With the world wide web—in all its glory—comes a multitude of ways to reach consumers and sell your products/services. This is what we know as e-commerce.
Today, Facebook is getting in on the commerce game with what is commonly refer to as F-commerce. Although selling via their platform is nothing new (1-800 Flowers was the first store to support transactions entirely within the network in 2009), the fact that they now allow the use of iFrames presents more opportunities for brands to port their e-commerce stores directly to their fan pages.
When it comes to developing a successful store on Facebook, there are many things that shouldn’t be overlooked.
It’s important to consider:
- Design: Whether on a website, Facebook or on Main Street, the appearance of your storefront will determine who—if anyone—comes in to check it out. It is important to make a great first impression. If you have an ecommerce website, don’t deviate from its design. Instead, leverage those same images and colors when creating your Facebook commerce page.
- Deals: A large percentage of people who interact with brands on social media do so in hopes that they will receive exclusive deals. People love to save money online or offline and if you can present an appealing deal to your audience it is more likely that they will buy from your page as well as share it with their friends.
- Usability: 20 years ago people were very skeptical about making purchases on the internet and the same goes for Facebook today. If you want someone to make a purchase on your page, you need to make them feel welcomed and comfortable. Make sure checkout process is seamless and secure.
- Social Features: When creating your commerce page it is important not to lose sight of the fact that your Facebook page is different from your website. There are many features that should be utilized so as to maximize your audience potential. By incorporating ‘share’ and ‘like’ buttons you can reach out to your network as well as the networks of others.
- Your Assets: Remember to consider your assets that can contribute to the success of your page. If you have a renowned spokesperson who is the first thing that comes to mind when people think of your brand, use them. If you have 26 million Facebook, fans create your commerce page using that account to tap into your enormous pool of fans rather than creating a new one and starting from scratch.
- Standing Out: There are over 600 million users on Facebook and more brands are creating commerce pages each day. With so many brand pages out there it’s easy to become lost in the crowd. When implementing your brand’s f-commerce be sure to make it shine brighter than the rest. Use unique designs and/or functionality to make your page different from the rest (keeping usability in mind) and you will be praised by your fans for your lack of conformity.
We shopped around a bit and found 3 brands that have adhered to the above guidelines as well as 3 that may benefit from reading it over once more.
Nine West’s page is a gorgeous example of beauty meets commerce. Using flash, they incorporate images from their site that provide users with a comfortable, familiar shopping experience. Although their store is limited to jewelery at the moment we can see them incorporating more products should this endeavor be successful.
Another notable feature that Nine West employs is the fact that in order to shop, users must first ‘Like’ the brand. This will garner more fans and perhaps act as a measure of its success. They also allow shoppers to ‘Like’ individual products which can provide Nine West with valuable insight on what products their shoppers enjoy.
Sears’ Wish Together page is a bit different than other pages in that it isn’t a full-blown f-commerce store. Rather, it uses an application that highlights special offers and incorporates the power of the social realm by allowing users to ‘Like’ particular products in order to unlock special deals. Products are assigned a time limit and require 50 likes to unlock the special deal which as of right now ranges from 40%-60% off the regular price. Once the threshold has been reached, users can add the items to their cart and are redirected Sears’ website to complete their discounted purchase.
Using an application is a double-edged sword because although it can help by gathering information about your consumers, it may also turn some away. Like Nine West, Sears also requires that users ‘Like’ their page before participating in their Wish Together Deals and even allows users to suggest deals they’d like to see in the future.
Gamestop’s Facebook page is a perfect example of porting the capabilities of their regular site into the Facebook realm. Users can browse the newest available games, soon-to-be-released ones as well as check out the latest deals and best sellers. Like their homepage, shoppers can learn a great amount of detail about products before they buy them such as game features, videos, screenshots and game ratings.
Although no ‘Like’ is required to shop, Gamestop does however incorporate the ‘Like’ button for each of its products and by doing so, they can learn which titles their fans enjoy enough to share within their own networks. Overall the usability is its most outstanding quality, creating a pleasant and familiar experience for shoppers.
Here’s a brand that really knew how to reach its consumer base with its hilarious ad campaign featuring Isaiah Mustafa (you may know him as ‘The Old Spice Guy‘). However, their Facebook store is severely lacking in both design and functionality. The store showcases a small handful of t-shirts available for purchase—some are hysterical—but what they refer to as a store is merely just links to the products on their main page.
This would not be so bad if they had at least incorporated some social functionality into the page. ‘Like’ buttons or the ability to Share products with your friends would better engage consumers than what they currently have. They also don’t utilize their biggest asset, The Old Spice Guy! They use his image for the page but perhaps if they incorporated him and his funny antics into their store it would lead to more purchases or at the very least more visits to their site.
Coca-Cola is one of the largest brands on Facebook. Their main page has over 26 million fans! So why would they create an all new page for their store? That’s a great question. Their store page has just over 15,000 fans and allows fans to browse through copious amounts merchandise from apparel to collectibles.
Although its functionality is very basic, (allowing users to narrow their search down by price and category) they do however take advantage of the share button, which allows shoppers to share products with their friends.
There are a ton of shops on Facebook promoting different television shows. Pages like Dexter’s provide users with a way to purchase products within Facebook but unfortunately isn’t all that unique compared to other TV show pages (see It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Discovery Channel’s pages). They showcase a handful of products on the main screen and upon choosing one you are brought deeper into the store where you can then make your purchase.
Even though the page is very basic (design-wise), the developers behind this page—and a few others—Milyoni did a good job giving users the ability to share products with friends which is one of the most important features brands should take advantage of in the social setting.
More and more brands are using Facebook to sell their products and to promote themselves. However, some just do a better job of incorporating things like unique design, usability, deals, assets and social/sharing features better than others. Have you seen any innovative Facebook stores lately? Let us know, we’d love to hear what you have to say.