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Facebook commerce offers £3.1bn opportunity: research

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UK retailers opening their virtual doors on a social media world will be buoyed by figures out this week that suggest f-commerce will bring them extra business worth £3.1bn over the next three years.

The research, carried out by TNS for storebuilding software company Ecwid, suggests that 6.1% of online buys over the coming three years will be made through Facebook. At the moment only 4% of UK customers have ever bought through Facebook, but, says the research, 40% would be happy to buy if the experience was similar to buying through an onine store.

The research, also found that a quarter of the 2,000 consumers it polled would prefer to shop on Facebook rather than eBay because it potentially offers a more personal shopping experience.

Ruslan Fazylev, chief executive and founder of Ecwid, said: “While Facebook commerce may still be in its infancy, this study shows that it has the potential to grow massively. Many businesses now have a presence on Facebook but relatively few have been able to successfully monetise it to date.”

He said that Facebook stores could now offer the same experience as an online store and also tapped into wide social networks. “Those businesses that embrace f-commerce in the future are set to see a significant revenue boost,” he said. “In fact, our figures show that businesses that sell from an f-commerce store alongside their traditional website have generated an additional 17.7% of revenue.”

However, he warned, at the moment, some 85% of consumers feel they get nothing back from liking brands on Facebook. Some 57% said they would be more likely to like a company’s Facebook page in exchange for special offers and discount codes.

“Businesses to date have invested a lot of time in building Facebook pages and growing their communities,” said Fazylev. “However, there still appears to be a missed opportunity for many businesses when it comes to users ‘liking’ their pages. As the research figures show, the majority of consumers don’t feel they are getting any value. However, by creating a Facebook page and store in which a ‘like’ provides values to customers, businesses ensure a more engaged customer who is not only likely to purchase more, but also to recommend their experience to their friends and networks.”

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