Intuit Adds Facebook Stores to e-Commerce Offering

In a bid to extend its reach of e-Commerce products, Intuit is now offering SimpleStore for Facebook.  This offers any current SimpleStore user the opportunity to add a store to their Facebook business page for free.  Intuit’s reasoning behind the addition to their offering is the fact that Americans are spending more than 50 billion minutes a month on Facebook.

Before the decision was made to offer SimpleStore for Facebook, a survey conducted by Intuit concluded that 59% of participants planned to do their holiday shopping online. With these two pieces of compelling data it makes perfect sense for every e-Commerce platform to offer Facebook stores to compliment their existing offering.

An additional benfefit for existing SimpleStore users is the streamlined payment processing using Intuit Web Payment.  This makes it possible for small businesses to be able to accept all major credit and debit cards for payment directly on Facebook.

“In today’s online world, it is more important than ever for small businesses to be where their customers are and this holiday season they have the ability to sell to Facebook’s 800 million users,” said Barry Saik, vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Grow Your Business division. “This tool will allow small businesses to be everywhere at once, capturing online shopping traffic through both their website and Facebook page.”

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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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Playground by Qmerce – The Next Generation of Social Engagement

Playground by Qmerce encompasses every element that a brand would need in order to acquire new fans, keep them engaged and convert them to customers. In short, Playground is the missing link between e-Commerce and social shopping.

This is an absolute ‘must have’ for brands setting up stores or other commerce outlets on Facebook as it gives brands all of the missing elements that are taken for granted when going into commerce on Facebook.

Using game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences, commonly known as ‘Gamification’, Playground offers brands customized games which represent the very essence of the brand. The games, which can be completely branded in seconds to give the brand’s look ‘n’ feel, give an immediate added value to the brand’s fans. Additionally, the games themselves give an additional brand awareness that currently does not exist in this format.

The best way to explain this is by example. Brand A, a national restaurant chain, has created a Facebook page to showcase its menu and offer promotions and discounts within a social environment. From word of mouth and from existing customers, Brand A has managed to create a fan base of 1,000 fans. However, Brand A now has the dilemma of how to get these 1,000 fans to spread the word and invite their own personal networks of friends to become fans. Enter Playground by Qmerce. By offering a game with elements such as burgers, buns and other menu items, and encompassing a points system, a leaderboard and the opportunity to play with or against friends, alone or in teams, the Brand has heightened its level of engagement and social interaction. Then add into the equation the ability to win prizes that are redeemable within the land based restaurant such as free meals, discounts, birthday invitations etc with no limit of creative promotions, the Brand is able to see a direct correlation between fans and customers.

And because Playground by Qmerce offers such an array of games, any brand from soccer teams and airlines to department stores and hotel chains could benefit from the Playground fan page application. As this really does put the ‘social’ into social shopping, every social storefront provider should be looking at ways to partner with Qmerce to really leverage the service and advance the marketing efforts of their own storefront clients.

And it doesn’t stop there. Qmerce have opened the gates to any 3rd party game developer and designers who have the ability to upload their own custom games and designs into the Playground server, therefore creating an ecosystem with an endless source of new and innovative games. It is also important to add that Playground by Qmerce can be added as a widget to a website, a Facebook fan page tab application and is also being developed for mobile.

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Challenges for the fast growth in Social Commerce

Guest article written by Kevin Warhus, eCommerce Marketing Manager, ShopTab.

In today’s ever-changing, digital market there are new hurdles and opportunities popping up all the time. Recently, a trend in social selling through channels such as Facebook and Twitter has begun to captivate the B2C and B2B markets. Never before have marketers been able to reach such targeted groups in personal ways. With a wide variety of mediums at your disposal, almost any company can find a social solution that is right for them.

With the recent growth of social selling great opportunities are created as well as new problems to overcome. What is the best way to connect with your customers in this new channel? What kind of ROI can you expect from social selling? While unfortunately there is no golden goose to provide all the answers for your brand specifically, companies like ours can help your business overcome the frequent challenges of social selling.

B2C challenges

Booz & Co predict $15 billion in social commerce revenues by 2014. That is approximately 10% of the eCommerce market, and your brand is foolish to not fight for your share. That being said, we know it can be challenging for many brands to make their initial entrance into social commerce, so take the time to plan your attack. There are countless options to reach your audience through social commerce, but one of the most innovative and exciting methods for B2C companies is though social stores on Facebook.

