There are many retailers out there that are chomping at the bit for any solution that will bring them and their products as close to the people on Facebook as possible. True ecommerce integration would look something like: you go to an online store inside Facebook, you browse, you buy, you check out, you transact and your receipt is emailed to you, all while still hanging out at Facebook.com.
Because true integration is so new on a site like Facebook and there really aren't many tested/well thought-out solutions yet, the next best thing is to at least connect product catalog data to a Facebook business page where it can be shared and interacted with on some level. Companies like SortPrice have already brought some big retail players and their product catalogs onto Facebook for people to search through, build Wishlists, and "Like" so that their friends can see what they are interested in buying.
The Facebook store application is powered by SortPrice technology combined with the product datafeeds so product information always up to date (price changes, new products, sales, etc.). If a user adds an item to the Wishlist (and makes it public), then it will prompt the user to share it with their friends so that it shows up on their news feeds.
SortPrice has already accomplished the following:
- $3.78 billion worth of merchandise was posted using SortPrice.com's Store Application for Facebook
- 1, 500+ retailers, including Fortune 500 companies, use SortPrice.com-built storefronts to post their products (full catalogs)
- 7.6 million products in 53,000 categories have been posted using SortPrice.com's Store App. in 2010, 60 percent more products than in 2009
Some of their larger successfully launched Facebook catalogs include PETCO, Adidas Soccer and Golfsmith. With a growing list of other retailers like the NBA team the Dallas Mavericks, Sharper Image, Adobe - Students and TigerDirect all working to build out their product catalogs on Facebook, SortPrice hopes to establish a new standard in delivering an online retail experience to Facebook users on the customer's own turf.
Things to think about
I believe that ecommerce will be an integral part of Facebook's revenue strategy moving forward, probably more than most would like to admit. I also think that, as I've stated in several other posts, while ecommerce on Facebook won't yet replace the traditional online store, it sure is gonna try.
When larger retailers with tens of thousands of SKUs are bolting on/sharing their catalogs with the Facebook community, will we see the online retailer version of clogged news feeds like the overload that occurred when Farmville blew up? Considering the amount of SKUs, people, and sharing that happens on Facebook I can see at least an initial wave of annoyance and having to hide apps like the one SortPrice has created.