I was reading a great article on Facebook shopping/commerce at socialmediatoday.com. The article ( http://socialtimes.com/fcommerce-now_b65147 ) had some great points about how Facebook could be utilized as an online shopping destination. There are already some companies using Facebook as part of their ecommerce strategy and they do have an online store via facebook. Most often the Facebook online store simply are product images with links back to their own online store, but that’s due to customers feeling more secure making purchases on a company’s secure online store and not facebook....yet.
There were some great points in the article about why Facbeook could become a great online shopping destination. They were as follows:
1. Facebook is a mall — Millions visit Facebook daily for an increasing number of their digital-life activities — catching up with friends, playing games, sending messages, etc. The Facebook mall has the amenities; now it’s ready for the shops. Creating an on-Facebook storefront has a rather low barrier to entry. Facebook is likely to keep it that way until shopping starts to scale and, perhaps, beyond. As it has done with advertising, we can look forward to Facebook encouraging the creation of F-shops buy providing information to brands on how to best create Facebook commerce sites and featuring success stories.
2. Users will spend more time on Pages — Studies show that, currently, the overwhelming number of users rarely return to pages they Like and are mostly exposed to brands on their News Feed, the Facebook destination of choice. That’s going to change.
The number of monetization and data collection opportunities on the News Feed is too limited for Facebook and, consequently, for brands. In addition, all other benefits of social media engagement aside, corporations are best motivated when they are provided with the clearest link between their advertising and marketing expenses to their sales. Over time, Facebook’s feature structure will evolve to encourage more discovery across a greater number of platform destinations.
3. Be where your customers are — Brekke argues that retailers already have customers buying on their website and, as they are not present on their Facebook Pages, ads to drive traffic to an F-store may be misguided. Let’s set aside the possibility that, as a result of forces that include, but go beyond, Facebook, web commerce declines. In the bricks-and-mortar world, would a retailer be happy to cede business across town when he can stock a rent-free store just down the street from his competitor? No way. How is that logical on Facebook?
4. Today’s retailers are not tomorrow’s F-stores — In the nascent days of web commerce, few would have predicted that so many big winners would be dedicated companies (e.g., Amazon) and not the established stores everyone knew and frequented.
If retailers just modify their web pages to Facebook without a social strategy, they are going to fail. Successful F-shops are likely to offer fewer, more targeted products based on information culled from users’ social graph. Potentially, the experience of shopping on Facebook could be like going to a mall only with stores with stuff the individual shopper Likes. Yes, with a capital “L.”
5. Credit where credit is due — It makes sense for Facebook to work to maximize the number of ways Facebook Credits can be earned and spent on its platform. Brands that use Facebook Credits for Facebook Deals may move to accepting the virtual currency in their F-shops. Shops on Facebook are likely to be incentivized to accept Facebook Credits in their F-stores and websites, offer them as rebates, etc.
Now, with these great points, the question is, how can ministries use Facebook as an extension of their ecommerce strategy? Once a ministry establishes a viable ecommerce strategy with a dependable online store software, a facebook ecommerce presence should be the 2nd or 3rd steps. As I stated in the iChurch Method book, once a ministry has setup an online store, they have established a place on their website for people to purchase their products. The next step is to either make the online store mobile device compatible and/or Facebook compatible. With 750 million (and counting) registered members of Facebook, there are numerous people that could benefit from the products of the ministry.
Online shopping software such as payvment.com, aspdotnetstorefront.com, magento.com and other online shopping software, have mobile and Facebook plugins that make their stores Facebook friendly. Therefore, it’s not difficult to take an online store, fill it with ministry products, and then add a few plugins and take that store to the 750 million people that enjoy Facebook around the world.