Will Online Trading Spill Into Facebook?

 

60_SecThere’s been a huge spike in online trading. More specifically, Binary Options trading.  In the same way that the popularity of online gaming and poker grew 8 to 10 years ago, so too is the Binary Options industry.  Over the past three years the market has more than quadrupled.  Three years ago there were no searches in Google for the keyword phrase ‘Binary Options’.  Now, in May 213 there are over 200,000 searches per month just in the US.  Considering the US only has two officially regulated Binary Options Brokers, that’s a huge amount of people looking to trade online.

 

Facebook is still the most visited website on the planet.  Despite a small decline in the number of successful social games on Facebook, it is still the biggest hub of all gaming activity on the Internet.  But the question is ‘would Facebook users trade online whether for fun or for real inside Facebook?’

 

Speaking to Commerce On Facebook, head of marketing for Magnum Options, James Allen stated, “I think that Facebook would be an excellent learning ground for people wanting to trade without the risk.  I could imagine setting up fantasy investment portfolios in a social and competitive environment with friends on Facebook.  This would be a learning curve experience where people would gain the confidence to trade for real.  At Magnum Options we prefer our traders to have a good knowledge of the markets when they begin trading.”

 

But could Facebook realistically become the destination for real money trading? Allen answered “It just depends on regulated markets.  I think if the regulated Binary Options brokers planned and launched an application that was exciting enough to attract social users, it could work very well.  With social leaderboards, copy trading and other social features, I’m sure it would become very popular.”

 

Only time will tell, but I think it would be a solid investment for any online trading platform to start looking to develop their social offering.  But could regulation stand in the way?

 

“Regulation always stands in the way,” stated Archibald Dixon professional lobbyist, “but that’s why lobby groups get paid so much money.  I don’t think there has ever been an obstacle related to the financial markets which has not been overcome by lobbying.  Regulated binary options brokers have already approached us in order to consult with us regarding social trading for real money.  I personally would estimate that between six and twelve months from now, we will start to see the first social platforms emerge on Facebook for real money trading and binary options.”

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Vendorshop Secures Funding of Approximately Half a Million Dollars

VendorShop Social, a leading social commerce software company, has secured investment funding of €400,000 ($515,000) to fuel its expansion plans.

“With our VendorShop software, we’ve established ourselves as one of the leading providers of Facebook store solutions for merchants and the funding is all about positioning ourselves for growth,” said VendorShop Social co-founder and CEO Chris Small.

Small added, “Technology is one of the bright spots of the Irish economy and companies like us are bucking the gloom.”

The Dublin-based company has sourced the funding from government agency Enterprise Ireland and two private investors. The company is expecting to grow the team to 10 people over the next 12 months and to double that within two years.

“We have developed a good understanding of how Facebook commerce works and we need to build that insight into our product. The money will allow us to achieve this goal by expanding the development team and enhancing our sales and marketing resources.” Small said.

The company is considering raising additional funds during 2012 to enable the business to scale more quickly. The goal would be to establish a significant presence in the United States and open a sales office in Australia.

“The VendorShop solution is already used by retailers in more than 15 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong,” Small said. “Getting closer to these markets by having a presence on the ground would be a great benefit to us.”

VendorShop Social powers thousands of Facebook stores with their VendorShop shopping cart software. It allows merchants to promote and sell their products directly from their Facebook page without redirecting customers to another website. The shopping cart also carries the McAfee Secure and VeriSign Trust marks of security and includes a range of powerful social shopping features such as allowing the retailer to offer discounts to customers who like their page or share products with their friends.

“Successful F-commerce is all about rewarding your best customers and showing them how much they are valued with exclusive offers and discounts,” Small said.

“For example, a fashion retailer might offer an exclusive discount or launch its new-season range initially to its Facebook fans. Imagine how powerful that is in creating brand advocates for a business. Not only will the business generate significant sales on Facebook but the person will also likely tell their many friends who will end up buying themselves via Facebook and other channels as well.”

