The case for social shopping became even more clear last Thursday with the introduction of Facebook's new open graph capabilities for developers. By implementing the ticker, the new timeline, and the ability to use verbs such as "want" and "own" in place of like, Facebook has fueled the social shopping machine.
Since January, we've offered our clients the capability to create a full storefront on their Facebook pages, with a seamless integration to their existing commerce operations. With this enhancement, shoppers could "like" a product and the action would populate their newsfeed for their friends to see. At the time, we believed this action would generate new sales and customers for our clients. We were correct - we saw sales increase and fan numbers dramatically increase.
Now, with the new open graph features, we expect unparalleled growth. Let's say you're looking to purchase a new laptop case. Previously, you could "like" the product and post a few of these in a row, asking your friends which one they liked best. Your post might generate a few comments, and if you were lucky, someone might say they own one of them, and they highly recommend it. The new era of social shopping will allow you to browse products on commerce sites and within Facebook, but you will immediately be able to see what your friends own. The personal endorsement will give you an idea of who you can immediately contact, knowing they own the product, to see if they are happy with their purchase. Now imagine your significant other's birthday is coming up. You have no idea what to get them. Previously, you might solicit recommendations privately through their friends or family. Now, you can visit their Facebook timeline, to view all the products they "want." The "want" action creates an instant wish list, right on your Facebook timeline. No more sending people an email with your Christmas list, or returning gifts that just aren't right. Your friends and family will always know the products that have caught your eye.
Additionally, the new Facebook ticker will become a product discovery engine. While now you can use it to see what music your friends are listening to, the food they're making, or the news stories they're reading, you'll eventually be able to see what they're buying, wanting, or reviewing. We've always said the best recommendations are personal ones - it's what drove us to create the ability for our clients to push a select number of products to Facebook, to improve our offering to a full storefront, and what is fueling us to implement these new open graph capabilities. Welcome to the era of social shopping, it's here to stay.