A dispatch from the new e-commerce front: Facebook

E-commerce is, like, so 2010. These days, it’s all about “F-commerce” — with major brands hawking everything from ketchup to skinny jeans via the world’s most popular social network.

When Facebook opened up its tabs iFrame for developers and expanded offerings for applications and business pages in February, it unlocked a whole world of opportunities for enterprise. Suddenly, businesses could gussy up their Facebook pages, making them look and feel a lot less like, well, Facebook pages.

Meanwhile, merchants could take advantage of new, seamless click and pay e-commerce options. Hence, F-Commerce was born. In the last few months, various corners of the web have been debating whether Facebook could really overtake the web. Some say yes, while others say no.

While in Austin, Texas, I met Steve Golab, an F-commerce pioneer who this week started hawking coffee mugs, T-shirts and burnt-orange and brown (a very trendy color combo) burlap totes on a newly launched Facebook storefront. Golab, the co-founder and CEO of interactive marketing company FG Squared isn’t banking his business on selling eco-friendly grocery bags, he’s betting that other small- to medium-sized businesses that make up his agency’s clientele are going to move away from the big wide open web and into the giant walled garden of Facebook.

While last year, the bulk of his work was focused on the Jive platform for enterprise clients, now he wants to design for Facebook. “To me it was fairly obvious, it was a no-brainer really,” says Golab.

FG Squared offers custom jobs (the whole package, from project management to design and copywriting will run just under $10,000), but the business model is obviously turning to creating plug and play templates for businesses to use themselves — something Golab hopes to offer.

The biggest advantage for smaller businesses— well, other than instant access to the largest social  network and the ability to communicate with your community instantly—it’s free. There is no monthly hosting or domain fees.  And, at least for now, Facebook isn’t taking a cut of sales.

“This is what we are all wondering about now. How long will it last?,” Golab says. “The success of this is really hinging on what Facebook decides to do. If they start charging, that could be it.”

Photo courtesy of Flickr user overthinkingme.