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The Emerging world of “F-Commerce” and Mobile Apps

Are mobile apps and F-commerce on your radar?

Facebook business pages, mobile apps, content marketing – all concepts you probably have some awareness of if you’re a small business owner in 2013. But have you given any thought to where the changes of the past few years are leading us in terms of how we deliver content, generate leads and process sales? It’s conceivable that in the not-so-distant future, more people will be purchasing from Facebook pages – probably via a mobile app – than from traditional websites via desktop computers.

App developer John North from Evolve Mobile shares his view on mobile apps, selling via Facebook, and the future of online sales.

Should you enable sales within Facebook?      

One of the main purposes of having a business page on Facebook is usually to drive traffic to a main website, the goal being to make sales. The fact that Facebook visitors have to move from one site to another creates a barrier and makes impulse purchasing decisions less likely. Now that merchants can enable sales within Facebook, that barrier can be removed for many sellers, and some are taking up the opportunity.

Often referred to as F-Commerce, selling on Facebook might be off to a slow start but it could gain traction quite soon. It’s simple enough to set up and it allows fans to make purchases with a click and without the need to leave Facebook. Generally speaking, the easier you make it for people to purchase your goods, the more sales you’re likely to make.

But that’s not the only potential benefit of selling directly from Facebook. Having made a purchase on Facebook, fans are in just the right location (and at just the right time – the exciting moment of purchase) to tell their social contacts about their purchases. Social media has already become the new ‘word of mouth’ and viral recommendations can result in increased site traffic and sales. Can you imagine the potential for this activity if you were able to make a good number of sales via Facebook?

Where do mobile apps and  mobile websites fit in?

It’s no longer news that the percentage of people accessing Facebook and searching the Internet via smartphones is trending upwards in a significant way. Many are predicting that in the very near future, mobile usage for these purposes will surpass the use of desktops. Those without mobile friendly websites are already missing out and in the future, those without Facebook enabled apps and mobile websites might well find themselves in the same position. Those shopping from smartphones, via Facebook or regular web searches, may soon become the majority. Are you ready and waiting to serve them?

Do you still think Facebook isn’t the place to make sales?

While you may have heard a story or two about great failures on Facebook when it comes to F-Commerce, don’t forget that many businesses approach Facebook without any comprehensive strategy in place. The old saying “a failure to plan is a plan to fail” comes to mind. Instead of looking at the failures, find the success stories and take a look at their approach. Facebook success stories include a bicycle business with annual sales of around $500,000 through Facebook, and a marketing software company that increased sales by over 70% by using Facebook.

Like it or not, if you’re a business owner it’s now  more important than ever to keep a vigilant eye on the changing online environment and ensure that you’re well equipped for changes in technology and ready for the changes in consumer habits that follow them.

It’s not always easy to predict where technology will go next.  It wasn’t very long ago that we’d never heard of an app – now in addition to the standard fare of blog posts, web page content, and product descriptions we write for clients, we also write app descriptions. One thing is for sure – as business owners we can’t afford to ignore the fact that the purchasing power is quickly shifting into the hands of a generation that can’t imagine life without Facebook and smartphones.

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