It was inevitable that online shopping and Facebook would merge. Until last year, Facebook was only being utilized as a storefront by a limited number of retailers. That is, retailers would advertise their products on their Facebook page and the “add to cart” button would direct the customer from the Facebook page to the cart on the retailer’s actual website. In an article from Social Media Examiner, Tim Ware discusses the development of this technology.
1-800-Flowers was the first to take the leap from storefront to store. This marked the very first time in Facebook history that customers could perform a complete transaction without leaving Facebook.
On their Facebook page, a customer is presented with a “Shop” tab, which takes users to the Facebook Shoplet page. When the “Start Shopping” button is clicked, they are taken to the Facebook page where the goods are located and they can shop away!
One of the payment methods retailers can offer when creating a Facebook store is Payvment, which according to Ware, is the leading Facebook shopping platform. Payvment employs Paypal’s “Adaptive Payments” API, integrating the application fully inside Facebook. Providing a product search and a Facebook-wide shopping cart structure. Basically, users can purchase products from multiple Facebook stores in one transaction.
Payvment enables retailers to provide FedEx and UPS shipping calculations. It even allows retailers to offer various discounts to their customers that “like” their pages.
A year has passed since 1-800-Flowers created their Facebook shopping experience and in that time, most retailers were either hesitant or uninterested in joining the fun. Today, more retailers seem to be catching on.
In an article on Internet Retailer, Zak Stambor reported that retailer J.C. Penny launched their Facebook shop on December 14, 2010. Their goal with the page is to make shopping more accessible and drive sales, according to their Vice President of Customer Experience, Nick Bomersback. J.C. Penny’s hope is that the feature will allow for their fans and customers to more easily browse special offers and items and act on them.
They partnered with Usablenet to open the shop, allowing users not only to purchase items, but also to discuss them, “like” them, and share them with other Facebook users.
Like 1-800-Flowers, J.C. Penny’s page allows customers to access the store by a “Shop” tab which directs them to the page with their inventory, and “add to bag” button as well as the options to discuss and share the items.
J.C. Penny’s and other Facebook retailers are analyzing sales via Google Analytics, but not many are releasing their sales activity at this time.
Even so, retailers are now able to increase their revenue while simultaneously having an additional communication outlet with their customers.
This may just become the hottest new development in social media and shopping!