Facebook and eCommerce

Posted on November 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

By: | Categories: Facebook, Social Commerce

In a recent study of online retailers by Shop.org it was noted that 72.5% of respondents stated they have invested in the company’s Facebook page as the holiday season approaches. In particular, over half of these online retailers have invested in cross-selling on Facebook product pages.

The results of the study may make one wonder – why are retailers moving away from their own websites and opening new storefronts on Facebook? There are several reasons…

  • Another metric to tie to social media With few quantitative indicators in social media, being able to sell directly from a Facebook page can help to understand the exact ROI of social media efforts.
  • Create a “word-of-mouth” buzz via innovation – Selling on Facebook is still new to many retailers, so when a retailer enters the space, people take note and it’s newsworthy. For example, the brand “mark.” by Avon, traditionally a cosmetic line for young women, created quite a splash in eCommerce circles as they took to Facebook to reach their younger customers.

  • The popularity and time spent on Facebook – There are now more than 500 million Facebook users and people are spending significant portions of their day using social media. It can’t hurt to bring the products to where the people are, can it?
  • Low cost litmus test of new eCommerce strategies – There may be no better place to test new eCommerce strategies than on Facebook thanks to the ability to not only receive real-time feedback from your customers but also interact with them even further via follow-up questions and comments.

Now let’s take a look at some brands that have successfully made the leap to selling directly on Facebook…

Brooks Brothers – Some may find it hard to believe that one of the oldest clothing retailers in the United States has an eCommerce storefront but here they are. With a simple and traditional layout highlighting only three items per page, zoom-friendly product photos, and classic drop-down menus, it’s innovation like this that has kept Brooks Brothers around for almost 200 years.

EVOGEAR – The winter apparel retailer has chosen to utilize a different design for their Facebook page, including categories listed in the left hand column and popular products to the right. The unique offering present with their Facebook store is the ability to have customers Like and Share a product with their friends directly from the store.

So what do you think of eCommerce on Facebook? Is it the next big thing or simply too early to tell?

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Written by Mike Willoughby

Mike Willoughby serves as President of PFSweb Inc and also serves as Chief Information Officer and Senior Partner of PFSweb. Mike joined PFSweb as Vice President of eCommerce in 1999, where he led the group responsible for the acquisition, development, integration and support of world-class technologies, and was promoted to CIO and Senior Partner in 2001.

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  • http:www.jeffmolander.com Jeff Molander

    Understand the exact ROI of social media efforts?

    Or justify rushing into Facebook without any business case for doing so beyond, “follow the leader” (oh, wait, there is no leader) or “our customers are there.”

    I say, “With few quantitative indicators in social media, being able to sell directly from a Facebook page can help to justify retailers irrational belief that social media is a place that we should build stores within — to the extent that we GIVE UP all the ROI and CRM tracking that the CEO/CFO and customers have come to expect.”

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  • http://www1.pfsweb.com/leadership/ScottTalley.php Matthew Brown

    Very fair and valid point Jeff – certainly Facebook Insights aren’t going to be replacing CoreMetrics or similar analytic services anytime soon, but it’s getting better. For example, earlier this year Omniture (owned by Adobe) announced that they would support retailers on the back-end of their efforts of Facebook and I foresee this trend continuing.

    Here’s a link:


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