Imagine this: You’ve gone back in time to 1996, and you find yourself in an office and the body of a manager for a large consumer brand. Somebody comes up from the information technology department and asks for 1% of your budget for sales and marketing to do something strange: start selling online. The person calls it “e-commerce” — and it sounds quite mad. There are only 36 million people online globally, and not one of them is used to shopping online. The IT guy tells you not to worry; e-commerce has been going on for two years, and it’s the shape of the future. What do you do?
Fast-forward 15 years, and many brands are facing a similar dilemma: People are telling them to sell on Facebook. At one level, it makes sense: Facebook has more than 37 times the number of users as that of the whole Web back in 1996. It took the Web 14 years to reach an audience of 600 million; it took Facebook seven, and its growth continues at a rate equivalent to adding almost the population of Australia every month.
Unlike the Web 15 years ago, Facebook is a powerful application platform, with 550,000 apps available. There is an increasing number of e-commerce apps. Forget plug and play: We’re talking plug and sell. Moreover, it’s what customers want. If you ask consumers what they want from brands on Facebook, they say shopping and deals, not engagement.
Nevertheless, for many brands, the idea of selling on Facebook sounds as mad as e-commerce did a couple of decades ago.
So what will you do when your digital team or partner asks to earmark 1% of the digital budget for F-commerce? If that hasn’t already been asked, it will during the coming months.
Image credit: Paul Marsden