Let’s go back to the Harvard dorm room days of Mark Zuckerberg. Besides spending hours and hours typing code and designing the look for what was then known as The Facebook, Zuckerberg needed to think hard about why people like you and me would want to log onto his site on a repeated basis.
Fast forward to today, and online publication Social Commerce Today attempts to explain that motivation by looking at seven core Facebook uses and activities. These unsurprisingly include connecting with people; sharing; updating statuses; and investigating people (or “social surveillance”).
But what’s most interesting is that buying from brands and connecting with brands is not included.
Did Mark Zuckerberg realise in his dorm room that The Facebook could be so much more than just a place to connect? That it could, indeed, be a place to buy?
Retailers are realising that making products available to buy for followers of their Facebook pages is a great way to increase awareness of their brand while also earning additional profit; Social Commerce Today also posted an article last month of their top 50 Facebook stores and the top 20 store solutions used to power them.
Take the Facebook page of the movie Batman: The Dark Knight:
Facebook gives users the option of purchasing credits which can be used to buy a variety of products, and The Dark Knight’s social media team takes advantage of this by conveniently allowing followers of the movie to use these credits to watch the movie.
Of course, different stores are used in different ways as different brands offer different kinds of products for purchase…
Here is the facebook store of musician Jason Mraz:
With more than 7.6 million likes, Jason Mraz (and his social media team) used the Bravado store solution to integrate merchandise into his Facebook profile which fans can view and then buy after two clicks.
When Facebook followers engage in social commerce and use Facebook as a means to purchase products from brands they love, success doesn’t go unnoticed.
A New York Times article states that clothing retailer American Eagle has been able to quantify Facebook, or at least show that referred facebook page followers to their website produces measurable results:
“American Eagle saw users referred by Facebook spend 57 percent more than average on the site.”
So the Facebook store examples above provide a glimpse into how companies can use social commerce differently: they can allow users to browse products and then head to the parent website to make a purchase; or customers can buy a product by using facebook credits instead of pounds, euros or any other currency. There are some companies that allow users to purchase products without ever leaving the social networking site, but tit may take a while for others to get comfortable with using their online payment processing systems.
From a word of mouth perspective, companies allowing its customers to purchase their products on a journey that starts with Facebook has big advanatges: it gets your fan base talking about products, recommending them, and connecting with other people in the process, which is where the real ‘ripple effect’ kicks in.
So what do you think? As a business owner or knowing someone with a business, would you recommend using Facebook as a social commerce tool?