Consumer take up of “f-commerce” – buying goods through Facebook – hasn’t been mind blowing and while eBay’s integration of the social graph may help, buying within social networks is still a long way off for most people.
Last week eBay announced the integration of Facebook’s Open Graph technology into its global commerce systems, including eBay, PayPal and Magento. It will mean that as people browse, buy and review on eBay platforms, they will be able to easily share and interact via Facebook.
This is a smart move, instantly upgrading the social features on eBay, but also adding a solid retail name into the list of companies who have deep integrations with Facebook, most of which are largely entertainment firms.
The fact still remains that very few people are interested in shopping on Facebook. Brands that jumped on the f-commerce bandwagon early, such as ASOS, Dune, HMV and Unilever, are yet to give any indication of how successful it’s been. French Connection still hasn’t launched its Facebook store, despite announcing its intentions back in February (nma.co.uk 10 February 2011). Domino’s has even shunned the idea of using f-commerce, despite being a brand that prides itself in innovation and one pioneering in the mobile commerce space, selling over £10m via iPhone alone (nma.co.uk 1 July 2011).
A study by Havas Media Social and Lightspeed Research in July also found that 89% of people had not bought anything via Facebook and 44% didn’t have any interest in doing so (nma.co.uk 1 July 2011).
The brands giving it a go should not be criticised for innovating, but wiser decision making around social integration will help to move consumers in a direction where they will feel comfortable with the idea.
A deep integration into a trusted ecommerce brand such as eBay will be good for Facebook’s reputation in the retail space and will be a real test as to how social media can help drive sales and word of mouth in online retail, but f-commerce still has a very long way to go.