Examples of how retail brands are using VendorShop include:

  • Wine Market, a wine warehouse in Australia with an e-commerce enabled website as well as a Facebook store with 10,000 page likes, had sales of more than $AUS20,000 purely through its Facebook store in November 2011, with the trend continuing into December.
  • Rabia Z, a fashion retailer in Dubai with 20,000 page likes, uses VendorShop as a pop-up store solution – meaning that Facebook fans can access an exclusive range for a limited time. In October the brand launched its autumn-winter range on Facebook and did $US30,000 in sales on the social networking site in just a few weeks. The retailer also saw an increase in customer traffic to its studio.
  •  Chile Monster in New Mexico, USA, launched exclusively on Facebook 12 months ago and now has nearly 20,000 fans. The VendorShop store has been so successful, the business hasn’t seen any need for a traditional web-based e-commerce store.

 

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Payvment Offers One Day Deals to ALL Storefront Customers

In a bid to repeat the success of Black Friday, Payvment is offering ALL of their social storefront customers the opportunity to create and offer one day deals which will then showcase on Payvment’s Shopping Mall within Facebook.

Payvment are recommending that sellers offer at least 50% discount on deal items to increase the chances of a sales and create buzz among social shoppers.

The one day discount bonanza will take place on Wednesday December 14th.  This is a FREE promotion to run and is open to Payvment customers at all levels.

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What is driving the growth in social commerce?

Social commerce continues to see tremendous growth, with the majority of businesses implementing social commerce initiatives. These vary from experimentation with the addition of simple social sharing buttons on their existing e-commerce store, through to fully fledged stores hosted within Facebook. In addition, the majority of those businesses who do not yet have a social commerce strategy are considering establishing one.

Shopping is an inherently social activity. People seek out recommendations for products and services, share their favourite brands, and regularly undertake shopping trips with friends and family. This activity is increasingly carried out online, specifically within social networks. Businesses are understandably excited about the opportunity that these social interactions provide.

There is a wealth of data insights that point to the potential of social commerce. Some of the observations and trends that are driving the continued growth of social commerce are:

  • The continued growth of social media as a channel, both in terms of the number of people participating, and the amount of time devoted to social media by Internet users makes it an extremely attractive channel.
  • People report that recommendations from friends and family, and even from strangers are far more influential than advertising in their decisions about which products to purchase.
  • The reason cited by consumers for connecting with a brand on Facebook is for discounts/deals, so merchants and brands providing access to products and the latest deals within Facebook makes sense.
  • The majority of people use two or more sources of product information before purchasing. Having a social commerce presence provides an additional channel to capture those consumers that are engaging in product search.

Another reason that social commerce is growing is that it is now easier and more affordable than ever to provide a rich social commerce experience. With the Wishpond GoSocial Store solution, businesses are able to expose their entire product catalogue to their Facebook fans with less than an hours work. They can import hundreds of products automatically from their existing e-commerce website, Shopify, Google Merchant Center, eBay, QuickBooks, or even their Retail Pro retail management system. For those that don’t have their data in electronic form, they can easily add products manually with a handy utility that auto-fills all the product information for the retailer. Their product inventory is kept up to date with the external source automatically, meaning that their Facebook store does not require ongoing management.

Many merchants are taking advantage of this lower barrier to entry by creating and experimenting with a Facebook store.

Two great examples of businesses who have implemented the Wishpond GoSocial Store solution are UrShuz, an innovative shoe brand, and Salt Life, a lifestyle clothing brand. They are both using Facebook to drive traffic back to their e-commerce sites. Their fans are sharing and discussing their products with friends, driving interaction with the brand on Facebook. Both have implemented the ‘fan-gating’ feature, which requires users to like their page before being shown exclusive content or deals within the store giving users a reason to like their page.

While it is too soon to draw concrete conclusions from their efforts, preliminary results look promising. Both have experienced a significant growth in fans, and an increase in the level of engagement and interaction with their fan pages.

Time spent on social networks and the amount of information shared during this time is showing few signs of slowing. At the same time the social commerce tool box is increasingly effective as we learn through experimentation. Together, these things mean we are unlikely to see social commerce growth slow any time soon. If your brand is one of those who has yet to begin testing integrated social commerce solutions there has been no better time to GoSocial with your own Facebook storefront than right now.

This guest article was written by Duncan Blair, Director of Marketing at Wishpond.

