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Social Commerce: Taking Social Media to the Extreme

Steve Susina • September 17, 2012

Facebook (FB) has become a great sales avenue. Some companies keep it simple and just use FB as an opportunity for site referrals. Other companies have used FB to create exclusive tabs (only after you like a company will you see their deals) on their page to increase their FB fan base. However, this year, it seems larger companies have taken this concept to a whole new level, especially JC Penney (JCP).

JCP has a fully integrated FB ecommerce application. And when I say fully, I mean you never get off of a FB URL. From login to checkout. Their FB page has every feature that a website would have- delivery options, promo codes, size and color selection, gift card options, shopping cart, check out, edit and remove products from cart, specify shipping address, ship to store, and pay with credit card. And all with pretty easy navigation.

The negatives: Load time is a little long and JCP only has six items per page. Also, from the looks of their wall, JCP didn’t anticipate the customer service level that FB would require. Lots of complaints.

Currently, FB has tons of potential for the business world. Companies are virtually and socially connected to their clients. Once a person likes a FB page, the company is golden. They have access to their client’s contact information, know what other products they like, where they live, what their interests are. It is a marketing Mecca!

I am curious though, how is FB going to change the face (no pun intended) of what we know now as eCommerce? As FB gets more advanced, what will happen in the next few years or 10 years? Will FB or some other social site become more of a powerhouse in the eCommerce world? The potential is gynormous!

Opportunity 1: Detailed Profiles
I already list my name, high school and family members. Why not have my profile be more detailed where I would list my favorite color or current style so that companies could then advertise specific items or trends? Or even better, send direct deals on those specific items?  It already happens on Google. Why not FB too?

Opportunity 2: Maven
Probably the best and most powerful opportunity on FB is ‘word of mouth’ marketing (or peer persuasion). If I know my friend Allie “likes” a new company I am certainly going to check it out.  It’s like Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point and the idea of a Maven – the “expert” friend whom you trust and who pushes new ideas/trends/etc. FB is set up to be the Maven Mastermind.

Opportunity 3: Celebrity Endorsements
I could also see companies publicizing on FB any of their styles that are worn by celebrities. For example, I am a huge fan of Tina Fey.  Let’s say Tina wore an amazing gown from JCP to the Emmy’s (it could happen, right?). JCP could post about the dress on their wall, send a FB email out to all Tina fans, or again, simply place a FB ad that shows up specifically on Tina Fey fan walls.

Opportunity 4: Integrating Banking and Shipping Information
Additionally, depending on security levels, could there also be a true FB account complete with our credit card information and shipping information so we wouldn’t have to bear the absolute worst part about online shopping- entering and re-entering your billing address, shipping address and credit card info? This information would be ready and available for any FB store, similar to Amazon’s one click option and Paypal.

As we all know, advances in technology don’t take decades to produce anymore. This integration is something that is still new, but obviously not inconceivable. For right now, FB is just an extension of eCommerce sites, but I am excited to see if in the next few years, FB gives eCom a run for its money. I mean, who would have guessed there would be a complete FB store? I surely didn’t.

Steve Susina

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Steve Susina

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