The Key to Successfully Selling on Facebook

Imagine you’re a brand.  You want to have direct contact with the people who buy your products.  You want to know what they want.  How much they are prepared to pay for your products.  And who is recommending your products.  You want to identify your brand advocates and ambassadors and reward them accordingly.  You also want to be up-to-date with buying trends and therefore offer group deals and even customer initiated group deals.  All of this is now possible, but only in one place.

As a brand, selling directly and maintaining a direct channel of communication with your customers may seem a little alien.  It may also conflict with your distributors.  But what if you can give each and every distributor their own online channel of social communication and the ability to sell your products directly from this channel?  As a brand working with distributors you need to be able to set revenue percentages for sales and give your distributors an interface to view sales and commissions.

This is exactly what Panasonic Israel has done using the f-Commerce platform developed and supplied by SortalPanasonic Israel has over 25,500 fans on Facebook.  Therefore, from a common sense point of view, it’s just logical to be able to interact, learn a little and reward the consumers following the Panasonic brand in the Israeli market.  On top of that, Panasonic distributors also have exactly the same tools to utilize and leverage the power of selling on Facebook.  This is already being used by Future Audio Video Ltd, a smaller distributor who is now able to sell Panasonic products directly within Facebook.

Up until now, Sortal have been quietly, but confidently developing their f-Commerce solution.  After signing up a number of high profile clients within the Israeli market in 2011, Sortal are set to offer and promote their fully tuned solution to the rest of the world in 2012.

Sortal’s model is geared towards enterprise clients.  Each customer receives their own custom made, separately hosted application.  Built using the solid foundation of e-Commerce platform Magento, Sortal’s model is simple and focused.  They are looking at working with clients who have already budgeted for selling in Facebook and understand that uploading a few products to a fan page in the hope that items will sell themselves is not the way that commerce on Facebook will work.  Sortal clients must be serious about social media.

Sortal offer features that can already be found in the marketplace such as:

  • Group Offers
  • Offline Coupons
  • Purchasing Within Facebook

They also offer features that have yet to be seen or completely utilized within the social shopping stratosphere:

  • Full featured social loyalty program, including a points system for identifying brand ambassadors
  • Unlimited stores for distributors / affiliates based on Brand’s partners and resellers
  • Gifting – where the recipient is prompted to complete address details
  • Customer initiated group offers
  • Bargaining – which allows customers to name their own price for items

Additionally, being built around the Magento e-Commerce platform, all Magento functionality can be found within the Sortal Facebook store.  These features include:

  • Full account dashboard for customers and merchants
  • Ability to capture emails and send newsletters
  • Run in-store polls
  • Customer wish lists

If f-Commerce has been slow in 2011, part of the problem has been too many providers offering instant solutions to sell within Facebook, but not defining the methods.  The true success of f-Commerce depends on the actual selling within Facebook.  Selling in Facebook is not rocket science, but it is different to conventional online retailing.  Customers do not currently go to Facebook to make purchases.  However, given access to exclusive rewards and the chance to directly communicate with their favorite brands and retailers, will see the trust and purchase levels increase.  Cleverly implemented loyalty programs will keep customers returning and increase the conversion rates on sales.  Brands and retailers, whether big or small, who understand the importance of the investment in terms of both time and money in social media, will be among the first to experience success with social shopping on Facebook.  In short, brands who are able to listen to their customers and respond accordingly, will succeed.

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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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Shopper Traffic Rises by 30 Percent in Facebook

According to a press release from Social Commerce provider Payvment, shopper traffic on Facebook has risen by 30% since the beginning of November. The release also states that social discussion and sharing has also risen 25% within the Payvment Shopping Mall where there are allegedly more than 2.4 million products currently available from an alleged 100,000 sellers. With these figures, the average retailer product catalog displayed by Payvment customers is just 24 items.

The release continued with a statement from Christian Taylor, Payvment’s CEO and co-founder “Consumers are starting to think of Facebook as a holiday shopping destination, and we hope to encourage that behavior by making it incredibly easy to find unique gifts and great deals from a large number of sellers,” he added, “In the past, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been the domain of the ‘big box’ retailers, but now with the Shopping Mall we’re helping the boutique sellers by aggregating and promoting their deals for consumers all in one place on Facebook.”

Below is a screenshot from the Black Friday deal finder in Payvment’s virtual shopping mall on Facebook. At the time of this article being published it was yet to be active.

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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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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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ShopIgniter Lights the Path for Social Commerce

Kevin Tate, Newly appointed CMO of ShopIgniter, shared his vision of Social Commerce with CommerceOnFacebook.Com.  ShopIgniter, founded in June 2010, are among the leaders in the realm of Social Commerce.  What separates them from the rest of the pack is their knowledge, experience and understanding of what makes a social consumer.  Admittedly, the hard part is getting brands to understand the importance of social consumer psychology before offering them the unique tools that have been developed by ShopIgniter to really plug-in and engage with social commerce and consumers.

