Google Checkout Checks Out – the Service to “Sunset” on November the 20th, 2013

Google checkout is soon to be dead. Recent changes to Google’s strategy made the product obsolete. The change will affect mostly physical goods merchants as Google offers options for digital goods and app sellers.

While PayPal can surely be happy about it, customers will not be. However, the company has partnered with companies providing payment processing options (Braintree), online store solutions (Shopify) and online invoicing (FreshBooks).

If anything – Google is moving even deeper into ecommerce services

Google Shopping Express
Google Shopping Express

The recent changes and Google Checkout’s “Sunset” (definitely a great spin) will not change the interest Google has for ecommerce services. The company is looking for places it can grab a larger market share, places with a faster growth rate. Here are some:

  1. Shopping Express – Same day delivery service for companies such as Staples (second largest online retailer), Office Depot, Toys’R’Us. Launched in march 2013, it expanded september 2013 to include the area between San Francisco and San Jose. It currently offers 6 months free trial to customers signing up until Dec. 31st
  2. Google Wallet Instant Buy – a service that provides a multichannel solution to payments, allowing customers to pay on mobile, on the desktop and in app.

Google is still interested in ecommerce. It just figured out Google Checkout was not going to happen.

So – if you are a Google Checkout customer – remember, remember, the 20th of November.

Twitter Files for IPO. Expected to go Public at More Than $15 Billion Valuation

In a recent tweet (how else?) Twitter made public its plans to go public:

The IPO will probably be lead by Goldman Sachs and as the company has already received offers between $26 and $28 a share which puts the company valuation somewhere above $15 billion.

What’s next for Twitter, before the IPO ?

twitter logoNow that Twitter has made public its plans, it will need to add some figures to its revenue. The fact that they were able to submit a S-1 form confidentially means that Twitter’s revenue is still under 1 billion (their recent moves show that they are trying to reach that target by end 2014).

Three things to expect now that Twitter has announced it will go public

Soon enough we will probably know more about what’s under the hood but we should be expecting some changes in the company and in the market:

  1. More focus on revenue. Duh! Twitter recently hired ex Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard to handle Commerce operations. Note that there is no one too high profile handling this at Facebook.
  2. One of the reasons Twitter hasn’t yet gone public is Facebook. Although Mark Zuckerberg seemed to handle the IPO pretty well, the fact is Facebook was overvalued and undertraded in the first half-year after the public offering but then George Soros bought in… Dick Costolo thought it would be better to wait a little bit and see how everything works out for FB. Now that Facebook’s stocks are trading well above its initial prices, things seem to be a little brighter.
  3. Twitter will need to turn their ads into something that generates global traction. That means they will probably implement new formats. I expect it to focus a lot on multichannel experience and conversion.

Apple CEO Tim Cook: “The App Store is the Biggest Online Store that We Know Of” – WWDC 2013

Tim Cook at WWDC 2013
Tim Cook at WWDC 2013

Apple has just released its new iPhone 5S at the WWDC 2013. That’s the biggest news in tech right now. Now for something more online retail related news – Apple’s CEO declared App Store to be the biggest online store that they know of, and he sure has some figures to back that up:

  1. Apple sold over 50 billion apps in the App Store
  2. There are 900 000 applications online, 93% of which have been downloaded in the previous month
  3. There are more than 375 000 iPad apps, more than any other tablet
  4. Most important – there are 575 million registered users, most of which have registered with their credit card and are ready to pay with one click

Yup, the App Store has 575 million registered users.

appstore

So – we have one of the largest companies in the world, with one of the biggest online retail operations that just mentioned that it has almost 600 million users ready to buy whatever they’re sold with the click of a button. They sold 50 billion apps. They have roughly 500 million iOS devices out there on the market. Let’s just think for a moment of what would happen if Apple decided to seriously go into … I don’t know … books?

Beat that, Amazon.

Twitter Starts Developing Commerce Operations. Hires Ticketmaster CEO to Lead Commerce Efforts

Twitter has recently hired Nathan Hubbard, former Ticketmaster president, to lead the charge on its commerce operations. This move is a part of Twitter’s efforts to pass the $1 billion revenue threshold by 2014. With its current revenues coming almost exclusively from advertising, Twitter figured it can unlock its social commerce potential, a market that is still untapped by most social networks.

