What is GAFA?
In a world with a multiplicity of acronyms, GAFA refers to the four colossi of the internet:
Google • Apple • Facebook • Amazon
In today’s online daily life, you could ask Google how to bake a pound cake, use your Apple smartphone to check Facebook to find what your high school crush has made of their life, and, instead of going to the mall you can log on to Amazon and the mall will come to you. Indeed, we may find ourselves questioning how we used to do anything without GAFA.
GAFA and Online Shopping
More and more people are shopping online. It doesn’t matter which device we are using – mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop – or where our location is, if we are researching a product or service we are interested in, Google will track it down for us. As far as browsing the web is concerned, Google is king. In fact, Google has become such a big part of everyday online life that it has been turned into a verb – everyone “googles.” If you are shopping for a product or service online you invariably “google it.”
You wouldn’t be able to “google” to find whatever you want to shop for online without a piece of hardware to enable you to do so. The Apple iPhone is not just a phone – it could be argued that it’s also by far the most successful online shopping product ever to have appeared on the market. Since its game-changing launch in 2007, the iPhone has garnered an extremely loyal user base that eagerly awaits the latest reincarnation (there have been thirteen so far). As of August 2017, more than one billion iPhones have been sold worldwide.
Data analysis from Facebook reveals that people are doing most of their online shopping via their mobile phones (think the Apple iPhone for example). Facebook, as the premier social media platform, is becoming more and more important to online retailers and shoppers by enabling retailers to display their stuff on the Facebook platform and find the right people to buy it. Facebook also offers tools for businesses to reach their desired global audiences such as its IQ Cross-Border Insights Finder.
The final “A” in GAFA is Amazon, without doubt the leader when it comes to buying anything online, including software and video games. When you “google” on your Apple device to search for something to buy online, count how many links to that item or similar items are Amazon links. It sometimes seems that the only place you can buy anything is on Amazon. And, shoppers have noticed this and many of them are going straight to Amazon to search. By subscribing to Amazon Prime, frequent shoppers can take advantage of free postage.
The GAFA Effect
The mighty four GAFA companies have set the standard for leadership when it comes to building loyalty and commitment in customer relationships. Google can predict customer buying preferences through sophisticated algorithms; Apple doesn’t just sell phones, it also offers a style and a feeling; Facebook can grab and hold a user’s attention and time to eat up to fifty minutes of their total time online; And, many shoppers go straight to Amazon to start their searches. GAFA has transformed the idea of selling from a simple financial transaction into a long-term beneficial relationship both for GAFA and for consumers.