About Wishpond
Wishpond is a local shopping platform which helps online shoppers find the products they want from retailers near them. Wishpond.com is one of the largest local shopping sites with over 17 million product listings from small, medium and national retailers. Wishpond also helps retailers and brands publish their product inventory in the places where customers are looking, like Facebook, through their GoSocial Store solution.

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Using Your Fanpage to Drive Holiday Sales

It’s no secret that Facebook is key to generating brand awareness & loyalty and gaining higher conversions.Tapping into your social communities becomes even more important during the holidays when shoppers are more primed to spend more than any other time of the year.

On major shopping days, top ecommerce sites have reportedly received almost 5% of their traffic from from social media sites. Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, you can still drive holiday sales through your Facebook fanpage

Here are four simple ways to turn your fans into loyal holiday shoppers!

Offer exclusive deals to fans.

You have an exclusive audience on Facebook —so make them feel special! Consider creating fan-only deals to drive sales and build loyalty within your community!

Encourage your fans to tell their friends about the deal by incentivizing social-sharing. For example, offer exclusive discount counts to fans who tag your fanpage in a status update or share a product image.

Use Facebook ads to target specific user groups.

Facebook ads are a useful marketing tool for merchants wanting to target a niche or specific user-group. Facebook ads let you target messaging by age, location, but the most exciting feature Facebook ads offers is the ability to target ads by interest.

Facebook defines a users “Interests” by their description on their profile and by the fanpages the user has previously Liked. This means you can send ads to users you know already expressed in an interest in your products, industry or competitors.

Tip: Whether you are running your ads to your site or to your fanpage, create specific landing pages for each of your Facebook ads.

Show products in action.

Leaving as little to the imagination as possible is an important part of a successful online store. Besides prominently displaying pictures, you can help shoppers visualize their purchase by posting pictures of your products off the rack, out of the box, and in motion.
For example: If you sell handbags, pair a handbag with multiple outfits to show off its versatility. If you sell lawn mowers, post a video demonstrating your products mowing an unruly lawn.

Add the ‘Like’ buttons to every product page.

Having a ‘Like’ button listed on your homepage is great, but by adding the ‘Like’ button to each of your product pages you give customers an opportunity to share individual products with their friends! When a shopper ‘Like’s a product, a message is automatically posted on their Facebook wall and shared with friends.

About the author: Jimmy Rodriguez is CTO and co-founder of 3DCart, developer of an e-commerce suite for businesses of all sizes. As an authority on e-commerce best practices, Jimmy combines more than 8 years as an e-commerce developer and web programmer with SEO, social marketing and business intelligence.

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The 40 Most Shared Facebook Articles in 2011

Originally posted by Facebook on their ‘Facebook + Media‘ page, below are the 40 most shared articles on Facebook during 2011 to date.  Although this does not have any direct correlation to commerce, it is interesting to see the type of story that goes viral and the originating source of the article.

Considering that Yahoo! is not known as a predominant source of news, it is interesting that out of 40 articles, 12 have Yahoo! as the source of the article.  In short, people pay attention to tragedy, controversy (even more when it involves Facebook), parenting and just plain old wacky.

1. Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami (New York Times)

2. What teachers really want to tell parents (CNN)

3. No, your zodiac sign hasn’t changed (CNN)

4. Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps (CNN)

5. (video) – Father Daughter Dance Medley (Yahoo)

6. At funeral, dog mourns the death of Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan (Yahoo)

7. You’ll freak when you see the new Facebook (CNN)

8. Dog in Japan stays by the side of ailing friend in the rubble (Yahoo)

9. Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines (Yahoo)

10. New Zodiac Sign Dates: Ophiuchus The 13th Sign? (The Huffington Post)

11. Parents keep child’s gender under wraps (Yahoo)

12. How to Talk to Little Girls (The Huffington Post)

13. Stop Coddling the Super-Rich (New York Times)

14. Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior (Wall Street Journal)

15. (video) – Twin Baby Boys Have A Conversation! (Yahoo)

16. Man robs bank to get medical care in jail (Yahoo)

17. Why You’re Not Married (The Huffington Post)

18. A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs (New York Times)

19. Ryan Dunn Dead: ‘Jackass’ Star Dies In Car Crash (The Huffington Post)

20. Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm’ (Yahoo)

