So two e-commerce experts, Get Elastic‘s Linda Bustos and 8thBridge‘s Wade Gerten, have weighed in on the news and ensuing debate that a number of brands including JC Penney, Gamestop, Nordstrom and GAP are shutting up shop on Facebook.
Linda Bustos, the industry’s insightful and incisive queen of e-commerce, says it’s hardly surprising that e-commerce apps on Facebook have faltered: most are entirely pointless apps offering no additional value. All they do is port existing e-commerce sites into a Facebook tab, and do so badly.
Want to offer customers a cramped, slow, ad-infested shopping experience that bundles in Facebook’s dodgy reputation on privacy – then get yourself a storefront app for your Facebook page.
But don’t throw the fan-commerce baby out with the fail-commerce bathwater, Bustos warns – a new generation of f-commerce apps are upping the Facebook commerce game by offering Facebook fans unique and compelling shopping propositions that harness the social plumbing of Facebook.
Bustos cites new f-commerce apps from 8thBridge as examples of where f-commerce is, and should be, headed
- Timeline Apps with useful social features, such as the new Ticketmaster app that allows fans to share events they are attending with friends, order tickets through the app and receive event suggestions based on their likes and listening habits through Spotify.
- Popup Shop Apps for promoting events to fans, such as the EA launch of Battlefield 3 that bundles fan-exclusives with purchases, and the launch of the20th Century Fox movie Ladies’ Night, that offers movie fans group-buy rewards for ticket purchases
And that brings us to Wade Gerten, CEO of 8thBridge itself, the f-commerce solution provider credited with the first ever e-commerce app for retailers on Facebook (1-800 Flowers).
Gerten is the LeBron James of f-commerce, courting controversy in a smart and savvy way to maintain a high profile: Just as The King drove headlines last week by hinting he may quit the Heat and return to Cleveland with a phrase that could be (and was) taken out of context, Gerten did likewise with f-commerce, hinting that his company was dumping f-commerce for something else altogether with a phrase that could be (and was) taken out of context (“It was basically just another place to shop for all the stuff already available on the retailer websites…I give so-called F-commerce an ‘F.”)
What the 8thbridge CEO actually said (see here for a clarification) was that f-commerce, when reduced to an e-commerce app on your Facebook page, is not social commerce. The true opportunity in social commerce is to enable friends to sell to friends and drive e-commerce traffic with apps that use the social piping of social media
People drive social commerce (not brands) [90% of the shopping activity that 8thBridge has tracked on Facebook over the last 6+ months has been between friends sharing things with other friends]… Innovative brands like Ticketmaster and Delta Airlines have recognized that what they really need to do is simply get out of the way.
F-commerce apps that help brands get out of the way of friends sharing with friends are using Facebook’s new Open Graph (Spotify, the Washington Post,Fab.com and Ticketmaster) and have seen their website traffic increase 50% to 300% from Facebook in just a few months.
Our view; we wholeheartedly agree with the direction Bustos and Gerten want f-commerce to take. We can forget f-commerce altogether as a bad idea if all f-commerce means is installing an e-commerce app on your Facebook page to pull in your e-commerce site. No more useful than a pair of fetid dingos kidneys.
But the point is, f-commerce doesn’t mean that. For us the future of f-commerce is fan commerce, using Facebook as an e-commerce enabled platform for transforming Likes into Loyalty. We believe that future of f-commerce will be fan-tastic.