As LIKE buttons populate the Web, Facebook is enmeshing itself into the fabric of the Internet to become its defacto eCommerce marketplace. Stand-alone Web sites are no longer enough to attract new or repeat visitors. The old school business model of eBay has become passé and are being replaced by start-ups like Yardsellr that are using the conduit of Facebook's News Feeds to cement deals.
Up till now, Facebook Fan pages have been static walled gardens of sorts. Users might interact with a large brand on a regular basis due to promotional deals and discounts, but smaller to midsize companies have a hard time publishing updated content that will intrigue its fans enough to return on an ongoing basis.
On the other hand, a company like Zynga with its popular online games were built on the Facebook platform from the ground-up and provides an ongoing activity that engages users into becoming frequent visitors.
Facebook's eCommerce model is looking for more ways to combine these two processes so more businesses can get a bigger bang for their buck when setting up shop on Facebook's social network.
Yardseller is one of the newer sites to take advantage of this opportunity. In so doing, they are re-thinking how to interact with Facebook's 500+ million users. They initiate the eCommerce exchange by using their Web site as a starting point or Point A. In tethering their Web site to Facebook's News Feed stream or Point B, buyers start the process on the Yardsellr Web site by LIKE-ing certain purchase items they are most interested in. Then when a seller has something to offer in their chosen category, it shows up in the user's Facebook News Feed.
Since 'social selling' sites like Groupon and others have become so successful on the Web, Facebook is looking to become intrinsically tied to these types of transactions. The Yardsellr model underscores the benefits to both parties: buyers obtain great pricing from people they trust and sellers address the needs of their friends by selling something the buyers want.
Danny LeffelYardsellr's founder Danny Leffel cut his online eCommerce teeth on eBay, having worked for the company for five years. Improving upon their business model, he feels that eBay's transactions lacked the "social" element, and equates Yardsellr to an "online flea market," where similar to a face-to-face contact, people are trading with their trusted contacts in an arena where they spend the majority of their time - Facebook!
According to FT.com, more than two million sites have integrated with Facebook since 2008, including 90 per cent of the top 1,000 sites on the internet. That number is growing by about 10,000 sites a day. Nearly one-third of Facebook’s 500 million users interact with it on third-party sites every month. In this way, a growing portion of online activity involves Facebook, even though it doesn't necessarily commence on Facebook.
Yardsellr is only one of a number of social selling sites that are looking to push the boundaries of Facebook's eCommerce marketplace. Companies like Payvment which is Facebook's eCommerce storefront application developer allows users to actually set up commercial storefronts right on Facebook - and then direct to other storefronts when they don't have the product a buyer is seeking.
The success of Yardsellr and companies like Payvment is the value placed on buying "from friends," as loose as that term is becoming. While one's Facebook friends' list continues to grow, the real connection with these folks becomes "Facebook" itself. One's friends in the real world might be part of that grouping - but over time - might actually become the smaller percentage. Trusting "Facebook" friends, in essence means trusting "Facebook." Once users make that leap of logic, all the concerns about privacy will slowly dissipate - as buying from "Facebook Friends" becomes the new norm.