(Originally written on Monday, August 27, 2012 http://officialsqeeqee.blogspot.com/)
There are plenty of blogs and opinions about Facebook’s “F-commerce,” which in our humble opinion has many flaws, was not well planned, and was not well developed on a platform created with users and consumers in mind. F-commerce was created to help “facilitate” and execute sales transactions through Facebook. The first thought that comes our mind is, “Why?” Why do we need Facebook to “facilitate" things for us? If we want to buy something from Macy’s, we could just go directly to the Macy’s site to shop. If we want to buy things from Amazon, again, we would go directly there. The world of e-commerce didn’t need a “facilitator” before, so why would it need one now?
While we believe that “social commerce” will be huge in its own right soon enough, it will NOT happen with how Facebook thinks it will—through its F-commerce setup. Here are some of the flaws with F-commerce. Due to the layout of F-commerce on Facebook’s Beta platform, it will not work and would never work. This platform was formed with just two things in mind: cranking more dollars into Facebook’s pocket and connecting itself with larger retailers. Levi's Friends Store, 1-800-Flowers, Diesel's DieselCam, etc., all are some of the initial stores that supported F-commerce type of transactions on Facebook. Facebook actually informed the world in its “F-commerce FAQs” that the first transaction for 1-800-Flowers occurred back in July of 2009. We are now in August of 2012. It has been over three years. F-commerce has not made a presence in our day-to-day lives while Facebook’s number of users has since increased to nearly a billion. Can we then conclude that F-commerce is a failed system?
Even though Amazon and eBay lack the “instant interaction” that is trending today, their e-commerce sites work because they built them keeping consumers in mind. Consumers are the key to their success. The opposite is true with Facebook. The instant interaction is there, but why hasn’t F-commerce enjoyed the same popularity as Facebook itself? Simple. Facebook’s F-commerce strategy is based on facilitating with large retailers like the 1-800-Flowers of the world and the Levi's of the world but fails to recognize that the true assets that Facebook has are its 1 billion users.
Take Facebook’s search tool for example. If a user wants to buy a Lady Gaga CD, he/she puts in Facebook’s search task bar “lady gaga cd,” and what does he/she see? Nothing. It shows a dozen pages with Lady Gaga’s name included, but nothing more. How does this help consumers?
Facebook should concentrate on its core assets (its billion users) and work from there. Who doesn't have something to sell? If we aren’t a small business retailer, we may have used books, an old phone, or imported products from around the world. Our friends are our potential customers. After all, these billion users did help Facebook become a $100 billion company at the launch of its IPO. Isn’t it time for Facebook to think about these users? Who wouldn’t want to own his/her own business? Facebook could easily help build 1 billion small businesses—a G-commerce (global commerce)—and in doing so, eventually see huge financial rewards in its bottom line.
There can always be another “MySpace” platform on the rise. Facebook’s core mission should be not only to grow its users, but to retain them. As Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”