Tag Archives: commerce Blog

Retail on Facebook. Is “F-commerce” All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

There’s been nothing but hype around Facebook’s upcoming IPO. Hundreds of millions of users, mountains of personal data, brands dying to repurpose their ad dollars online. This is going to be huge! Isn’t it?

I don’t know. I’ve never thought much of Facebook as a business. It’s great as a social network. At least it was before it became so complicated that I can’t in good conscience recommend that anyone use it. Not that it’s not good for communicating with friends and family, or customers if you’re a business. I use it every day for those purposes. But I’m also willing to check and reset my privacy settings whenever FB changes things, which is often, and I don’t give them any data beyond what’s necessary to converse with people. But I can’t expect most people to be as mindful as I am. And if they’re not, they’re just falling into FB’s data trap.

And then there’s the matter of how bloated the app has become. It’s more like using MS Word now than a cool social tool. Who can understand all the features? Do I subscribe, follow, post, write a story? Why is the button I used to do something yesterday gone today? And why do posts always seem to disappear? Do average people understand any of this? Maybe this obscurity all works to FB’s advantage, keeping people in the dark as they provide more and more data while blithely using the site?

Anyway, the issue here is business, and the fact is, people don’t go to FB to shop — they go to connect. Yes, they learn a lot from their friends, including new things to buy. And brands do their work of chatting up (if not completely annoying) customers, offering sales and specials back on their own sites. But how is ‘F-commerce’ doing? Well, many brands have opened up storefronts on FB itself, but some are closing them just as quickly. According to a recent article,

“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop, but it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

Apparently FB’s offer of connecting and communicating with friends isn’t going to automatically turn into a commerce goldmine. Is this a surprise? People go to FB to talk, not buy. Maybe finding and purchasing things is actually a lot easier and better on Amazon or Google after all. Once the IPO smoke clears, the next sound you hear may well be the latest bubble bursting.

Read full article:  http://linkd.in/y5rcW7

Smartphones Reaching Tipping Point

The smartphone revolution marches on. Data from Nielsen (via cnet) shows that more than half of those aged 18 – 24 carry a smartphone today. And numbers for those over 44 are continuing to trend upward. Given the almost limitless functional capabilities of these phones via the apps that run on them, smartphones are poised to take over a huge amount of the work of transactions that time-pressed people need to make while on the go. Also, given that Moore’s Law continues to hold weight, the advent of powerful, pocket-sized computers being everywhere is not unexpected. Add to this users’ love of those tiny apps that “just work,” and the proliferation of smartphones will only continue.

There’s a lot of technology that makes perfect sense on smartphones — technologies that just wouldn’t be as useful on desktops or laptops. These include bar code scanning, NFC (near field communications) and voice recognition like the iPhone’s new Siri. Combine these and you have almost instant, far-ranging research when making buying decisions, and an instant transaction once you find the perfect widget. Today, people buy smartphones for convenience — connecting and communicating with others, accessing information, carrying media and entertainment, playing games, taking photos and videos — all on one, easy-to-carry device. But soon smartphones will be essential to transact business and buy things. Once a tipping point is reached, changes, especially around commerce, tend to snowball.

All of us in business need to consider smartphones. As I often say, if you want to know where markets are going don’t listen to tech companies. Look at the devices people are using and how they use them.

Article  and infographic: http://goo.gl/NqVP2

NFC On the Move?

We’ve been hearing about NFC (Near Field Communications) for a while now. The technology, which will empower a new era of mobile commerce, seems to be upon us. With appropriate chip sets, mobile phones will be able to make payments at point of sale terminals similar to the way we use credit cards today. Considering the interactivity that goes with web-enabled phones, this is likely to create a host of new opportunities for retail and mobile commerce.

The news today is that Google apparently is ready to start testing NFC in select retail locations in NY and SFO. The following article provides details along with some insights about how the technology might be used. This is one to watch.

Read full article: Report: Google to Test NFC Mobile Payment Service in NY, San Francisco:http://bit.ly/gHARoF