If you have kept up with any of the tech blogs, you’ll probably know that Facebook has been working on its own payment system that facebook app developers can build into their apps to essentially create a micro-economy within the facebook community. This facebook currency could be used for anything from sending e-cards to friends to buying weapons in mob wars. No one has really been able to bring the purchase of real world physical goods to facebook users, until now.
Enter 1-800-Flowers. TechCrunch has reported that 1-800-Flowers has set up an e-commerce store on Facebook. Apparently the store has full credit card processing and all. It appears that Facebook is truly becoming its own internet, complete with shopping. Soon users will have no reason to leave facebook if retailers start creating stores on Facebook. Will we soon be exchanging ‘internet’ in our vocabulary for the word ‘Facebook’, like ‘Google’ has begun to replace the word ‘search’?
I may be getting ahead of myself, but 1-800-Flowers has made a large step forward in world of online retail, and I suspect this will open a floodgate of other retailers setting up boutiques in the ‘Facebook Mall’. Lots of major retailers already have fan pages on Facebook, and I suspect a lot of online decision makers for these companies will be watching this play closely and at least begin cost analysis and research for developing their own stores on Facebook.
To me, this seems like a great opportunity for a company like Alice.com, whose sole focus is to bring CPG goods direct to customers from manufacturers, to create a version of their site on facebook, allowing Facebookers to order their toothpaste and toiler paper before logging off for the night. Think about it: I’m on facebook, checking my messages and taking the latest quiz 27 of my other friends have taken, and I get a message in my inbox from AliceBot, who nicely reminds me that based on my purchase history of toothpaste of the last 3 months on Alice.com, that I should re-order toothpaste because I am probably running low. It also suggests 5 other items to add to my order so I can checkout with Free Shipping. But instead of sending me to Alice.com, they direct me to the Facebook Alice Store, where my ‘cart’ has already been prepared for me, because I connected my Alice.com account and Facebook accounts previously with Facebook Connect. I’m ready to checkout, so I whip out the credit card and place my order. I then proceed to look at a few of my friends photos and log off. No need to leave facebook for everything I need to do on the internet.