So ASOS, leading European fashion e-tailer launched its f-commerce store yesterday.  And in our view, the new f-store lives up to the pre-launch hype, setting a new gold standard for Facebook stores.

The ASOS f-store – featuring the full range of ASOS products – has a lot in common with JCPenney’s f-store that the US department store chain opened up last month; logical, given that they are both built on Usablenet‘s platform.  But the ASOS f-store is a whole lot more polished; compare, for instance, the two sign-up pages.

Good: JCPenney Registration

Better: ASOS Registration

Rather than a lesser version of their own e-commerce site, the ASOS f-store holds its own – elegant in usability and simplicity (see screenshots below).  And it looks smart on a mobile handset. The ASOS f-store sports a commendable attention to detail and concern for user experience; from the reassuring name of the app – ASOSOfficial, to the favicon and the clever use of accordions and tabs to reveal and hide in-app content.

The store is fully internationalised, and whilst pitched as the world’s first fully integrated Facebook Store in Europe, we had no problem purchasing from the US (see screenshots below).  And purchasing was a breeze; in a timed benchmark as fast and easy as purchasing on the traditional ASOS e-commerce website.  True to high expectations, we received notification that our product had shipped within a few hours of purchase. The only weak point in the whole experience was the rather curt and unfriendly purchase confirmation page detracting from the overall user experience.

If you had any doubts about f-commerce viability – especially in terms of user experience, we recommend taking a look at the ASOS f-store.  We think you’ll change your mind. And for those in the market for an f-commerce solution, we urge you take a look too – you could do far worse than adopt the ASOS store as the gold-standard benchmark to match or better.  Whilst we’re of the opinion that it makes sense to differentiate the purpose and content of your f-store from your traditional site-based e-store (not simply replicate it), if there is a ‘fish-where-the-fish-are’ case for replicating your e-commerce store in Facebook, then this is it.

And because of ASOS’s status as an industry leader in online retail, Europe’s answer to Zappos, we think the opening of the ASOS store could mark a Tipping Point in f-commerce.  Social commerce solution providers; man your stations.

As William Gibson famously observed, the future is already here – it’s just unevenly distributed.  And so it is with f-commerce; the future is already here, and it’s called ASOS.