Trendspotting: Commerce on Facebook

6/18/13Follow @sramana

Social media’s impact on global e-commerce is being felt everywhere. By promoting products via social media outlets, e-commerce companies have invited customers to spread interest and awareness of their brands through liking, reviewing, and sharing products with their network of friends. Commerce on social media has become a hot trend for many e-commerce firms to jump on.

A company we’ve gotten to know through 1M/1M that has successfully exploited e-commerce on social media is Bigcommerce, co-founded by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper in 2009. They are present in over 65 countries, within 25 different industries, and have processed $1,657,523,898 in transactions for 35,387 of their storeowners, generating annual revenues ranging from hundreds of dollars to tens of millions.

With Bigcommerce, anyone can create an online store, upload and manage his or her products, and market them anywhere on the Web, whether through social media, e-mail, blogs or independent websites.

Free with membership is SocialShop, a free Bigcommerce app, which allows vendors to set up a functioning Facebook shop where friends can browse, buy, and share products without leaving the site.

Also headquartered in Austin, TX, is Volusion, an e-commerce platform vendor with flexible e-commerce software and hosting plans for all kinds of merchants. Created in 1999 from the bedroom of founder and chairman Kevin Sproles, who began coding shopping cart software, Volusion has over 40,000 online stores, $10 billion in merchant sales worldwide, and over 360 employees.

Volusion also assists vendors with creating a website to showcase their products, then integrates it with various marketing outlets, especially through social media. With Volusion’s SocialStore, which comes free with membership, vendors can list products directly on their existing Facebook Business Page so that customers can view, purchase, and share their products instantly.

But if this kind of native e-commerce on Facebook appears mundane to you, let’s go a step further.

A company that wants to capitalize on the social commerce trend and both facilitate and simultaneously complete actual transactions on social media is enMarkit, a platform-independent ecommerce solutions company founded by ex-venture capitalist Vipin Aggarwal and Ekta Mittal, formerly of Amazon. They want to turn Facebook into an exchange for high-trust e-commerce.

Imagine that you want to rent your beach house.

What if there was a way for you to list it on Facebook such that your friends can see it? And once they do, what if they could each rent it for a week?

With built-in trust, you then have a closed group of people practicing commerce amongst themselves.

Sounds like AirBnB? Why, of course!

Except, within a trusted circle.

Now imagine that you are looking for a Web designer. Very likely, you would go to Elance or oDesk and list your project.

But what if you had a way to list your project on a similar exchange on Facebook, and ask your friends for recommendations?

And what if five of your friends recommend the designers they have used.

You get to choose the one you like, and then, immediately set up the transaction right there on Facebook.

The designer, if she does a good job, gets a nice recommendation right there, and with some of enMarkit’s magic, the recommendation could go viral.

Welcome to the future of social e-commerce.

The enMarkit team has built two enabling solutions: the F.A.S.T. (Fast Anywhere Secure Transactions) check out system is a universal payment link which vendors can use to sell their products on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, and ONE the unified storefront, which shares buyers’ views, likes, bookmarks, comments, buys and reviews amongst their online friends. There are no listing fees, no annual fees, and sellers only pay enMarkit an approximate 5 percent transaction fee when they actualize a sale.

Social commerce is inevitably going to drive the future of social media companies. As advertising and commerce start to fuse, advertisers will look for ways to pay not just for eyeballs, but for completed transactions.

Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual incubator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Follow @sramana

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  • enMarkit

    Thanks for the feature @Xconomy and @Sramana ! We strongly believe that the future is peer-to-peer commerce and are building enabling, trustworthy solutions to power the next wave of social commerce revolution.