To get started, examine your competition to see if they already have stores active on their Facebook page or other social pages. Explore their site to see what works for them and what could be improved upon. Then, you must decide how you are going to build out your store and gain an edge on your competitors. For instance, ShopTab, our social commerce storefront, has many customization options to set your brand apart. ShopTab offers customizable colors and logos for branding, language and currency options, full text control on each page, and a large variety of personalization options to help change the look and feel of your Facebook store. One of our clients changes their page banner for each store page weekly to support their specific promotions calendar.

Once your store is up and running it is crucial to develop a marketing plan to get customers aware of your new social efforts. Selling happens with smart promotion and positioning in each unique channel – social is no different and requires its own strategy and tactics. Drive them to your social store through featured posts on your social pages, offer promo codes or specials for your social users, or make customers aware of your Facebook page when they are on your website. Remember, buying on Facebook is new to most users so take your time to educate them on this new option.

Overall having a social presence for your store can help your brand connect with customers. It can be a fun way to further build your relationship while also making sales as customers will enjoy this new shopping experience from their favorite social sites. Social stores can also help show customers you are on the cutting edge of the newest trends which can encourage trust and credibility in your brand. It is important to note that many retailers understand that many times it takes multiple impressions to create a sale – your social store is one more option to create that impression through a view of a product on your page or a friend’s like of that product on your wall. Together these elements create the unique value of a user’s social experience while buying from your brand and will be critical to creating repeat revenues in the future.

B2B challenges

Social selling for B2B companies presents similar opportunities, but often need to address different challenges. Beyond the need to create fun shopping experiences for customers, B2B social selling is primarily about educating clients with intelligent and engaging marketing, not just presenting your standard approach in a new medium..

Social selling may not be right for every business, but it is definitely a large opportunity for many B2B brands. Ask yourself who you are trying to target, and what you want them to get out of the social experience. Then, design your social selling strategy to best fit the specific needs of your target clients and their businesses.

Social selling for B2B can often include email marketing, building close client relationships through social media, and offering convenient and innovative alternatives to traditional business methods. Whatever the solution may be, it is important to utilize these tools to not only acquire new customers, but also to strengthen the relationship with your existing customers. Don’t forget to bring them along for the ride!

Overall

For either type of business is it crucial to monitor your efforts and keep a close eye on your store’s behavior through purchases and activity levels. We highly recommend that client’s leverage products like Google’s free analytics tools to track your conversion of sales on your website and to monitor traffic generated from your social sites and shops. The features within a product like Google Analytics can help pinpoint your social ROI and help determine what is working and what is not.

Another necessary component to social selling is monitoring and responding to your customers who reach out to your brand through social media. This element of your marketing mix is mandatory if you desire to build strong relationships with your clients. Make it a habit to check your social pages at least daily and keep up the conversation with customers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a better idea of what they want from your brand and your marketing efforts.

Last but not least, it is vital to constantly change up your store and marketing efforts. Keep up with the changing demands of your clients and continue to surprise and stimulate them with fresh, innovative ideas! We have one client that takes a very different tone in describing their products on Facebook because they believe the audience reacts to their products differently in that environment.  Your creativity and passion will be rewarded!

Whatever your strategy may be, integrating social selling into your marketing plans is an excellent way to connect with customers and increase sales through personalized interactions. Analyze your customers and determine what they want to see from your brand now and in the future. With the proper mix, your business will soon see amazing results and can capture its share of the social selling revolution. Good selling!

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E-Commerce Providers Adding Facebook Stores to their Offering

Until now, e-commerce providers have provided web based solutions based on selling products on the web.  Now, with the rise in popularity and in an effort to conquer the social commerce stratosphere, a new addition is being added to e-commerce solutions – The Facebook Store.

Some platforms such as Shopify and Magento are entering into partnership deals with existing Facebook storefront providers which include Zibaba and Beetailer.  All of the integration work is made by the Facebook storefront development company using API’s provided by the e-commerce platform.  The result is that users of the e-commerce platform will be able to easily migrate their web store, seamlessly into Facebook.

Other e-commerce providers are adding the Facebook solution themselves.  One such company is Gloople.  The Gloople website highlights all of the features of their overall solution and additional modules and compares, feature to feature, with competitors Shopify and Volusion.

With this addition to e-commerce providers offerings, the only conclusion is that the race to provide Facebook stores is hotting up.  Only time will tell now, if Facebook really is the destination of online shoppers.

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