2009 was perhaps the single worst year for e-commerce. Consequently, it was one of the best for those
merchants involved in social media.
So how does one effectively combine the two for profit and brand awareness? Facebook. Let's review a few
applications that could help your e-commerce venture succeed in the social media space
- particularly on Facebook.
According to a recent study from ForeSee Results Inc., 25% of the top 100
retailers have no formal Facebook presence and another
25% have fewer than 10,000 fans. Just imagine how that percentage changes as you
move away from the biggest retailers and into the far deeper pool of merchants struggling to sell online. According to that same report, of 69% of online shoppers who say they use social media sites, 56% follow at least one retailer on at least one social network.
It should be clear that most retailers are missing opportunities to engage
consumers. Shoppers who interact with a company on a social media site report being more satisfied, more committed to the brand and more likely to make future purchases from that company.
So how do you get your e-commerce store more involved with Facebook?
Storefront with Payvment: Payvment is an e-commerce application that allows for the
development of a retail store on Facebook. Using the PayPal X global open payments
platform, customers can shop from multiple vendors in a single shopper cart, turning FB into what could be
considered the ultimate shopping mall. The application uses PayPal’s new Adaptive Payments APIs and is built on the company’s existing shopping cart Web service that turns any online page into an e-commerce page with a single line of code.
Another e-commerce app that lets users post products on FB is My Merch Store
from Zazzle. Create and post products for sale on Zazzle and share them with
people visiting your pages on FB.
with NutshellMail: NutshellMail provides a web-based service that lets lets any Facebook page administrator create an automated email newsletter campaign.
Users add an “Email Newsletter” tab to their page, letting fans opt-in to receiving emails that highlight recent content from your page.
The app collects recent activity from your page, organizes it into an email and delivers it to
Facebook subscribers per their delivery preferences. Subscribers can also comment, like, share or post comments back to your page directly through email. And administrators can determine how often an email update is sent out to fans.
on Facebook: Here's an application that we at Website Magazine have some
intimate exposure with. The Promotions Facebook app lets companies create and
promote interactive promotions and marketing campaigns (including contests,
sweepstakes, coupons and giveaways) on Facebook Fan Pages. There is a free
version available, but the pricing is actually quite modest. White label
solutions are available.
Cool Content Hot on Facebook: SlideShare is a Web community for sharing
presentations. The Slideshare app for Facebook allows users to upload
presentations, documents, PDFs, and mp3s into their groups, pages or profiles.
This app could be used to show product demos (if available on YouTube), provide
product demonstrations or even deliver coupons.
Goes Online with Eventbrite: For those promoting offline events, nothing
could be finer than Eventbrite. When users publish events on Eventbrite, all
they need to do is select the Publish to Facebook option and a new event page
will be published directly on FB with event details and a link to buy tickets.
The event is also promoted through your newsfeed on FB.
Video with Facebook Video: Perhaps one of the most powerful apps
available to e-commerce merchants is Facebook Video, which enables users to
share videos of informational presentations, product demonstrations, even company commercials.
While chances are good that fewer merchants have video capabilities than social
media capabilities, pairing the two could make for a good stream of content to
members of your community.
Take the Pulse of Your Fan Pages: An excellent application to
let Facebook Page administrators survey their fans is Polls. The app makes it very
easy to create surveys and pretty simple to analyze results with some
detailed graphs of user responses across demographics. (untested-unlinked)
Testimonials on Facebook
Client testimonials are a powerful means to increase conversion on your Facebook
page. Applications such as iEndorse enable you to collect endorsements from
clients for the purpose of building business relationships and reputation for
those providing products and services. Users of the app can also find your
company within the app's business database. (untested-unlinked)
These are just a few of the apps WM discovered on the application market at
Facebook. Share what apps you use to build and promote your e-commerce venture
online by commenting below.