Twitter's new Head of Commerce - Nathan Hubbard
Twitter’s new Head of Commerce – Nathan Hubbard

While Twitter’s intention is not exactly disruptive or unexpected, it is interesting to have a look at some of the subtle nuances. Hubbard recently declared in an interview that…

“We’re going to go to people who have stuff to sell and help them use Twitter to sell it more effectively. One of the hallmarks of Twitter’s entire approach has been partnering. We’re going to take the same approach with owners of physical and digital goods.

– Nathan Hubbard

Taking into account Hubbard’s words and the recent developments in social media and eCommerce some things are to be expected:

  1. It’s really important to note that Twitter’s efforts seem to be going into C2C territory, as well as the traditional approach into B2C. Twitter’s users may be empowered to exchange and trade stuff on the social network, an activity that is not that uncommon on its main competitor platform, Facebook. That may mean that Twitter’s commerce innovation will be to help transform its social network by adding a C2C commerce layer, not unlike Ebay’s platform. It does have the users, it might just as well let them trade.
  2. There seems to be a great focus on digital goods, as they may work better with the digital market Twitter is building. Some of Facebook’s best commerce results came from digital content, such as apps, especially Mobile App Install Ads. The Install Ads have helped Facebook increase its share of mobile – related revenue to 41% of total. But digital products is a far larger market than apps. It goes beyond to include concert tickets, airline reservations, hotel reservations, digital books and many others.
  3. You might have noticed that Twitter left the “e” out of its “eCommerce” operations as the company has a Commerce target. Both online and offline. A multichannel approach, if you will. As the lines between traditional and online retail have become almost invisible in the past years, Twitter seems to be looking into an integrated commerce approach, tracking and targeting the potential consumer via brick and mortar stores, as well as online. To help deliver metrics on such efforts, the company recently paid $90 million for Bluefin, a social and TV advertising metrics company.

 

There is a high chance that Twitter’s commerce efforts might not be all that spectacular, as even the mighty Facebook seems to be running around in circles when it comes to commerce, but I am personally looking forward to see where their efforts take them.

Smartwatch Commerce? It Might Happen. Ebay is testing Ecommerce Apps on the New Samsung Smartwatch

We all knew it was coming but we kinda expected Apple to be the first one to market the Smartwatch. Although the fifth iPod Nano generation kinda looked like a watch, it was not one.

Samsung just launched the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch (I’ll just stick with “Samsung Smartwatch”). The company’s CEO, mr.  J.K. Shin, unveiled the gadget in front of a 2.5 k audience in Berlin, two days before the opening of  IFA Berlin.

Among other features, the Samsung Smartwatch comes in 6 colors (Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green) and users can choose from 12 third party apps (58 more to be announced). One of those is powered by Ebay.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch.

What does Ebay’s App for Smartwatch do?

Ebay's m-commerce app for Samsung Smartwatch
Ebay’s m-commerce app for Samsung Smartwatch

First off, just as you might expect, Ebay’s Smartwatch app is really limited in terms of features, mostly due to the low interaction area.  With a 320×320 px amoled screen the Samsung Smartwatch is not the world’s best platform for mobile commerce apps.

It is, however, big enough to handle things such as bidding, alerts and a simplified browsing system.

As Ebay is moving into mobile apps that improve users experience and retention the app is a bold move and it  may be more to it than it meets the eye.

Could Ebay for smartwatch handle barcode scanning or instant bidding?

One of the things that sets Samsung’s Smartwatch appart from the competitition is the 1.9 megapixel built-in camera. It might just be that the most interesting thing about this device, in terms of mobile commerce, could be the camera’s possible barcode scanning abilities. In such a case users could just walk into a store, test products, scan the barcode and later purchase the product on Ebay.

An instant bidding feature that follows barcode scanning might just make sense when it comes to smartwatch commerce.

Is there any future to Smartwatch Commerce?

We all know that mobile commerce has not yet really taken off. People are indeed using mobile apps to search for products, browse online stores but they are not actually shopping. When it comes to to smartphones or even tablets, customers are yet to be as trusty with mobile apps or mobile versions of online stores. When tablets and smartphones can’t really deliver how would a 320×320 px resolution smartwatch do that?

The answer is that we shouldn’t treat different screens as separate media. They are part of the multichannel experience that drives the customer to purchase a product. The customer will probably scan a product to find info online regarding the price, compare it on a mobile phone or tablet to other products, read the full description and get more info on the desktop or the brick and mortar store and than purchase.

Ebay’s strategy to build a multichannel, multidevice customer experience might be the winning formula. It sure did work miracles for Apple.

Why Gmail’s New Interface is a Direct Hit to Email Marketing?

