As e-commerce became a standard sales channel for brands, will f-commerce also become a channel for sales? Every discussion of Facebook being a dominant channel for a specific purpose starts with a revisit of the usage statistics on Facebook. The numbers are so massive that it is worth considering every single time, however, not every time the numbers pave the way to a successful business model.
Facebook publicly shares that it has 1.35 billion active users who drive word-of-mouth every single second. 72% of online adults visit Facebook at least once a month. Considering that a user spends daily on average 21 minutes on Facebook, we all acknowledge that the social network giant is an integral part of our every day lives. These statistics are massive and promise great opportunities for companies, most importantly making Facebook a huge potential for sales.
There are various ways brands can use Facebook as a sales channel. The most popular is the ‘social plug-ins’, embedding Facebook like and share buttons within the brand’s own website. In this way, brands earn more fans on Facebook where they are actively publishing content about their products and services. Moreover, by sharing the products/services on their own wall, customers of the brand generate content on behalf of the brand, which is precious to reach masses. Social plug-ins become even more engaging, as the users can view which of their friends on Facebook liked the same brand.
Some brands use their Facebook page as a channel to showcase their products and by adding a link for each post, they direct users to their website where the real sales takes place. Amazon does this very well. By publishing interesting content, they aim to earn the curiosity of their fans and generate traffic to their website. Facebook becomes a lead generation tool and the customers then complete their purchase on the company’s website.
Nowadays, brands are being more innovative by turning their Facebook page into a complete e-commerce portal where end-to-end sales takes please. By partnering with intermediary solution providers, brands now can built their f-commerce site and in this way the customer journey is not interrupted, as the customers have a chance to complete their purchase on Facebook without being directed to the brand’s website. More and more software companies are providing solutions to brands to build their own f-commerce site on Facebook in addition to their e-commerce site.
Moreover, some other brands are also adding a human-touch to social selling by adding video-call option on Facebook where the brand representative directly interacts with their customer to complete the sales on the video call. More and more banks are opening their Facebook branches, where via live interaction, they perform direct sales.
The success of f-commerce is still debatable as there is a strong opinion that the users visit Facebook to follow up with their friends rather than shopping. This was the initial purpose of Facebook, which is dominantly adopted by the users. However, we cannot not deny the social factor in shopping and how word-of-mouth on Facebook helps brands engage with their customers and sell more.