.
  • e-Commerce, Flexible payments – One such ecommerce enabler for Facebook is Payvment, which allows you to open a store on your Facebook page very easily. You only need email address, Facebook page and PayPal account. Facebook also allows flexibility of payments by allowing you to use Facebook Credits.
  • Ease of purchase – Customers need not spent huge amount of time when they transact. It is in fact possible to select products, see delivery details, and include personal message without interrupting the Facebook experience. 1-800 Flowers is a name to recon in selling on Facebook.
  • Social Shopping – People like to discuss their purchases with friends. They also like to discuss and plan what they want to buy. Facebook enables these experiences easily and by design, hence making the shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. This also helps in easy discovery of products by their friends. Facebook’s open graph technology can be used to show customers, if they have any friends with birthdays or anniversaries coming up, whether or not they would like to purchase gifts for them. This enables brands to shape ecommerce experience for the people.

However, there are many skeptics who don’t believe in F-commerce.

Opinions against F-commerce

  • Fairness of Business model – Currently Facebook takes a commission of 30% on any transaction that uses Facebook credits. The impact of such transaction is already apparent. Zynga, which has already many popular games in Facebook, Farmvillle, CityVille and Mafia Wars, is unveiling Zynga Direct. This is because they no longer want to hand over the 30% revenue to Facebook.
  • Size of addressable market – There is also a huge debate on whether those billion users of Facebook are as eager to ‘buy’ a product as they are to ‘share’.
  • Privacy Issues – Facebook has been criticized for lots of issues, and privacy is no exception. Information about a buyer and connected friends and family members are available to Facebook and the merchants. When users buy as a guest on flipkart, merchants only know about their shipping address. When they buy on Facebook, Merchants know all the users friends, what user or their friends have been discussing, and all kinds of details from timeline, which scares many people.

Overall, benefits of the platform far outweigh the criticisms leveled against it, especially when you use it selectively and with the right strategy. In the next article, we will discuss some of the strategies you can employ and ways you can use Facebook to good effect. Stay tuned!