Retailers flock to Facebook with e-commerce apps


Retailers flock to Facebook with e-commerce apps

Warwick Ashford

Facebook could become the next big online shopping site, as retailers plan to roll out linked e-commerce applications.

At least 20 US retailers are planning to open virtual storefronts on Facebook in the next two months, according to the Financial Times.

Large general and electronics retailers are expected to follow US floral retailer 1-800-Flowers in running e-commerce applications on Facebook.

T-shirt seller Threadless and department store Sears also have limited e-commerce functionality in their Facebook applications.

Businesses are increasingly turning to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to help boost flagging revenues in the economic downturn.

The trend could be the start of a transformation that could turn Facebook into a retail destination, said analysts.

Enabling users to do shopping on the site will increase Facebook's ability to attract and retain users, they said.

Facebook has yet to reveal any plans it may have to capitalise on the trend, but Twitter has launched a guide for businesses on how to make the most of the microblogging site.

Twitter's home page has also undergone a redesign that makes it look more like a service for professionals.

Many businesses see benefit in Twitter's marketing, brand-building and customer interaction opportunities.

But recent technical faults and poor support have raised questions about whether businesses should wait until Twitter resolves these problems.

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