21. Notes From a Dragon Mom (New York Times)

22. A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy” (The Huffington Post)

23. Obama’s and Bush’s effects on the deficit in one graph (Washington Post)

24. Penn State, my final loss of faith (Washington Post)

25. Golden-Voiced Homeless Man Captivates Internet (Yahoo)

26. The most typical face on the planet (Yahoo)

27. Widespread destruction from Japan earthquake, tsunamis  (CNN)

28. Permissive parents: Curb your brats (CNN)

29. A father’s day wish: Dads, wake the hell up!(CNN)

30. (video) – Laughing Baby Loves Ripping Paper! (Yahoo)

31. Epic Cover Letter: How To Get Hired For Your Dream Job (PICTURE) (The Huffington Post)

32. New Zodiac sign dates: Don’t switch horoscopes yet (Washington Post)

33. Things Babies Born in 2011 Will Never Know (Yahoo)

34. The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s Death (The Huffington Post)

35. (photo gallery) – ‘Where Children Sleep’ (New York Times)

36. Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet, shifted Earth’s axis (CNN)

37. Steve Jobs, Apple founder, dies (CNN)

38. China’s latest craze: dyeing pets to look like other wild animals (CNN)

39. Grant Hill’s Response to Jalen Rose (New York Times)

40. Steve Jobs’s Patents (New York Times)

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Small and Midsized Retailers get Fans and Customers with Venpop Facebook Fan Offers

The guest writer of this article is Christine Saunders, Director of Community at Venpop.

Getting loyal fans is a difficult task for brands of all sizes, especially smaller retailers who don’t have the big marketing budgets of their corporate counterparts. The importance of being able to connect with fans through social media is quickly becoming an integral part of every online marketing strategy. And while providing good content and conversation will organically grow your fans, offering fans exclusive offers, will result in quicker fan growth over a much shorter period of time. Venpop has developed a Facebook fan offer application that allows retailers of all sizes to collect customer info, grow fans up to 200%, and get sales, in as little as 2 short days.

The reason behind the success of the fan offer application lies in both the retailers’ ability to exclusively reward just their fans and the ability to identify those genuinely interested in the brand. The Venpop fan offer consists of a like-gate feature, which when clicked on unlocks an offer. Visitors to the page must become fans in order to access the deal. When fans buy the deal that information is shared in their newsfeeds; making it easy for their Facebook friends to also benefit from the deal and for the deal go viral. Information about the customer – including their email address – is also collected by the application and made available to the retailer.

Venpop’s fan offer also works in connection with hyper-targeted Facebook ads. Venpop identifies people on Facebook that are interested in the retailer’s offer and shares it with them. The targeted ads make it so retailers gain fans that have a genuine interest in the brand who are much more likely to convert to customers.

Retailers can provide their fans with a deal of their choosing. It can consist of a product, download, or coupon code that retailers aren’t forced to take a loss on, which is often the case with other deal sharing platforms such as Groupon. This makes an especially big difference for small retailers who too often cut prices or take losses in an attempt to acquire new customers.

Green Feet Case Study: Fan Offer
Seeking to increase fans and exposure, Venpop and Green Feet, an eco-friendly store teamed up to reward Green Feet Fans with an exclusive fan only deal. In two days, this small business that normally gets 11 fans a week grew 161 fans during the same period. That is more than 14 times the usual fan growth; extraordinary growth to any retailer but especially a small retailer. And this fan growth carried over for the next three weeks after the campaign had ended. The two day campaign allowed Green Feet to jump start its fan base by a total of 261 fans or over 10% of their overall fans.

In two days, Green Feet also sold over half of the discounted deal it offered. This was a set of environmentally friendly lunch tins offered at 40% off the retail price.

Venpop fan offers make it possible for small business on a very limited budget to collect valuable customer data, get sales, and boost fans.

  • Venpop (commerceonfacebook.com)
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Where Is Social Commerce Heading To?

The following artice was written by Lauren Green, InstanteStore.