Just last week we wrote that in order to engage with customers, brands need to think about a points system to reward social interactions and direct recommendations.  We called it ‘bonus bragging’.  ShopIgniter have already begun this process which they have released to a handful of their VIP Enabled Stores.  The system which has the ability to score influencers of Social Commerce, is a the first working prototype of a Social Commerce loyalty system, encompassing the following features:

  • Enhance promotions and campaigns reward with points or status
  • Bi-directional rewards to build social equity of customers
  • Trackable with social commerce analytics
  • Shareable via facebook, twitter or email

By identifying and incentivizing the influencers of their brand, retailers will have the ability to create brand evangelists out of their best and most influential customers and thank them accordingly.  The program encourages customers to communicate through experience resulting in driving revenue and not just additional fans.  The ongoing loyalty aspect also separates one-time bargain hunters from long term customers.

Asked what he sees as the biggest obstacles currently facing ShopIgniter, Kevin replied “The level of noise in the market,” meaning that there are so many offerings springing up for Social Commerce solutions, that brands and retailers are getting potentially overwhelmed by choice and not fully understanding which provider would be best for their business.  The danger of this is also lack of knowledge within the realm of Social Commerce and Social Media.  Many companies do not have a “consistent owner of social commerce decisions”.  Larger brands are beginning to understand this and appoint executives in the realm of social media.

Given that ShopIgniter’s target market is large brands, I believe that once the potential of these features is realized, social commerce providers of small and medium sized businesses will begin to emulate and offer similar loyalty and influencer recognition systems.  On a speculative note, maybe the future will see partnerships between enterprise providers such as ShopIgniter and smaller, subscription based social storefront providers.  This would certainly be the fast track in the evolution of the Social Consumer.

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ShopIgniter Adds Features to Increase Sales Conversion and Manage Stock

As the experience of social shopping inside Facebook grows, Facebook storefront provider, ShopIgniter have announced the launch of two key new features.

The first is a feature that is currently only offered by few of the social storefront  providers, but is becoming a requested feature of many brands looking to open stores inside Facebook.  In-stream purchasing is ideal for retailers to highlight items within their Fans newsfeeds which gives them the opportunity to purchase directly from the feed.  It’s a great way to promote individual products and promotions.

The second feature, an add-on to the in-stream purchasing, is an intelligent inventory control mechanism.  This means that once the in-stream purchasing mechanism has been implemented, merchants can display timely and dynamic product inventory information, such as remaining item quantity and, in the event of no remaining stock of the specific item, will suggest alternative items to the shopper.

The result of in-stream purchasing  is a higher purchase conversion level.  ShopIgniter offer the in-stream purchasing either as a standalone tool for merchants for items such as daily deals or flash sales and can also be used as part of the ShopIgniter social storefront.  This technology brings products one step closer to the consumer without the need for the consumer to enter the Facebook fan page tab.  This is the equivalent of Macys bringing individual items onto the streets of New York for immediate purchase.

“In-stream checkout gives brands and retailers a competitive sales edge, especially when integrated with other merchandising and promotional capabilities of the ShopIgniter platform,” stated Alan Wizemann, chief product officer at ShopIgniter.  “The newsfeed is an excellent channel to offer impulse products, time or inventory limited items or highly desirable promotional products.”

Shanelle Brown, director of eCommerce and digital media at Kaenon Polarized said “Offering curated collections along with dynamic product content , and a quick and easy in-stream checkout, will transform our Facebook presence into a true commerce and product promotion channel.”

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Store Jumping From Facebook

In a recent survey released by Experian, 7% of all visits to a social media site are followed by a click through to a shopping or classified site.  Considering that 19% of all visits go on to other social networking sites or forums and is the highest group, the figure indicated for shopping and classifieds is quite a substantial figure.  It certainly proves that there is something triggering this 7% jump to shopping and classified sites.

From the sites jumped to from Facebook, it’s certainly no surprise that eBay is the number one visited shopping site after leaving Facebook.  But the fact that NetFlix is the second most popular, is a little surprising.  With companies such as Live Stream and White Square Media sharpening up their Facebook offerings, they should be aware that consumers are going outside of Facebook for movie entertainment and should perhaps be concentrating of ways to keep these users inside Facebook, and using their respective offerings.  QVC the advertising channel also made it into the top 10 list.  Yet another indicator that people surfing Facebook are interested in real, live, visible offers.

Building awareness is the only way that commerce on Facebook can succeed.  Companies with Facebook storefront solutions, should look to celebrity endorsement.  Kim Kardashian currently has around six and a half million Facebook fans.  There is no direct selling from the page and nothing promoting any of her endorsed products.  They have a full Kollection, including women’s fashion, jewelery and lingerie all being sold at Sears.  Why not add video promotions of the merchandise to the Facebook fan page and add a selected number of items that can be purchased within Facebook.  This would increase product sales for the Kardashians, (heaven knows they must need the extra cash), but more importantly would change the mind set of so many people regarding the ability to shop inside Facebook.

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