Gmail has recently switched on its new tab based interface. As a general rule – when the leading email provider changes something so signifiant in its interface, it must be somewhat important. On one hand users get a cleaner, marketing free first view of their inbox. On the other hand, and marketers should really be worried about this – users get a cleaner, marketing free, first view of their inbox.

gmailtabs

What are the changes in Gmail’s tabbed interface?

First and foremost Gmail changed the stream – like view of incoming email to a tabbed organizer, that seems to organize individual emails pretty well into 5 main categories:

  1. Primary – usually email from individuals
  2. Social – emails focused on social media activity
  3. Promotions – marketing messages from brands you’ve subscribed to
  4. Updates – usually transactional emails such as internal messages notifications, registration confirmation and others
  5. Forums – notifications from forums or groups you’ve subscribed to

Of course – as any automated organizer system, Gmail’s tabbed interface may sometimes be wrong. Users can now move incoming emails from one tab to another and “teach” Gmail where to put incoming mail.

Why is the tabbed interface so important to Google and Marketers ?

Google, through its AdWords advertising program and contextual traffic sends much of the qualified traffic to online stores and other online marketers. It is so good at generating qualified traffic that it’s only real competitor so far is email marketing.

As you probably know – Google is all about advertising. Its main revenue source comes from AdWords and as such the “Do no evil” company needs to protect its cash cow.

Splitting the screen will lower email open rate and, in turn , email conversion rates. Soon enough marketers will find that in order to reach their established customer database they will need to improve marketing efforts in order to move their company emails from the dreaded “promotions” tab to “primary” by the incentivized will of their subscribers.

Is the tabbed inbox going to change email marketing?

Probably. What I definitely know is that online retailers will need to adapt to this change or risk cutting off one of their most profitable traffic sources.

Another thing that I find obvious is that this type of interface change will soon be adopted by all major email providers such as Hotmail or Yahoo Mail and than we will see the real impact this change had.

Three Technologies that are Disrupting (Online) Retail

Retail is changing fast and it’s part due to some new, disrupting technologies that we can see at work with companies such as Amazon, eBay or Walmart. Here are three of these technologies:

1. Print on Demand

Long gone are the days when self-published authors needed to spend a small fortune to get their novels printed, when refused by publishers.

If you wonder what exactly is print on demand here’s the basic info: say you’ve written a book. You’ve designed the book covers, you you’ve checked your beautiful work of art for grammar errors and now you wanna sell. If you’ve heard about print on demand you know you have to upload the document in PDF format, sign up for a free or premium service and companies such as CreateSpace or Lightning Source will print that document whenever someone orders your precious book. They keep a share of the revenue, the customer gets your book and you get to brag to your nephews that you are a self published author.

Anyone can sell print-on-demand (POD) books, without publishing large numbers of books, keeping them stored and dealing with the hassle of distribution and marketing. All they have to do is choose one of the larger print on demand services, upload an already fully designed book (complete with book covers, headings, table of contents and all the other things typically reserved to book designers).

Amazon’s Create space

Create Space, an Amazon Company
Create Space, an Amazon Company

Amazon’s CreateSpace features one of the best services reserved for upcoming authors that need to publish their works as fast and cost-effective as possible.  Although anyone can theoretically publish their book by themselves, a certain amount of help with book design, copy editing and of course marketing is usually needed. CreateSpace offers a wide array of services to those willing to pay for it.

The big plus: with CreateSpace the conversion to Kindle format and distribution in Amazon’s market is fast and easy so new authors can enjoy being published on the worlds biggest book market and its new prodigy – the Kindle ebook reader.

Once the user sets up its basic account he or she can start selling. Of course, Amazon will charge 20 to 60% plus a fixed printing amount. No one said writing is necessarily profitable.

Lightning Source

Lightning Source
Lightning Source

Create Space’s biggest competitor is Lightning Source, a subsidiary of Ingram, a company that deals with connecting publishers to stores and libraries. I mentioned that because if you want to see your book in a real library shelf you are most likely to choose Lightning Source.

The company has a remarkable distribution operation with libraries and stores, unlike Amazon, who is still not really in the friendliest terms with libraries, stores or publishers.

Other companies that provide print on demand services are Blurb, a bit more expensive and usually oriented to photo books, and HP’s MagCloud, featuring reasonable prices and fairly competitive printing.

2. 3D printing

iPhone case
iPhone case

We can print books on demand  but what about other things? What if you could shorten your supply chain to just a big 3D printing machine, without any need for factories, suppliers or stocks that might or might not sell?

