There has been some serious discussion lately about the viability of Facebook-related commerce. To get caught up, read WM's post Solving the Facebook Merchant Exodus.
Whether you're a believer now in f-commerce or not, it's hard to imagine the social network without an e-commerce component in the future. One of the reasons many larger retailers and brands have been hesitant (and which may be preventing broader adoption) is related to the issue of security. Gradually, merchants are seeing solutions emerge that slowly address the issue. Case in point, social commerce software ShopIgniter announced the availability of an enterprise-scale platform last week designed specifically for Internet retailers.
The social commerce platform from ShopIgniter is one of the first solutions to deliver an "integrated" set of e-commerce experiences, including Group Gifting and seamless Facebook purchases, but it doesn't stop there. The offering is wrapped in a technology infrastructure that offers full integration with existing retail software systems and more importantly addresses the rigorous security requirements of businesses. Retailers including Levi's, Target, Nike Golf, Kaenon and others have sophisticated technology requirements for their commerce operations, particularly PCI Level 1 certification.
"Customers expect, and brands demand, the same level of security and confidence when buying through social channels as they do on their eCommerce stores," says Matt Compton, CEO of ShopIgniter. "By adding PCI Level 1 certification to our Social Commerce Platform, we're proud to offer brands and retailers the most complete social commerce offering on the market, with peace of mind that their transactions and data are completely secure."
Security is certainly important to big name retailers, but it’s the features that will likely drive usage long term. The highlight of the platform for many merchants is sure to be the group gifting capabilities. The system uses Facebook's built-in friend lists and messages to coordinate a unique, social purchasing flow -- and then processes multiple contributions for a single transaction.
What will separate f-commerce solution providers from one another is in the ability to create a variety of experiences for their users. In addition to group gifting, SI clients can create programs for new product launches, special offers for key customers, flash/private sales and even seasonal and holiday collections.