Day by day, Facebook's tentacles continue to spread and pull in more of the web into its domain. Facebook Deals marked its step into the world of discounts and group buying. Now its got its sights set on the wider world of ecommerce. And its competitors need to be afraid. Very afraid.
The integrated Facebook store
Brands and businesses have been using Facebook to boost traffic to their websites for some time. Tesco earned £2 million last year through their Facebook fan page. All they had to do was post links in their newsfeed and then sit back and let users post 'Likes' and comments to share their offers virally.
But posting links isnt the only way to sell on Facebook. There's now a steady stream of brands and businesses setting up shop and selling directly, without users having to leave the site.
The popular fashion retailer ASOS was the first to get the ball rolling, last month, with a fully transactional Facebook store. French Connection and Dove now have plans to follow suit. These are just the first pioneers of the many brands and businesses that are likely to follow.
Even the mighty Amazon isn't too big to ignore Facebook's potential. It recently bought Quidsi to help it launch Facebook stores of its own, so it can use the site as a sales opporunity rather than a direct competitor.
A social shopping experience that's difficult to replicate
The reasons for creating an online store on Facebook are obvious: it has 30 million users in the UK alone, offers can be spread virally and it's where people are spending large chunks of their online time.
Perhaps the key reason why creating Facebook store is a no brainer is because Facebook delivers a social shopping experience that is very difficult to replicate.
Trying to build a social shopping site outside of Facebook would be an expensive, slow and risky challenge. Not only do you have to attract users in their millions, but you also have to persuade them to start spending as much time on the site as they do on Facebook.
The fact is that Facebook has such a massive head start on its rivals (with 600 million users and counting) that it could dominate the world of ecommerce, let alone social shopping, in the years to come.
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