With all the buzz about social commerce, you’d wonder whether any of it is actually going anywhere? While there are quite a number of service providers that help merchants set up an online store and provide powerful features for them to upload their products to Facebook, are these merchants actually seeing an increase in sales?

The Bright Side Of Things

Let’s look at the positive side on where social commerce is heading to. With Facebook’s continuous growth, many businesses are keen to promote their stuff there. And with it’s user-friendly interface, merchants will find it easier to communicate with customers directly and vice versa. So positive interaction will help your business grow as customers spread the word about your store to their other Facebook friends. And if your products happen to get a lot of ‘Likes’, that’s also a plus point giving people more reason to explore your store and products further. Interested customers now have the option to complete the entire payment process within Facebook or be routed back to your store to have it done there. Convenience is the key here. In fact, we have several merchants who are having a blast selling their products on Facebook with our Social Shop. Check out their sites listed below and see how real they are when interacting with customers. You could probably learn a thing or two from them on how they have their Facebook and online store set up.

The Latest News And How It Will Affect Your Business?

Just got news that Facebook will be collaborating with eBay to offer their 850 million members a more powerful social commerce and shopping platform. Pretty soon, customers will not only have the option to ‘Like’ a product but be able to ‘buy’, ‘own’, ‘want’, ‘recommend’ or ‘review’ them according to Katie Mitic, Facebook’s director of platform and mobile marketing in her recent presentation last month. For buyers and users, this makes it more exciting as they will be able to share their product stories. For merchants out there, they need to ensure that their products are able to meet customer’s expectations since word-of-mouth could easily spread over social networks at break neck speed. Many merchants will need to work on offering better products and improving their customer service. In short, to be able to provide a better shopping experience to customers.

Poised For Growth

Social commerce is going to continue growing since people are now more technologically savvy. People want information fast. They want better service. When they surf the net, they know what they are looking for. And being sociable creatures we humans are, we like to spread the word around when we find something good. An awesome product, a heavily discounted item, super customer service experience, the latest product to hit the market. Emails take too long to compose these days. It’s so much faster to put it on Facebook or send out a twit with Twitter. The new shopping experience will be riding more on people’s recommendations which carries more weight compared to a shop or business doing their conventional marketing.

Don’t Be Left Out

So don’t be left out in the wake of all these new developments that are taking place. Stay up to date with the current news and provide constant feedback to your service providers on how they can improve their product to help you sell more. Believe me, they’ll thank you for it. Bear in mind that your focus should still be working on your own online site while having a store on Facebook will help spread the word around quicker if done right. Learn from some of the more successful companies that have done well in the social commerce arena and see how you can use that to improve your own business. Happy selling!

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20 Facebook Storefront Providers – Compared by Daily and Monthly Application Usage

In the table below we took 20 Facebook store providers and, using statistics powered by AppData, we compared each provider by application usage. The results show daily active usage and monthly active usage.

The providers we have included are:

  • ShopTab
  • VendorShop
  • Boosket
  • BigCommerce SocialShop
  • Payvment e-Commerce Dashboard
  • Storefront Social
  • Voiyk Connect Store
  • Click4Webstore cz
  • Shopializable
  • ShopBuddy
  • Click4Webstore sk
  • OWJO
  • Highwire Storefronts
  • Volusion – Social Store Builder
  • ShopShare
  • Wishpond
  • Vendio Store
  • Social Shop by InstanteStore
  • Click4Webstore en
  • Infused Commerce

There may also be companies who are not included as their data may not have been available or their app was not represented by their actual name. In these cases we encourage storefront providers to contact us with their data for the next comparison chart.

It is also important to bear in mind that enterprise store providers, such as ShopIgniter and 8th Bridge are not included in this list as they are not playing the same ‘numbers game’ as the small to medium size providers of Facebook storefronts.

We also decided to use data that showed the Payvment e-Commerce dashboard and not the Shopping Mall by Payvment, as the e-Commerce dashboard shows a better representation of client base and not shopper base.

One other thing to bear in mind when looking at these statistics is that overall application usage for some of these vendors includes clients and shoppers in the cases where shoppers must ‘allow’ the application before even beginning their shopping experience.

We are looking for feedback on this data and encourage your comments and thoughts.

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