Facebook has been pegged--by us and many others--as a potential competitor to Amazon. But what if Amazon secures a place in the F-commerce sphere before Facebook has a chance to monetize it?
Turns out, Amazon already signaled its interest in commerce on Facebook by quietly launching a beta version of a Facebook store back when Charlie Sheen was publicly auditioning (however unintentionally) for a role in Hollywood's next big comedy. Yet, a year has passed without a word from Amazon on whether it will offer Facebook stores as part of its standard Webstore service. In the meantime, companies such as Payvment, TabJuice, and Wishpond (recently interviewed) are taking advantage of the market.
If Amazon does get into the F-commerce business, it will be successful. Amazon has already perfected the art of making online shopping easy and secure, which would serve it well in social media. By making the leap, the company could nip Facebook's chances of competing in the bud and maintain its iron grip on online commerce.
The Jersey Shore Shop is the only Amazon-powered Facebook store I have been able to find. If you're a GTL devotee, I hope you enjoy it. If you are not a fan of Snooki and Pauly D, bear with me. If you catch yourself saying "Jersey what?" I have good news (and a link) for you: You can learn a lot from this post even without adding any new acronyms to your mental cache of pop culture terms. Below is a quick snapshot of a Jersey Shore wallet product page on Facebook.
With rich functionality such as thorough content and a prominent add-to-cart button, this page is smart enough to face the Jersey Shore crew in a vocab test and win.
Although you don't see it here, some of the products also feature user reviews imported from Amazon to spark the conversation. Product reviews appear both on the Amazon site and the Facebook site, and, you may note from the screenshot, they can be left both places as well.
An important side note: If you intend to post content on not only the biggest e-commerce site, but also the biggest social media site, you will want copy that is error free and informative. The Jersey Shore copy mimics natural speaking patterns but is grammatically inconsistent to the point of distraction. Copy whinings aside, the page has everything it needs for high conversion.
In addition to automatically importing content from Amazon product pages, offering users full product information without hassle for the vendor, this Facebook store features Amazon-powered checkout, giving users confidence their transactions are secure.
Amazon brings user memory to the table; the company has a sophisticated shopping cart that remembers user information, removing the need to enter information each time a consumer decides to buy. Providing this on the Facebook platform gives consumers not only the confidence to purchase safely (something Facebook itself can't yet provide) but also unparalleled ease of purchasing.
Facebook and Amazon were bumping elbows before this beta service. There's currently a way for users to connect their Amazon and Facebook accounts. Amazon can use the provided information to recommend products more accurately and to suggest gifts for friends and families on special occasions. As the platforms begin to integrate their way to online commerce perfection, there's no telling what kinds of intelligent shopping guidance they could provide.
The Jersey Shore Shop is the first F-commerce store to feature product recommendations, from what I can tell. I assume these recommendations are also imported from Amazon and do not take Facebook preferences into account. If the companies paired up on this, though, they could create an incredibly personalized--and profitable--experience.
There are other stores on Facebook that feature rich content and strong functionality. Amazon's version is better. Or would be, if it were fully supported. However, if the platform steps out of beta, it is certainly something to jump on. With plenty of companies ready and eager to get products into Facebook stores, is Amazon smart to wait until an opportune moment, or is it missing out on the wave of the future? Might Amazon's presence on Facebook give people the courage to buy through the platform, thus setting F-commerce in motion?