E-Commerce + F-Commerce: How do different channels impact online sales?

No one likes being beaten over the head with the same message. We also cannot stand being confused when a person or organization fails to communicate a cohesive, clear message or story.

Consumers around the world are noticing the increase in communication and marketing channels (both online and offline), but how do the different channels work together?

How do marketers best use these channels to create a great consumer experience while also reaching their goals?

I am working on a retail client project and channel integration to reach their target audience and goals. Retail + digital almost always revolves around electronic commerce (e-commerce). E-commerce can include the entire online process of developing, marketing, selling, delivering, servicing and paying for products and services. E-commerce drives incremental sales for many retailers, companies and people.

As the marketing mix evolves and expands, e-commerce includes many channels. The marketing mix brings up question… how do all the channels “play nicely” instead of frustrate or confuse us?

One of my questions is… how is Facebook commerce (F-commerce) working in the e-commerce mix?

About six months ago, a Mashable stated that “there aren’t a whole lot of Facebook commerce success stories — at least not yet.”

Facebook storefronts launched months ago. At the time, Mashable said “most people don’t view the social network as a transaction platform, especially since most third-party Facebook storefront software doesn’t actually allow transactions within Facebook.” The Mashable article agrees that there are still reasons to set up shop on Facebook; however, I am not convinced that Facebook is currently the best platform for consumer transactions.

As I dive into my new role as Channel Integration Manager, I am working hard to learn the strengthens and best uses of the many channels. All the channels must work together to produce a great consumer experience. Of course, companies also want make money by motivating people to buy their products and/or services.

Recently, SMI stated that “despite the billion-dollar predictions, only a small percentage of retailers are actually transacting on Facebook…”

Many factors play into the delay in the general usage of Facebook transactions. Think about how different channels are impacting this delay…

One reason F-commerce has not seen an incremental increase might be because many consumers have been trained to use websites are the “purchase channel.” I am not saying that websites will always be the primary channel through which transactions take place; however, Facebook transaction are not natural right now. To that point.. tweeting wasn’t “natural” for me five years ago, but now it is almost second nature. I look forward to tracking the changes, but it will always be important to think about the consumer experience as a whole.

Ogilvy created a great presentation supporting Facebook Commerce. They highlight the “Five Benefits of “Social” Shopping on Facebook.” The presentation is informative; however, it is tool specific and not as much consumer focused.

Here are their benefits and my thought on how they are pushing Facebook more than the whole marketing mix.

  • Insight: While Facebook can provide great insights, but website also provide analytics.
  • Brand Experience: Yes, adding a store to Facebook improves the experience on Facebook; however, how much does it improve the overall digital experience?
  • Loyalty: Facebook stores might increase consumers loyalty to the brands Facebook page, but the web, Twitter, email, etc. also build brand loyalty.
  • Advocacy: Oglivy mentions “By supporting each other [fans] via digital technology [NOT ONLY Facebook], consumers create their own loyalty loop with the brand that may promote repurchase.” I agreed that Facebook fans are more likely to recommend products, but what about the email or Twitter advocates?
  • Facebook ROI: This needs no explanation for being channel specific. Facebook ROI is very important; however, it is only a piece of the big picture.
The point is that Facebook is an incredible tool, but there are many other factors. I have heard any people discuss Facebook’s “take over.” The platform is incredible; however, let’s play nice with the other platforms in the midst of the change and evolution. As advertisers/marketers, we must continually learn and improve as communication and culture change.
Note: As I began to wrap up this post, my co-worker tweeted about m-commerce. Never a dull moment 😉