Introducing Facebook Commerce Strategies!

January 31, 2011

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Welcome to the first post of our new blog, Facebook Commerce Strategies.   At ChannelAdvisor, we’ve been watching what we call ‘emerging channels like mobile, local and social very closely so we can help retailers make sense of the changes impacting e-commerce channels.

Within the category of emerging channels, we’ve been waiting for them to become material enough before we jumped in with our views and recommendations for retailers.  We spent a lot of time researching and thinking about where to go next and asked ourselves these four questions:

  • Who is the audience?
  • Why Facebook?
  • Why Now?
  • What are we going to write about?  (Or can we provide a unique conversation out there that nobody else is providing?)

Who is the audience?

This one is easy, at ChannelAdvisor, our goal is to be the essential partner for ecommerce so our customers and readers all share one thing in common – at their heart they are retailers that sell online.  Some are big, some are small, some have physical locations, some are ‘pure plays’, but they are all retailers.  This blog will always come at Facebook Commerce from that perspective with the ultimate goal of helping retailers Sell More.

Why Facebook?

A lot of the content and blogs out there are about general social media (covering Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, user-generated content).  Our job is to help retailers sell things and to do that, we need to be more specific, so we wanted something more specific than ‘social commerce’.
When we look at the data, it’s quite obvious from a number of angles that not only is Facebook where the consumer action is, but also where the major seeds of social commerce will grow.

First, when you look at registered users and registered user growth, Facebook is 4-6X larger than any other social networks:

  • Facebook registered users – 600m
  • Twitter registered users – 200m, 110m tweets/day

Second, when you look at engagement, or where consumers are spending their time, Facebook has surpassed every other activity and site on the Internet in short order.  As if that wasn’t enough, they are always working on clever new features that will most likely accelerate the trend.   I’m a visual person and I think this graph from Comscore that shows ‘time spent on site’ compared across the top Internet sites to be very illustrative: (click to enlarge)

Facebook_graph

A couple of other Facebook stats that are pretty mindblowing:

  • 50% of Facebook users login every day (300m)
  • The average Facebook user has 130 friends
  • Overall people spend over 700b minutes/month on Facebook
  • Each user creates over 90 pieces of content/month
  • Over 90b pieces of content are created each month across Facebook
  • 200m users access Facebook via mobile and they are twice as active as the average.

Finally, we have identified more than six real-world strategies for Facebook commerce that are here today, actionable that allow retailers to start.  Other social commerce opportunities, such as Twitter, are still too early to identify any real strategies to even experiment with today.

Why now?

The huge amount of activity and engagement on Facebook showed up in a real way for retailers in Q4 of 2010.  As we talk to retailers of all sizes, we are hearing that Facebook has gone from the 5-10th source of traffic to the number one or two, second only to Google and it’s growing faster, so it is sure to be the top source by the end of 2011.

It is our view that a disparity has been created where retailers are spending a large amount of time on Google/Search activities – SEO, SEM, Google product search, product listing ads, etc.  But at the same time they have this traffic source now that is nearly as large and they are investing < 10% the amount of time in the Facebook channel vs. the Google channel.

This disparity has created a huge opportunity in our view for innovative and entrepreneurial retailers to get a competitive Facebook commerce advantage and this blog and other activities at ChannelAdvisor over the course of 2011 and beyond will be geared towards helping retailers take advantage of this opportunity.

What are we going to write about?
Blogging about e-commerce, Facebook, Facebook commerce is easy.  We could write 10 blog posts a day given the amount of activity going on in the space and companies involved.  Creating unique (not covered anywhere else in the blogosphere) posts that provide actionable data, news and strategies for retailers is harder.  In my experience, harder is better and adds a lot more value.  We have a long history of doing this starting with eBay Strategies and then CSE Strategies, SearchMarketing, Amazon Strategies and now Facebook Commerce Strategies.

The initial plan for this blog is to focus on three main topic areas:

  • News items and reports around Facebook commerce that shine light on the opportunity and give you ideas for what is working and also as important, what is not working.
  • ChannelAdvisor Facebook Commerce Index – Next week we will unveil an entirely new way to measure Facebook Commerce.  That’s all I can say about it right now, but stay tuned.
  • Strategies for Facebook Commerce – The meat and potatoes of this blog is going to be surfacing different strategies for retailers to leverage Facebook commerce and looking at what is working and what is not.  We’ve identified over 6 different opportunities that exist today for retailers to take advantage of Facebook commerce and will be rolling them out starting in early March.

SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Google and Amazon.  eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.