Right now the 3D printing revolution seems to be more of tech subculture than a real business. But you know what? So did the PC market back in the 60’s.

Here’s something Ebay just launched: a new product called Ebay Exact, a partnership that brings together three leading 3D printing companies (MakerBot, Sculpteo and Hot Pop Factory). Ebay’s users can now browse to a set of products from these companies, choose from a wide selection of materials, colors and options and create their personal favorite product.

This is just a small step into creating better products with faster delivery time and the 3d printing market will soon evolve to a popular solution for online and offline retailers. If you balance production, shipping and import taxes soon enough we will be better off printing, say, a chair than purchasing it from a factory overseas.

3. Robotic Warehouse Management

Kiva Robot
Kiva Robot

Although we haven’t been overrun by sentient robots as SF books and movies predicted – we did shift a lot of work to these machines. With ever growing online retail operations – humans just don’t fit in anymore in the warehouse, as their jobs and responsibilities are shrinking by the days.

Kiva Systems is a company that deals in fulfillment automation. It provides technology and robotic warehouse management to the likes of Amazon.com.

Have a look at how they manage to put their little orange robots to work:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWsMdN7HMuA&w=420&h=315]

Higher Education can’t Keep Up: Online Retailers Need to Hire Experience, not Diplomas

It’s pretty hard for anyone to admit it but it’s true: universities can’t keep up with the times. They cannot deliver qualified individuals for the growing online retail segment because there is nothing to be qualified on. Of course, there are some courses that cover some successful business models but truth be told there is no use in knowing Amazon’s business model as long as there is already one Amazon on the market.

The original college drop-out overachiever.
The original college drop-out overachiever.

How did it come to this? When did this pillars of economic evolution start to lose ground? Let’s have a look at some of the potential causes and some answers on how to hire and develop the right individuals for the online retail segment.

Universities teach rules. On the internet rules are meant to be broken.

The whole concept behind higher education was that one might benefit from (1) a few extra education years, (2) access to some very experienced professors and most important although not usually talked about – (3) a network of like minded, probably successful colleagues. These three factors don’t really apply to online business in general and online retail in particular:

  1. with wonder kids such as Mark Zuckerberg and the Google Duo, dot-com entrepreneurs are expected to be successful before their early thirties. Spending too much time in the academia is not really the best choice if you are an aspiring young millionaire. Have a look at this M. Zuckerberg’s interview back when Facebook was Thefacebook.com. The thing you should be thinking about – how can someone driven, ambitious and aware can stay in college for 4 years when he feels ” ‘near future’ being like anytime in the next seven or eight days.” Remember – this guy is a Harvard drop-out.
  2. as for the “very experienced professors” – there is no way they can actually be that experienced unless their name is somewhere along the lines of Jeff Bezos or Jack Ma. The high education fees and the time spent in conventional education facilities are not really that useful when it comes to innovation. Professors are not really the most adaptable types. Most of them are still trying to understand and explain the Dot.com Bubble. They are historians rather than explorers. Of course, understanding our past can save us from some trouble but it can also lead to a certain lack of innovation, a thing the internet thrives on.
  3. the network of like minded, probably successful colleagues is not really spending that much time in the classroom. They are studying, alright, they are building networks and they are building stuff. Just not where you would expect them to do that. They hang out in technology hubs, they read books on their Kindle and their laboratory is probably a Macbook.

Unfortunately a college diploma shows only that the individual can remember some things and can obey rules. That’s great for middle management and below but what do you do when you need to hire talent? Where can you find people that can turn Brick and Mortar stores into online retailers?

How to attract talent that can develop Online Retail Companies?

No matter how big your company is – you will be always faced with recruiting issues. How to look for the right candidates, how to attract them and how to keep them are always distinctively  difficult issues.

Some of the larger companies, such as Walmart, have chosen the path I believe works best: buying entrepreneurs. When I say buying  – think more than cash. The large pay check is one type of incentive, but not the only one. The right kind of people need a purpose, a direction and the freedom to choose their own teams. They will be motivated by a large vision, a goal to strive to and a team that can help them achieve that goal.

Here’s how Walmart CEO Mike Duke managed to lure ex-eBay engineer Jeremy King, now CTO of Walmart. Notice how Mike Duke had already decided that although ecommerce is not really the biggest piece of the pie – it is the key to continue Walmart’s development in the future.

