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?

Facebook is great as a social network for communicating with friends and family or customers if you’re a business. I use it every day for those purposes. I’d like to check and reset my privacy settings whenever FB changes things, which is often, but they make it so difficult you’d be hardpressed to call it user-friendly. I suppose most people aren’t as concerned about such things as I am. But if they’re not, they’re just falling aimlessly 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, or write a story? Why is the button I tapped yesterday gone today? And why do posts always seem to disappear? Do ordinary people understand any of this? Maybe this obscurity works to FB’s advantage, keeping their users in the dark while capturing more and more of their personal information as they blithely use the site.

Anyway, as a business, people don’t go to FB to shop — they go to connect. Yes, they learn a lot from their friends’ recommendations and get exposed to new products. And brands do a good job of chatting up (if not completely annoying) customers, placing sales and specials in the newsfeed with links back to their 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 to let us connect and communicate 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 buying things is actually a lot easier and better on Amazon or Google after all. Of course, with almost a billion eyeballs on the site, advertising might be the real goldmine.

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 these phones’ almost limitless functional capability (via the apps that run on them), we should expect the use of smartphones for more and more of the transactions that people make while on the go. And, since Moore’s Law continues to hold, and users love those little apps that “just work,” the proliferation of powerful, pocket-sized computers, aka smartphones, will only increase.

A lot of technology makes perfect sense on smartphones — technologies that wouldn’t be as useful on desktops or laptops. These include bar code scanning, NFC (Near Field Communication), and voice recognition like the iPhone’s new Siri feature. Combine these, and right in the palm of your hand, you have wide-ranging information for making buying decisions and an instant transaction once you find the perfect widget.

Today, people buy smartphones for convenience in connecting and communicating with others, accessing information, carrying media and entertainment, playing games, and taking photos and videos all on one portable device. But soon, smartphones will be essential to transact business and make purchases. Once we reach a tipping point, changes, especially around commerce, can snowball.

All of us in business need to consider smartphones. If you want to know where markets are going, look at the devices people use to get information 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