So most of the talk lately has been whether Google+ will challenge Facebook in the consumer social media network space. Not going to happen! But… I would ask whether Facebook could potentially challenge Amazon in the consumer online retail space. Now there’s a battle I’d like to see.
With just over $34 billion in online sales last year, a 40% increase over the previous year, Amazon leads the web in sales. Impressive numbers to be sure, and I especially like how Amazon recommends additional purchases based on who also bought what you just did. Pretty slick.
Now imagine purchasing something on Facebook and having it tell you that 4 of your friends also bought that, and oh, by the way, they also like this storefront and that storefront, and also purchased A, B, and C. Just wait for it… it’s going to happen.
More and more web-based ecommerce platforms are supporting Facebook checkouts and many of them don’t require shoppers to even leave Facebook to complete a transaction. That’s big stuff, but not nearly as big as Facebook itself. This year, Facebook has over 800 million active users, each with an average of 130 friends and over half login and use the platform daily. Almost every retail brand has a page with a strong following of fans, so all they need to do is start facilitating commerce and Amazon would likely feel the hit.
A lot of people get “creeped” out by the contextual nature of Facebook suggesting that your best friend liked this, so you should too. Frankly, if a social media site is going to collect information on me (and trust me they all are) than at least put that data to good use. I’d rather be shown products and solutions that suit me versus some crap that doesn’t pertain to me. Likewise, I’d like to see what my friends are buying… they’re my friends. If they like it, chances are I might.
So my prediction over the course of 2012 is that Facebook becomes more of a transactional community – with places, shops – both boutique and big-box – and less of a network. If that happens Amazon had better look out… oh, and I’d argue that Google+ should look out too!