Shop.org’s annual retail technology summit in Grapevine, Texas has been and gone for another year. Experts from across the globe were all in attendance with more than 180 solution providers and various BIG !dea sessions taking place to discuss the major talking points and emerging themes.

Unsurprisingly the majority of discussions centred around social networks and the impact they are having on the digital marketplace. The Dallas Morning News reported that a number of retailers are starting to believe that social networks, Facebook in particular, are no longer just websites, they are platforms for whole communities in the online world.

Retailers are now communicating with customers on Facebook about the latest products being released in stores, giving away stock through various competitions and posting weekly ads in a bid to attract business. With Christmas only a few months away, companies are looking to build their presence on social networks and have taken to building Facebook “stores” that will allow customers to make purchases without ever having to leave the site.

This move is hardly surprising as recent research has shown that Facebook accounts for roughly 25% of all traffic on the internet, with more than 30 billion pieces of content shared monthly on the site and more than 1 million websites integrating with Facebook.

A number of retailers including Best Buy, Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy in the US have begun to embrace what some industry experts are calling social commerce, a format which looks like it could be the next big thing in online shopping.

Facebook has become the “go to” website for people of all ages and continues to go from strength to strength. In many ways it is not a huge surprise that retailers are now looking to this medium as a means to reach their target audience, particularly when there is such a large number of people who use Facebook as their homepage, search engine and in the future possibly even as a virtual shopping centre.

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not necessarily represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com