What Does the Future of F-Commerce Hold? May 4, 2012 by Gina Rau ecommerce Source: eMarketer The rising popularity of social networks and online shopping represents a significant opportunity for retailers with an ecommerce presence. Looking forward at projections for ecommerce predicted at 14% growth this year, there’s no doubt that online sales will continue to increase as more consumers jump on their laptops, mobile phones and tables to make purchases. At the same time, an increasing number of people are involved in social media with Facebook taking the lion’s share of attention with 15% of all online time spent connecting with friends and family there. Many retailers have looked to Facebook, or F-commerce, for that opportunity. F-commerce emerged only three years ago, offering the ability to buy and sell right within a Faceboook iframe. With the attention of almost one billion potential customers spending significant time in one place, it appeared to be a no-brainer for retailers looking to grow their business. Fish Where the Fish Are? However, since earlier this year Gamestop, Gap, JCPenney, Nordstrom, Banana Republic and Old Navy, among others have closed their storefronts on Facebook, leaving other retailers to wonder what the future holds for F-commerce. One key lesson learned by these retail innovators is that people don’t appear to be interested in making purchases by shopping an online catalog at Facebook when their main intentions are to connect with friends and family on the social network. It’s like crashing a party with your product pitch when you weren’t invited. Don’t Crash The Party While there are certainly examples of innovative commerce happening within Facebook’s network, we’ve yet to see a model where placing your catalog in a Facebook iframe leads to success. Now, that’s not all doom and gloom for retailers because social networks provide the perfect opportunity for discovery, referrals and the potential for content to go “viral”. As friends share the products they buy, the restaurants they love and music they’re listening to, they’re making virtual introductions between brands and their friends and thus encouraging the discovery of products, services and ideas to be considered. Leverage Social Networks for Social Commerce…On Your Site! Within the popularity of social networks lies an immense opportunity for retailers to leverage tools and technology to grow sales at their site. This is the future of social commerce. And it happens on your commerce site.