F-commerce takes off in SA.

So did you get up at the crack of dawn to get your free wimpy breakfast this morning? No surprise that I didn’t but driving into work I did hear it being discussed at large on various radio stations.

They too shared my sentiment of not fully understanding the fascination and dedication of people to get up so early, use their petrol and rush to stand in a queue for breakfast that would have cost them less than R20.

The human race fascinates me. But at the same breath, after reading some of the top predicted social media trends for 2012 I have to admit that the level of technological advances in the last decade does indicate some degree of intelligence.

There are a number of interesting, and extremely relevant trends that I am sure we can expect to explode this year.

One that really stuck out for me is the development of social commerce.

Social commerce will become popular on mobile devices. The partnership between eBay and Facebook will lead us into a new era in eCommerce where you can directly purchase from your Facebook account. With the introduction of Facebook’s mobile platform social commerce will become popular on mobile devices. Facebook’s Open Graph language will also let you directly purchase with Facebook credits based on recommendations by your friends.

~ dreamgrow.com

It will be interesting when Facebook links up with the likes of e-bay and Kalahari.net.. watch this space!

In years gone by it would have been deemed ludicrous to buy anything through Facebook. Well those days are gone and leading SA retailer Woolworths seems to be one the first South African brands to successfully penetrate this new, emergent market.

Having teamed up with Quirk, one of the leading South African Digital Marketing agencies, Woolworths is proving to be a big player in the development of the SA f-commerce platform.

Having already grown significantly in the South African social media and online landscape f-commerce seemed like the next logical step, according to Nikki Cockcroft Woolworths Head of Online.

For me the beauty of f-commerce is that one will be able to share and discuss purchases, online, in real time, when and with whoever we want.

It’s already evident that consumers like to get others’ perspectives and opinions before making a purchase and f-commerce provides the perfect platform to get instant feedback from peers and friends alike.

In earlier years this would have only really applied to major big ticket purchase items. Consumers can now go as far as to discuss, down to the colour, any specific item they wish to purchase online with close (or even not so close) friends to get their opinion before they buy.

What will be even more interesting is if retailers, like Woolies, develop a program to let consumers ‘try out’ items in the digital space and to be able to ask others what they think before deciding to purchase.

Why is it that in most instances people go in pairs or groups to the mall when they go shopping? Because people like to get others’ opinions. We often don’t trust our own gut and need reassurance from someone else that we are making the right decision.

F-commerce just seems to be the next evolution of taking your friends with you shopping.

Cockcroft goes on to add  “In addition, we will be launching our online shopping offering across multiple platforms including mobile and other devices to offer our customers a convenient, hassle-free and of course, pleasant shopping experience – no matter where they are – at work, at home or stuck in traffic.”

Now that’s the kind of service I could get used to. Let’s just hope that actual people behind the brand can keep up with the computers and software and live up the expectations that modern day consumers will come to demand.

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