IBM has released the results of a study into mobile and social commerce, with some surprising insights. While a few months ago all eyes were on social commerce, with Facebook shops popping up all over the place and a renewed interest in Facebook credits, now it's all about mobile commerce. The study found that share of smartphone shopping rose from 13.3% in Q1 to 15.1% in Q2. In the same period, social commerce dropped from an already low 2.4% to just 1.9%, showing the severe lack of appetite for commerce through social platforms. And when we say that, what we really mean is Facebook commerce.
The insight from IBM on this, focuses on the fact of there being a lack of standards across different brands, as well as internally, claiming "The lack of this alliance hinders the deployment of integrated technologies capable of fueling effective social media efforts.â€
What this study confirms is the future of the smartphone as pretty much containing your entire life. Not only is mobile commerce taking off as a result of payment options through apps and mobile sites, there is a lot more to come from the phone as a payment vehicle itself. The smartphone will emerge as your key to everything, with NFC likely to emerge as the default way to make a physical payment, while credit cards fall by the wayside. The interest in smartphone commerce is clearly already there, and as the social attitude to tech matches the advancements we're making in fields like NFC, it will drastically shake up the market. The only question, is what this means for social platforms that are trying to do the same thing.
How will Facebook tackle commerce?
The answer of course is clearly through mobile. The only problem is, Facebook hasn't really been doing all that well in that area recently. It is clearly something they're focused on, evidenced by the fact that they are trialling commerce through your mobile provider in the UK, where Facebook credits can be purchased through your phone bill, as opposed to directly purchasing within Facebook. This is the kind of thing that Facebook need to be doing, and while they may be a little late to the game with really understanding Facebook, there is still a huge opportunity to combine their reach with new mobile technology to stake a claim in the space.
Facebook are pretty uniquely positioned in that whatever solution they implement, they can almost immediately roll it out to hundreds of millions of people. This is as true for their mobile products as any, given that they boast 543 million mobile users (with 110 million added in the past 6 months alone). So while Facebook may not be able to own the tech behind smartphone commerce, despite efforts to launch a Facebook phone themselves, they have an opportunity to own the currency we're dealing in. Facebook Credits in its current iteration isn't the ideal solution, but given how closely connected we are with Facebook and how much we seek that social community to follow us around our online travels, there could be a huge appetite for a socialised mobile currency, that can effectively bring a whole new experience to mobile commerce.
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