Could Facebook “Own” Shopping?

After the recent acquistion or merger of social shopping/fashion sites ThisNext and Stylehive, I started thinking about Facebook and Shopping.

Facebook is the new Google in the sense that it could hypothetically “own” market segments/sectors if the company devoted itself to doing so. (This was until recently the belief about every new area Google entered.) For example, TechCrunch writes about a new “full featured” webmail being developed at FB — the implication being that it would be highly successful and potentially threaten other webmail clients (read: Yahoo).

Facebook isn’t a good fit for all use cases. But it is for some. Shopping is one of them in my mind. Hearst-owned Kaboodle is perhaps the most effective of the “social shopping” sites but it’s still “under the radar” for most folks.

I conducted a little poll on Facebook the other day and asked people: “If Facebook were to develop a shopping site that offered products or discounts on products would you use it?” I didn’t get many responses, which either says something about me or Facebook. But “discounts” is the key word in that sentence.

Think about a deal of the day (LivingSocial) or group buying (Groupon) or simply a deal center (e.g., RetailMeNot or Ask Deals) featuring money saving offers or incentives that are then broadcast back to others via news feeds. This sort of thing I believe (assuming it’s presented well) would be a massive hit.

Agree or think that Facebook is just for “silly fun”?


10 Responses to “Could Facebook “Own” Shopping?”

  1. Mike Stewart Says:

    Facebook has the social profiles… the social communication…. the traffic…. the reviews.. the ratings… the fan pages… They could own virtually most local segments if you ask me.

    Custom backgrounds alone would make a dent to move the needle for Facebook. I think of Facebook as and not really like

    Facebook has huge potential, to some extent a greater potential than “teen and GenY targeted

    If I owned a http://www.LocalYellowPage/ property… I would be throwing money at Facebook and/or building departments to focus on Facebook integration etc….

    But hey…. those guys focus on what they sell…. products that are extremely fragmented vs consumer and social interaction.

    btw, How many IYP’s have ads on Facebook?! I would love for someone to show me a screen shot of one of my “Only Yellow Pages Companies Put Contracts On Top of Google AdWords” campaigns!

  2. Jason Says:

    I don’t believe Facebook has set themselves up for a play on shopping, and I certainly don’t think they would open a separate site or interface specific to shopping. As far as I can tell, Facebook’s currency (in the form of credits) is really geared for buying virtual gifts like farmville sheep and imaginary cocktails. I believe that shopping discounts will be more likely to show up as ads or fan page status updates that lead consumers to e-commerce ready Facebook pages that have their own shopping cart software and/or external links to more complex e-commerce sites. So as you said, Facebook shopping appears more to be like silly fun!

  3. Mike Stewart Says:

    Jason, I believe it all depends on how much money Facebook wants to attempt to make at the expense of impacting user experience. Facebook has the means of doing shopping by turning the silly fun into “Amazon-esque” content. Too early to tell…..

    Meanwhile the ads are making them some money from non-traditional markets and advertiser groups.

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  5. DR.Mohamed Mamdouh Says:

    I totaly agree with you i found people love discounts
    so in my site i make discounted products my 1st target
    in facebook i think discount also is the keyword
    thank you

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  9. philppl2 Says:

    I think it could be a massive shopping site if they tried it.

  10. lusputil Says:

    It will be the good news if we can find many discount alert when we chat with friends in FB. And alot of people maybe choose facebook to search when their play which its.

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