After years of seeing his company lag online, Duke swore that digital was now a priority for Walmart. Duke had restructured the company, placing e-commerce on equal footing with Walmart’s other, much larger divisions. He had made serious investments in high-tech talent, acquiring several startups.

Hire experience – any kind of experience.

Remember – what did you do when you first tried to ride a bike? Chances are that unless you were an unusually talented  child or a late learner you got a few bruises out of your first try. However, due to those slightly annoying incidents, you managed to learn what to do and what not to do.

As an online retail business owner or manager you should be looking for experience. Experience doesn’t come easy. As I said earlier in the article – there is no one there to teach young professionals what to do and what not to do. So far, at least. As such you will be dealing with people that failed, struggled, tried again and again and eventually learnt a thing or two about online retail.

In time, education will adapt to this changing landscape and it will offer better suited courses. In the same time online retail will develop into a mature industry and things will start to get rusty again, just as it had happened to classic retail. Then you will be able to hire diplomas again. Until then – keep you eyes open for experience.

Predictive Analytics and Why Companies Are Stalking Their Customers

Tomorrow is all about Big Data and how best can you handle it. See, companies don’t need more data. Most medium to large companies either have the data or ways to get it easily available. The problem is – most of them don’t know how to handle it.

Here comes the boom: Predictive Analytics is *the thing* nowadays. Long gone are the days when merely registering data, processing it and acting upon the findings in the next fiscal year was enough. Right now the fastest growing companies register data, analyze it and respond to it in real time.

Predictive analytics and predictive personalization – how do they work?

Hunch Recommendation
Hunch, now part of ebay, offers personalized recommendations based on personal infromation

We all leave trails behind. Our shopping habits, our marital status, our social groups, the shows we watch and gadgets we buy – all these and much more are trails and they are in some database, somewhere. Using this data, or whatever is available at any given moment, predictive analytics software can determine our future actions through two types of programmed responses (it’s a little bit more complicated than that, but you’ll get the picture):

1. Rules Based Personalization – “If this than that”. Basic personalization. Ex.: Customers click on an ad, enter our website and we can determine they are from New York. Let’s show them our stores in New York first. They click on our product catalog, select the high-priced products. Bang! We now know they have a medium to high income. This kind of responsive personalization does not really make use of any kind of predictive analytics. It just reacts to actions. It does not try to predict them. This is a job for…

2. Predictive Personalization – this is something we, humans, can do easily. Machines, not so much. Let’s say our sports store has a sales person with a decent IQ who’s at least a little bit interested in the customers checking out the merchandise. He notices customer X has tried on at least a dozen of sports shoes in the last hour. He walks to the customer and asks him “Hey, can I interest you in this brand new snowmobile? It’s 10% off. Oh, wait that is stupid. That just what old-time ads would do. He would actually ask the customer if he can help him find some shoes that fit and look good. That’s basically what Predictive Personalization is all about: 1. Analyzing the data real time / 2. Using context to pinpoint the best potential recommendation and 3. Personalize the output.

In case you were wondering – yes, there’s a little bit more science to it but the previous example shows what the buzzword stands for. If you are interested in the subject or you’re a future Predictive Analytics Expert you can have a look at “Personalized Recommendation on Dynamic Content Using Predictive Bilinear Models”, on how Wei Chu and Seung-Taek Park of Yahoo Labs used Predictive analytics to recommend better content on Yahoo’s front page.

Why companies use Predictive Analytics to stalk their customers?

You know why Facebook stalking is so easy? Because people want other people to know about their interests. The Millennials, the digital natives, generation Y – they are today’s youth and they are born and living online. They offer their info, they share their interests, they make their photos public. No more mass message. Each and everyone expects to be treated as an individual.

Companies that do not “stalk” their customers are going to be left behind: Amazon is personal, Facebook is personal, Google is personal. Most of the top online retailers are personal and they make customers’ shopping experience unique.

How about offline? Yes, 5 years ago we couldn’t have had any kind of Predictive Analytics or Personalization offline but the iPhone changed that. Now smartphones fill the gap between the data stored online and offline activities. Companies are now tracking consumer behavior through mobile activity and make use of predictive analytics to address individuals needs and wants … well .. individually.

Acting on data is not enough anymore. It’s acting on data NOW that’s important.

F-Commerce And Why Facebook Can’t Get It Up

facebook logoLess than a couple of years ago Facebook Commerce seemed to be inevitable. It just seemed one of those things that are just waiting to happen. Yet it didn’t. After a promising start, e-Commerce’s wonder child just stopped being interesting.

