My quest when midnight shopping is to see what I can buy for five bucks or less, including postage. Thank you Ebay for the crap I’m getting sent home much to my wife’s amusement. Then I was introduced – a great place to waste time and only spend a fiver a pop. Go on, have a look! (Hat tip to Yvette @ellaslist)

So, I have bought a few random things recently. I have a quest when up settling my little baby boy in the middle of the night. Or rather, when not settling him.

And this is all thanks to the smart phone in my pocket.

My point? Well, the point is that point of purchase is now temporal not geographical.

The world has rushed from nought-to-f in sixty seconds. From real world commerce (or “nought-commerce”; no prefix there, see) to electronic-commerce (inevitably, e-commerce). Then f-commerce. And let me say, the “F” here does not represent a swearword. Well, Facebook isn’t a swearword unless you’re a Winklevoss twin. Yeah, the “nought-to-F” alludes to the prefixes linked to the word “commerce”.

And while the rest of the world got used to buying locally online (yep, electronic-commerce) Australia started to shop overseas, online. Last Christmas time Gerry Harvey (of “nought” or “offline” consumer electricals retailing fame, Harvey Norman) et al woke up and pleaded that it just wasn’t fair that punters were getting better prices online, especially as they weren’t having to pay Goods and Services Tax on it either. Well, Gerry, maybe it’s time to get more competitive.

And just as Australia wakes up to the opportunities and perils (depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting) of e-commerce, the mobile phone started to ring.

“Bienvenu M. Commerce.”

Nope, not a voice call this time: simply, data are flying into our pockets as the cash flows from our bank accounts. Often via Paypal.

TIME TO PAY, PAL. Is that a shopping mall in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

The logos in the pic on the left are some of the buying apps and mobile web pages saved on the smart phone in my pocket.

So e-commerce has allowed Aussie consumers to shop overseas. m-Commerce on the other hand has allowed consumers to become shoppers at different times of the day.

See the table below (Source: Nielsen report for Paypal, March 2011) which shows how shopping on the way to work and last thing before sleep is becoming the time to catch shoppers. Curiously, the commute home isn’t a shopping time!


Of course, as an ex-media planner this gives me cause to ponder. I thought transport media had a purpose as a broadcast medium to capture commuters. But Nielsen’s research shows how all media along the commute to work has now become “point of purchase”.

And the next piece to the puzzle is to work out which online retailer which is has the largest loyal following of all? Yep, didn’t you see the youtube film with the Fatboy Slim soundtrack telling us that facebook is the world’s third largest country? Well, Facebook-commerce is last year’s next big thing. Perhaps no news there. Facebook is big. Hell, there was even that feature film all about the rise and rise of Facebook. And before 2006 we were facebookless.

Personally (and comparatively), I spend little time on Facebook. But clearly I’m alone. After all:

  • Websites that do not engage in e-commerce are losing traffic to their Facebook pages at a startling rate
  • Facebook stores are very efficient at traffic acquisition acquiring visitors at no cost through wall posts and establishing a store monthly user base equal to 1-10% of the retailer’s fan base
  • Facebook commerce conversion rates ranging from 2% to 4% are on par with Commerce websites.


What’s more, f-commerce is nicely summarised in this presentation, by the Miami based blog – click the “f-commerce FAQ” image for a link to the pdf.

So, there we have it: we’ve now gone from commerce to e-commerce to m-commerce to f-commerce… From nought-to-F in sixty seconds. (Or do you read slower than that?!)

(More on mobile commerce from Paypal & Nielsen here:  This was presented at a Paypal breakfast to which I was invited by Steve Brennen at Paypal – hat tip to Steve for both the expression “f-commerce” and the info related to it!)