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Has Amazon validated Facebook's value to ecommerce?

5th Aug 2010
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With Amazon implementing social commerce features based on Facebook Login and Recommendations, is there a strategic recognition of Facebook?

Amazon has announced that it has implemented a range of social commerce features based on Facebook Login and Facebook Recommendations. This is a significant move for Amazon, with implications for the ecommerce sector. Amazon has for some time had its own social features (such as reviews), but this new move signals a strategic recognition of Facebook - and the importance of social commerce.
We’ve called for a while now for tighter integration between Facebook and ecommerce sites, because it is just common sense. When Facebook rolled out its range of social plugins at the F8 developer conference this year, it became not just common sense but easy to do as well.
Despite more than 100 million fans using Facebook Login, the ecommerce sector has been slow to adopt it. Early ecommerce websites tended to be in gaming and fashion, targeting the teen market. But there is one massive and compelling reason to implement Facebook Login.
Visitors like it. And they use it.
According to Facebook, three times more visitors will login to their Facebook account on an ecommerce site than would create an account/register. That’s significant.
Visitors don’t like creating accounts everywhere. They forget how to login and don’t like sharing personal details unless they are willing to trust the site.
In the last few months, we’ve seen a growing appetite from the ecommerce sector to look afresh at social media integration, and in particular, Facebook Like and Login. Facebook Like has been a runaway success, with almost 70 percent of emarketers planning to - or have already - implement it on their ecommerce sites (data from SeeWhy, here).
Only fifteen percent of emarketers have implemented Facebook Login so far, with a further eighteen percent planning to do so. That’s one third of ecommerce sites - much more than you might think. But Amazon’s move is set to change that for good and has put Facebook Login firmly on the ecommerce map.
For those of you that don’t know how Amazon’s use of Facebook works, here’s a brief overview:
Amazon, like most brands, operates two websites for the US: Amazon.comand the Amazon Facebook site. Until now, as a user of both, you needed to have two accounts; and each site is distinct and separate, linked only by hyperlinks.
With this announcement, Amazon has set up a beta program for a new ‘Your Amazon Facebook’ page which, after the visitor has logged in using their Facebook account, will include pictures of the visitor’s friends with upcoming birthdays, together with gift suggestions for each based on the friends’ favourite music (from Facebook) and their wish lists (from Amazon).
The Amazon Facebook page also includes recommendations popular among the visitor’s friends as well as suggestions based on his/her Facebook profile.
You can get an early preview of what this looks like here. This screenshot shows what Facebook is currently recommending on It shows the hot items, such as anticipated music before its release, and offers links to those items directly. For example, the link to the Xbox 360 250GB takes you directly to the product detail page and the Add to Cart button.

What’s neat is that you can try out these recommendations yourself for your own ecommerce site.
I’ve covered the Facebook Recommendations plugin in some detail here, and if you want to try it out visit the Facebook Developer site here.

Charles Nicholls is founder and chief strategy officer at SeeWhy.

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