By Claire West

Ecwid, Inc., producer of the world’s first platform-neutral, drop-in store builder widget, has shown that Facebook commerce (f-commerce) stands to be a £3.1bn revenue opportunity for UK businesses over the next three years. UK consumers spent £50.34 billion on e-commerce purchases in 2011 and the research conducted by TNS, has revealed that 6.1% of online purchases over the next 3 years will be made via Facebook. Currently, only 4% of GB consumers have purchased goods from Facebook, but the research showed that 40% would be happy to buy goods from Facebook if it delivered a similar shopping experience to an online store. Furthermore, 25% said that they would prefer to shop on Facebook rather than eBay as it potentially offered them a more personal way to buy and sell goods.

Ruslan Fazylev, CEO and Founder of Ecwid stated, “While Facebook commerce may still be in its infancy, this study shows that it has the potential to grow massively. Many businesses now have a presence on Facebook but relatively few have been able to successfully monetise it to date. It is now actually quite easy to set up a store on Facebook which offers the same experience as a traditional online store. Furthermore, businesses also have the benefits of a vast social network on their virtual doorsteps. Those businesses that embrace f-commerce in the future are set to see a significant revenue boost. In fact, our figures show that businesses that sell from an f-commerce store alongside their traditional website have generated an additional 17.7% of revenue.”

The research then went on to reveal that despite many businesses having a presence on Facebook, many consumers weren’t currently seeing much value in them. In fact, a huge 85% of consumers stated they currently didn’t feel that they received any real value when they ‘like’ a brand’s Facebook page. However, 57% said they would be more likely to ‘like’ a company’s Facebook page if they were able to receive special offers and discount codes to use on their online store. Based on recent figures from Ecwid, the average value of one ‘like’ for brands with successful f-commerce stores can be worth up to $21.49 (£13.70) in sales per year. This indicates that significant opportunities are available to businesses to monetise their Facebook presence.

Fazylev went on to state, “Businesses to date have invested a lot of time in building Facebook pages and growing their communities. However, there still appears to be a missed opportunity for many businesses when it comes to users ‘liking’ their pages. As the research figures show, the majority of consumers don’t feel they are getting any value. However, by creating a Facebook page and store in which a ‘like’ provides values to customers, businesses ensure a more engaged customer who is not only likely to purchase more, but also to recommend their experience to their friends and networks.”

The research went on to more widely reveal the top customer frustrations with e-commerce. 40% of consumers found a poorly designed online store to be their biggest turn-off when it comes to buying, closely followed by time-consuming transaction processes (39%), lack of a visible ‘Help’ or ‘Contact Us’ button (39%) and limited payment options (27%).

Fazylev added, “These figures show that many businesses are still failing to provide a great online shopping experience. A ‘turned off’ customer is more likely to abandon a purchase and just go to another online store, which can result in lost revenue. It is important for businesses of any size to ensure that their online store does not deter customers and provides a secure and easy to navigate purchasing experience. The e-commerce market continues to grow and it will be those businesses with the most user-friendly stores that will stand to reap the benefits.

The survey of 2,046 GB consumers was commissioned by Ecwid and conducted by independent research company TNS Omnibus.