F-commerce. No, seriously, F-commerce. This term is what the following article is about, and it is NOT an abbreviation for an expletive. F-commerce is the next big thing in social commerce, which was of course the next big thing in e-commerce. Confused? Good. Read on and all will become clear.
E-commerce is likely the term that most casual readers will be familiar with. The “E” stands for electronic, and e-commerce can be defined as the sale of any product or service over the Internet. Buying a book on Amazon is an example of participation in e-commerce, and so too is finding a local pest control service for your home. E-commerce is broad and all encompassing. It is the macro level of online retail of which S and F-Commerce are smaller components.
S-commerce stands for social commerce, which is just the use of social platforms in the context of e-commerce activities. So while buying a book on Amazon is an act of e-commerce, tweeting that you just bought the book on Amazon is an act of social commerce. This term is a bit more ambiguous than e-commerce, mostly because there are such a vast variety of social platforms on the web. If you’ve ever recommended a product via a social platform, however, you have participated in s-commerce.
Okay, we’ve made it to the really exciting one. F-commerce stands for Facebook-commerce. This field is brand new, so new that as of the writing of this article there’s not even a Wikipedia page for it yet. Pay attention, because if you can grasp F-commerce early you will be light years ahead of your competition.
F-commerce is the act of actually selling products and services directly to consumers through Facebook. This is done through companies’ fan pages, which are set up like online stores. F-stores are made using third party platforms, and the costs can vary. Some companies charge tens of thousands of dollars to set up fan stores, but it doesn’t have to be that expensive. One company, Tab Juice, actually let’s you set up your Facebook store for free. Once your store is up and running, you can display products and make sales directly on your Facebook page. This set up is perfect both for companies and consumers, because shoppers are able to make purchases without any disruptions to their social activities.
Not sure if F-commerce is for real? That’s understandable, and like any new technology there is going to be some resistance. It is very telling, however, that Bacardi recently shifted 90% of their online advertising budget to Facebook. Even more telling is the amount of fan stores already on the social networking giant. Try searching “fan pages” next time you’re on Facebook, you will be shocked to see how many major companies already have f-stores set up.
E + S + F-Commerce = Game Changer
When we do our shopping on company websites, the activity is private. We log on to wherever, browse around, and make a purchase. F-commerce is such a game changer because it integrates e-commerce and social commerce in one place. We still have the e-commerce component, but we can also share what we’ve purchased, and “like” products at the same time. F-commerce is smaller than e-commerce, yet its sum effect is greater because it is more powerful. If you are a company, you should jump on this train now to open up a whole new stream of revenue. If you’re a consumer, it’s good that you understand this new wave of commerce because it is highly likely to affect the way you spend your money.