Of all the pre-fixed commerce trends, none has hit the ground with a thud more than Facebook’s “F-Commerce.” Don’t take my word for it: According to the survey by youth marketing agency The Beans Group, 91 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds say they are not interested in buying products or services directly through Facebook. I suppose there are many reasons ranging from disinterest to concerns over privacy, but whatever the cause, the effect could loom as a major growth-stunter for Zuck and Company.
There is plenty of action in the outskirts in and around Facebook related to commerce. Plenty of entrepreneurs are able to keenly separate Facebook the platform from Facebook the social network. Take Lish.com, the latest in the digital commerce space that mines trend data from the network and feeds it into a snazzy shopping engine. Lish, part of an e-commerce company, Payvment, Inc., allows shoppers to vote with a variety of emoticons on products gleaned, based on popularity, from Facebook to give their social buddies a tastesharing –at-a-glance means of offering recommendations. Payvment also offers an end-to-end commerce platform for products featured on Facebook to provide a secure buying experience. And what’s Facebook’s net on this? More page views? Facebook seems content to allow commerce visionaries to ride its network relatively toll-free and also do little to work on its branding to gain the shopping trust of its core audience. Facebook’s own commerce strategy is best labeled a work in progress with the recent announcement of Subscriptions and migrating Facebook Credits to local currency pricing.
I have not only watched the film, The Social Network a dozen times, but also read Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book, “The Accidental Billionaires” on which the ever-glib Aaron Sorkin based his screenplay. Assuming the overall themes are true and consistent, Mark Z and his co-founders (save for Eduardo Saverin) never worried about how Facebook would earn a living. Some movies have alternative endings. A possible alternative ending for this story would be that Facebook learns some lessons from digital commerce pioneers such as Amazon and eBay in both strategy and execution. Both companies were able to able to develop innovative selling experiences without…selling out.