In the past 3 years, Facebook has emerged as a marketing giant, transforming its image from a social networking website to an online marketing platform. Initially there were some doubts about a social networking website entering marketing industry as the majority of market share was held by Google through its Google ad sense service, but skeptics were proven wrong and today online marketing on Facebook defies all odds. Its business has grown up to such heights that a completely new term “Facebook commerce or F-commerce” has been coined to signify its impact and importance in marketing industry.
Any business transaction relating to Facebook falls in the circle of Facebook commerce. The term has been derived from two words, e-commerce and Facebook, meaning e-commerce (any business or transaction relating to internet) through Facebook.
The wide term Facebook commerce can be divided in to three major categories for better understanding:
Facebook stores or f-stores can be considered as digital versions of physical stores. These stores are hosted on Facebook. They are similar in look and feel to any other page on Facebook and follow a similar timeline structure. The difference is that in place of user information, they have product information, description, images, updates and reviews. Any registered Facebook user can subscribe to these stores and get relevant updates when they are made. If any user wishes to buy one of the listed products, he or she can simply click on that product related content and the user is taken straight to the official retail store of the concerned product. Subscribing to a Facebook store spares any effort on user’s part to get relevant information about the products he is interested in as after subscribing all updates are shown in his or her news feed.
- Facebook Credits:
Facebook credits mainly relate to games and applications hosted or distributed through Facebook. In order to use Facebook credits, a user must buy them. Currently 1 US dollar will buy you 10 Facebook credits. Once you have these credits, you may use them to buy virtual items in games and applications. These credits can also be used to buy games and applications themselves. Some multi-player games require Facebook credits to open locked gaming stages, game characters and other novelty features. In order to escape from the effort of playing the whole level, some people just buy the required credits from other players. This has actually turned in to a profitable business where users play and store Facebook credits to sell them online.
- Facebook Enabled Webstores:
These are retail websites which have been integrated with Facebook. Integrating a retail website with Facebook enables its customers to post reviews, comments and do other activities which are then featured in the news feed of their friends. Hence integrating a retail store with Facebook adds up in its publicity. In order to successfully a integrate a website with Facebook, an extension called Social Plug-in is required. Currently there are many different social plug ins available, examples of currently available ones are Like button, comment box, share button and recommendation box.