With 700 million users worldwide and 150 million in the U.S. alone, Facebook is a platform of potential shoppers to many ecommerce innovators looking to make Facebook a part of online retail. Among the latest techniques to bring Facebookers into the marketplace is Copious, a new ecommerce company that is registering both buyers and sellers with their Facebook identities. By encouraging a connection between a smaller independent etailer and the customer, the company hopes to help merchants who have been squeezed out by larger sellers. The new web marketplace uses online reputation as a way to make customers feel more secure.
Another ecommerce support firm, Nexternal, is offering a new Facebook "Like and Save" service, to bring Facebook browsers back to ecommerce websites. The idea is to offer a discount to customers who "like" a product. The shopper's friends see the product on the shopper's wall, and presumably some will check it out because their friend likes it. The idea is to give a monetary incentive to get shoppers to recommend products. Facebook already offers features that can be very useful to an ecommerce merchant. For example, use Facebook contests to build your brand, pay Facebook users in Facebook game credits to watch your ads, and use free apps to enhance your Facebook business page.
Don't get too caught up in the hype. Rob Spiegel, writing in the E-Commerce Times, reports that Facebook's growth may have plateaued. "Facebook growth has been lower than normal for the second month straight," he reported in June. "The United States lost nearly six million users, going from 155.2 million in the start of May to 149.4 million by the end." But even if the market for the social platform has been saturated in America, 150 million users still represents a decent chunk of change.
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