How did that happen? After all – so many were jumping the wagon and everyone was just eager to tap into Facebook’s social market. Well … Facebook’s IPO happened. Its market cap dropped. It got dizzy and greedy. All of a sudden Facebook stopped being a revolutionary product. It stopped valuing its users, be them companies interacting with customers or users (sometimes) willing to have a virtual conversation with a company.

Facebook got greedy and careless

Mark ZuckerbergIn may 2012 Facebook introduced “Promoted Posts”, marketed as another way for page owners to advertise their pages. It slowly, but surely, grew into a steady source of income and a few months later the company allowed page owners to promote pages not only to fans but also friends of fans.

It didn’t stop here. Sponsored stories were introduced in august 2012 and suddenly Facebook Walls stopped being ad-free.

Meanwhile, the Big Daddy of all social networks thought … “hey, there’s a lot of spam out there and people kind wanna spam each other on Facebook too. What if … “.

5 minutes and absolutely no second thoughts later, Facebook introduces … get ready … the option to send unsolicited messages to complete strangers. If paid. Wait a minute … isn’t this spam? Oh, yes it is.

While allowing advertisers to post ads on walls of people completely unconnected to their page, send messages to anyone on Facebook, whether they opted in or not, and generally ignoring the concept of privacy, the company still has the nerve to say … “The problem we face with the news feed is that people come to Facebook everyday, but people don’t have enough time to check out absolutely everything that’s going on” (Will Cathcart, Facebook’s News Feed Product Manager).

Really, Will? Really? So basically I, a Facebook user, don’t have the time to check everything. Unless it’s paid for and then I have the time to check it, even if I never subscribed, liked, opted-in or even thought about that particular piece of content.

Facebook has very long term strategy and short term tactics. How about something in between?

Given this approach, where Facebook showed absolutely no consideration for either users or advertisers, it was of no surprise companies were going to pull back a little bit on their Facebook spending. Facebook Commerce, potentially one of the greatest streams of revenue the company could have tapped into, given the rise and rise of online commerce, was badly affected.

Payvement, a company providing retailers with access to F-Commerce features, just announced it will shutdown Payvement and its partner website Lish.com. The market reacted quickly to the news. Media’s backlash focused on Facebook Commerce but the bottom line is not just about commerce. It’s about Facebook’s vision. We know Mark Zuckerberg  wants his company to usher in a connected world, with no communication restraints and no privacy. We also know that those who invested in the company early on are now pushing for financial results. What  we do not know, and probably Facebook’s management doesn’t either is – what is Facebook all about? Now.

In order to address F-Commerce issues the company may need to take into account a different perspective on its product and market. It has to address some issues such as:

1. Pages should reach their full audience. Free.

Right now the usual Facebook page post reaches approximately 7% of all fan base. Let’s say a Social Media Manager has the audacity to wish for its message to reach all of its fans. Remember – these are people that willingly pressed the “Like” button, knowing that means they will receive updates.

In the mean time – Facebook decides reaching the audience is unethical if unpaid for. Yet if you are a brand and you are willing to pay you can reach your audience easily. And their connections. And their inboxes. And soon enough – their mobile phones.

What is wrong about this is that Facebook never mentioned anything about promoted posts or limiting reach when the companies were developing their Facebook pages through ads, Facebook contests, Facebook content and others that were directly beneficial to the social network.

If you were a large retailer you would think twice before moving your ecommerce operations to a company that neither cares for your business nor does it have any clear development strategy.

2. Facebook.com is just a tool.

The social network concept is out there. Facebook is not innovating anymore. At least nothing useful and visible. Soon enough it will be replicated by a company with a better vision and greater care for its users and advertisers. It is not the first social network and it certainly won’t be the last. Judging by current events Twitter and maybe MySpace (the new one is just amazing) might actually stand a chance at Facebook if they keep on this way.

3. How about thinking before rolling in the changes?

Facebook is an engineers company. Trial and error was fun back in the day and it probably worked when there weren’t 1 billion users actively using it. If you think about it, Apple is also an engineers company but it evolved a human approach. They listen to their customers, even when they are not speaking. Unlike Apple’s, Facebook’s customers, the advertisers, are not really glad about their purchase.

How about the company puts a little more effort into improving its user and customer experience and less into imposing new features that usually help no one?

Bottomline

Facebook needs to think a little bit more on its overall strategy. It really has to figure out what the “F” in F-Commerce stands for. Mark, you gathered 1 billion people, you got this far, don’t “F” it up!