F-Commerce Ideas to Help You Stand Out
By Adam Kossoff
I haven’t missed all of the recent news about f-commerce. Stories being shared about the Gap, Nordstrom and others removing their Facebook stores, and headlines claiming the end of f-commerce before it even took off. If you find yourself dismissing f-commerce after reading news like this, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity for your brand. You don’t have to invest a significant amount of money to bring your entire store to Facebook, many experts discourage doing this, but instead you should start by asking yourself, what can I do to deliver value for my customers?
Value is what keeps your visitors coming back and your community growing. With f-commerce, your greatest value comes from providing your customers with a unique experience that they can’t find anywhere else. The most popular way companies do this is by issuing a special deal. According to a study from Insight Strategy Group, 58% of people said the number one reason for following a brand on a social network is to get special news and deals. By offering a ‘Facebook Only Deal’, you’ll see a boost in brand equity and loyalty, along with additional revenue. To get you thinking, here are some of my favorite strategies for leveraging f-commerce to deliver value to your customers and their friends:
Pop-Up Shop: Reward your Facebook fans with an opportunity to be one of the first people to purchase a new product. Limit it to the first 200 customers, or open it to everyone; either way you’ll bring attention to the new release. If you want to gather customer data, launch the tab a week before the pre-sale and require customers to register for a special code to use on the pre-sale date.
Example: Rachel Roy launched a pop-up store on Facebook for three days in advance of the release of her new jewelry line. The collection that was sold included an exclusive, limited edition piece that sold out in only six hours. Rachel Roy’s fan base increased 25% the first day, and 100% by the end of the campaign.
Discount Stores: Offer special discounts on a select number of products. To create a habit, pick a day each week to change the items and get people coming back to see what’s on sale. If you want to get customers even more excited about the store, limit the quantity of items so the most popular purchases sell out before the end of the week. Create that sense of urgency and you’ll be rewarded immediately.
Example: Social commerce platform provider ShopIgnitor used their own experience and other studies to run a report on the effectiveness of flash sales on Facebook. They saw a 368% increase in consumer interest from limited-time curated sales and report that 79% of consumers say they expect brands on social media to deliver special offers and discounts.
Exclusive Items: Release a Facebook Collection, sell limited edition items, or re-release products that once sold out to fans that ‘Like’ your page. Provide that exclusivity that they can’t get anywhere else. Not only will this bring new and some of your most loyal customers to your page, it will give fans an extra reason to share something with their friends.
Example: Heinz Soup UK opened a Facebook store for 4 weeks in October 2011 to sell one of a kind, personalized cans of “Get Well” Soup for Facebook fans and their friends. Heinz UK reported 1 sale per 8 fans, and increased their total Facebook ‘Likes’ by 200%.
Celebrity Recommendations: If you have a relationship with an influential person, use them! Leverage their following to generate buzz and attention around your page and products. People love recommendations, and what’s better than the approval from someone they admire and trust?
Example: Brand Affinity Technologies, a celebrity marketing company, released a study in March 2011 that supported a 50% “performance lift” from celebrity endorsement campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. In earlier research that they administered, endorsements from athletes led to a 27% increase in purchase intent, and 39% improvement in brand favorability.
It isn’t time to fold your f-commerce cards just yet. Ante up and analyze what you can take from a new sales strategy. The value that many believed was once in f-commerce is still there. The community that you’ve invested so much in is only growing. Customers are still spending a lot of time using social media, and there are many other people looking to discover something new. The opportunity for additional engagement, transactions, and buzz around your products and service is all still there! You just need to come up with a creative strategy that’s going to work for you and your customers.