Interesting post today over at econsultancy by Matt Owen speculating on the future of Facebook as a “one stop internet shop”, as it continues to grow, moving, seemingly inexorably, towards the big 1bn user milestone.

Matt suggests that commercial value of Facebook lies not so much in its massive user base but the depth and breadth of user data it provides for marketers, a veritable gold mine for customer data mining.  In addition to becoming the world’s premier targeted ad platform, Facebook also has the potential to become the planet’s customer intelligence platform, allowing brands and retailer to identify trends, affinities and up-sell/cross-sell opportunities – as well as lock in customer loyalty.

Specifically, Matt identifies four opportunities for Facebook to develop its value as a shopper genome project by rewarding users for offering up more of their data;

Group Buying: LivingSocial/Groupon style deals for providing more data on purchases/likes/dislikes – Facebook has the clout to negotiate unparalleled deals for its users – a kind of super-Woot

In Game Rewards: Providing more data in return for game bolt-ons, upgrades ets

Advance Notice: Give us more information about you, and get exclusive sneak previews and early access to new products

Referral Awards: Share your email contacts with Facebook, or invite a friend to join a group, and get reward points (Facebook Credits?) to spend in Facebook

We agree with Matt, this could be a astute vision for Facebook to pursue, but we also think its an opportunity for individual brands as well – using Facebook less as an advertising platform and more as a customer intelligence and loyalty platform.