Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Facebook To Change Social Commerce As They Roll Out Credits To Websites

Facebook To Change Social Commerce As They Roll Out Credits To Websites

Facebook have made their intentions in social commerce clear for a while now. First, Mark Zuckerberg claimed it was the next big thing, and then came news that eBay was integrating Facebook into its payments system, through Facebook’s new Open Graph. The aim is to make shopping online a more personalised experience and now Facebook looks set to take that one step further, as they take Facebook Credits outside of Facebook for the first time. They’re testing a rollout with a limited number of developers and sites, to allow it as a form of payment for virtual goods. You can see this currently in action on the gamehouse site,

The new virtual currency?
This represents a huge opportunity for Facebook. Although in gamehouse, users are still offered the chance to pay for goods by other payment options, it is likely that Facebook will begin taking over social commerce in a whole new way. Sites are already happy enough to allow Facebook to personalise the commerce experience up to the point of transaction, so it’s not a huge leap to introduce it as the very payment method for the transaction itself. Of course if this is to really take off, they might have to work out a better deal than is currently offered, with Facebook taking a 30% cut off developers that use Facebook Credits (which is now enforced as the only accepted payment method within Facebook games for virtual goods).
Although it’s in a test phase which seems limited to virtual goods within games, I would expect Facebook to expand this into retail sites. The biggest problem with Facebook Credits as they stand, is that they only appeal to a limited number of people, due to their practical uses. I have very little personal need to purchase Facebook Credits, but this could soon change, for many consumers, if it’s introduced as a payment option across sites.

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