Facebook Commerce: A Brief History

Tracking the Ascent of the Social Network's Next Big Business

By Published on .

Bernhard Warner
Bernhard Warner

Brands have been hawking product on their Facebook fan pages for no more than two years now and yet the promise of F-commerce has the retail world buzzing. One prediction says social commerce will top $30 billion globally by 2015, with Facebook-generated sales one of the primary drivers. Certainly brands like Gap, Delta Air Lines and 1-800-Flowers.com have seen some returns on their early investments in setting up a shop window on the world's busiest social network.

As we arrive then at the two-year anniversary of the first Facebook transaction -- a $34 bouquet of flowers off 1-800-Flowers -- we at Social Media Influence went back to the origins of the social network and looked at the milestones that have built it into an ascendant force in online retail. (What better way to tell it, we figured, then with an infographic researched and designed by SMI's Sonia Malpeso.)

To be sure, the brief but event-filled history brings with it some doubts too. For example, despite the billion-dollar predictions, only a small percentage of retailers are actually transacting on Facebook and consumer doubts linger about sharing their credit card details with a Facebook merchant. Where have we heard that before? It sounds a lot like the early days of consumer e-commerce in the late '90s.

Behavioral Archetypes chart
Bernhard Warner is a director at the editorial consultancy Custom Communication and is co-founder of Social Media Influence. He tweets at @socialinfluence and at @bernhardwarner.
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