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Top 6 Ways for Retailers to Get Results from a Facebook Store

April 11, 2011

Facebook represents an opportunity for retailers to build brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, improve getting found online, and drive in-store traffic.  All of these activities ultimately help drive online revenue, mainly when retailers can successfully aggregate Facebook’s data with consumer data from their ecommerce environment in interesting and compelling ways.  Facebook provides tools to help enable this, such as Facebook Connect, which retailers can leverage to make the “onsite” experience a much richer one.

The “on Facebook” experience is also an important one for most brands.  Retailers have mainly used fan pages to connect with consumers, incorporating creative ways to drive deeper brand loyalty.  Recently, setting up storefronts on Facebook has become another way to engage consumers, and one that potentially could drive additional online revenue.

Approaching a Facebook Store

When deciding whether to build a Facebook Store or not, retailers should consider 6 main factors:

  • A Facebook Store should be one part of a larger Facebook strategy, not the end game. Retailers need to think about a larger Facebook strategy, one that will reach consumers both on-Facebook, but more importantly, “off Facebook” or on the retailer’s site. In fact, Facebook itself views storefronts as “one small piece” of the larger, burgeoning opportunity of social commerce.  The real opportunity is the integration of Facebook into the ecommerce site.  Facebook is also increasingly providing ways for retailers to reach consumers in-store, such as with Facebook Deals, which should also be part of a larger Facebook strategy.
  • Integrate the Facebook Store as part of the brand’s main presence on Facebook.  For most retailers, a fan page is the main presence in Facebook.  Integrate the Store as part of fan page to take advantage of the critical mass of fans and activity that already exist there.  Good examples of this are the 1800 Flowers and JC Penny, both of whom have made their Facebook Stores part of their main fan page.
  • Apply ecommerce best practices without trying to re-create your ecommerce site entirely in Facebook.  Facebook is not an ecommerce platform, so trying to replicate the shopping experience you’ve created on your website (or replace your existing website) should not be an end goal.  Nonetheless, the Facebook storefront should be viewed as an extension of your brand, where ecommerce best practices still apply.  For example, ensuring details about the product, such as care instructions, and size charts, as well as an ability to select size, color and view dynamic product images all apply in Facebook.
  • Use Facebook social data as part of the Facebook Store experience.  If you’re building a store in Facebook, why not leverage Facebook social data to make the experience even more compelling?  The social data could be part of the shopper’s social graph (to gain greater personalization) or outside of the shopper’s social graph (useful if the shopper’s social graph is not active in that particular Store).  An example would include an in-page activity stream of all the Facebook users who have visited that brand’s Facebook Store, revealing info such as what they’ve purchased, put in their cart, liked, commented, etc..  This would enrichen the shopping experience in the Facebook Store and increase the chances they would transact.
  • Implementing a Facebook Store does not require a lot of time and resources.  Most Facebook Stores can be up and running with little technical knowledge and a short amount of time.  Since the cost of implementing a Facebook Store is so low and the revenue potential so immediate, the benefit of doing so outweighs the cost, thus making it a worthwhile investment.
  • Be realistic about the amount of online revenue a Facebook Store will bring.  View any revenue generated from a Facebook storefront as opportunitistic in the short-term.  Setting up a Facebook Store is an unproven concept, so any revenue generated from the effort should be viewed as opportunistic in the short-term. Over time, more consumers may welcome the opportunity to transact through a Facebook Store, but until that time, a Facebook Store is largely a low-cost opportunity for incremental revenue.
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