Allen Weiner, Research VP at Gartner, has given f-commerce (Facebook commerce) a failing grade. “Of all the pre-fixed commerce trends, none has hit the ground with a thud more than Facebook’s ‘F-Commerce,’” said Weiner. His judgment is based on a survey by youth marketing agency The Beans Group, which found that 91 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds say they are not interested in buying products or services directly through Facebook.
Though I do not take issue with the survey’s findings, I do take exception to Weiner’s assertion that f-commerce is a failure. Though it may not be resonating with 16 – 24 year olds, the vast majority of Facebook users – 69 percent according to Social Bakers – are over age 24.
F-commerce does appear to be working for small businesses. None other than the venerable New York Times reported on this phenomenon. Also, Search Engine Watch reported that Facebook store revenue among SMBs has increased a whopping 38 percent.
Assuming that this data is valid, I’d suggest the allegation that f-commerce is failing is an overstatement.
In his post Weiner went on to say that brands such as Amazon and eBay have been able to develop innovative selling experiences without “selling out,” which suggests that not only is f-commerce a failure, but that Zuckerberg has betrayed Facebook’s user base in search of the almighty dollar.
I recognize that, when we think of using Amazon or eBay, it’s typically with the intent of shopping. However, a study conducted by global market research firm TNS on behalf of e-commerce platform provider Ecwid found that 25 percent of those polled (some 2000 people) would prefer to shop on Facebook rather than eBay due to the fact that it provides a more personalized shopping experience.
Regardless, it took e-commerce nearly a decade to become a trusted source; as more people use Facebook for reasons other than merely socializing, I say we give f-commerce a chance to grow past its adolescence before passing such quick judgment on whether Facebook is qualified to serve as a shopping portal or not.
What do you think? Is f-commerce a failure, or does it deserve the opportunity to take a makeup exam?