Quick summary and thoughts on two articles just published on social commerce – one on Forbes entitled Social Commerce: Luring Customers To Your Facebook, and the other on the BBC News site – Let’s go social shopping.

In a nutshell, the Forbes article argues that although Facebook commerce is far from mature, it’s a space that brands absolutely need to inhabit – not selling on Facebook would be like not selling fan-gear at a ball game. However, John Terry, the article’s author from Channel Intelligence notes that the f-commerce imperative has yet to translate to reality for many brands: An April 2011 survey of 143 brands (unspecified) found that only 8% had e-commerce-enabled Facebook pages – and 15% had no Facebook page at all.  Channel Intelligence recommends that brands and retailers focus their f-commerce strategy on offering something on Facebook that people can’t get anywhere else.  We agree.  Whether you use Facebook for pop-up fan-stores to offer fan-first/fan-only exclusives, or ongoing fan-stores that sell exclusive branded fan merchandise or daily deals just for fans – the key is to sell on Facebook what you’re not selling elsewhere.

The BBC piece is a consumer introduction to social shopping – summarised as an umbrella term for shopping on social networks, social search in the context of shopping and group-buy. It includes comments from everyone’s favourite social commerce detractor, Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, suggesting that where social shopping has had success, it’s not by being social.  Group-buy platforms are not particularly social, and their success is down to big advertising and email marketing budgets.  Sucharita reiterates her belief that the value of social commerce lies not in being social per se, but by using social data – the social graph – to personalise the shopping experience. When you are up close and personal with social commerce, your realise its future is personal, not social.

The BBC article concludes that the latest frontier of social shopping is Assistive Consumer Technology in-store, such as ‘Tweet Mirrors‘ – in-store fitting-room mirrors connected to Twitter – allowing shoppers shoppers to try on an outfit and share the image in real time with friends and followers online (Mexx (Dusseldorf), Westfield Shopping Centre, Pilot (London) – commercialised by Dutch store experience specialists Nedap Retail).  See videos below. Like the DieselCam, Jeans West ButtCam, and Meta Technology‘s Magic Mirror (White Stuff), we like the idea of Tweet Mirrors – they’re fun and see a big future for fun in-store Assistive Consumer Technology, but until social mirrors can offer more utility, and are quicker and easier to use than simply snapping and sharing a pic of yourself in front of a traditional fitting room mirror with your smart phone, their primary purpose will be limited to PR.