Terms like social commerce, Facebook commerce and social shopping are making headlines. Nearly every retailer is trying tap into the 750 million potential shoppers on Facebook. The one thing missing is what it really means to make your e-commerce efforts social.
That's because social commerce is more than just putting up a Facebook storefront and adding a “Like” button to your products. To truly fulfill the promise of social commerce, you need to take full advantage of the Facebook ecosystem. This means enabling social promotion and discovery of products based on a consumer's social graph — i.e., what their friends and similar people like. It also means integrating conversation into the shopping experience, allowing shoppers to interact directly with your reps and ask questions about products just as they would at a physical store location.
Of course, social commerce creates an unparalleled opportunity to combine social data with traditional e-commerce analytics to better understand your customers. Here are five ways to take your social commerce efforts to the next level:
1. Make your Facebook store your default tab. Sales and marketing experts know that extra clicks and steps create unnecessary barriers in the customer experience. By setting your store page as your default tab, you're removing the barrier of an additional click on the store tab. This allows visitors to immediately see your store instead of having to go through an extra step, helping your fans convert to shoppers more easily.
Don’t forget to rename the tab. "Store" or "Shop" doesn’t really call people to the desired action. Naming the tab with action words and specifics like “Buy T-Shirts” or “Shop for Puzzles” will lead to more engagement and interest.
2. Enable social discovery. Putting a like or share button on each product is a good first step. But once someone likes or shares your product and it posts to their feed, it's gone after five minutes. Build some persistence into this valuable shopper feedback by storing this data and using it to fuel recommendations, both based on what their friends like and what people with similar taste profiles like.
Many retailers are also using Facebook Connect to make their e-commerce site more social. Why not do the reverse and integrate data from your e-commerce site into your Facebook storefront to drive recommendations?
3. Social promotion. Setting up a promotion schedule is just as important as picking out the items or deals you want to promote. Like any good plan, there should be achievable expectations and goals for the promotions. The first step is to make sure your price points are set at reasonable levels to achieve maximum goal potential.
Ultimately you're going to want to promote yourself and encourage your fans to promote you as well. Being able to offer an incentive to new fans is always a great way for them to share their good fortune with friends.
4. Build conversation into the shopping experience. One of the biggest untapped e-commerce opportunities created by Facebook is the ability to create conversations around your products. When users check out a business on Facebook, they expect to see wall posts so they can easily follow and join the conversation. Being able to see what people are saying about a particular product and engage in a dialogue makes the shopping experience more social, and it also gives retailers the ability to answer questions about products and actively engage in "selling" beyond just posting the product. Ensure your Facebook shop has the ability to have conversations around your products.
5. Merchandising. Making the decision to open a store on Facebook may be the easiest thing you do. Figuring out what you should sell is what may take some time. The easiest way is to look at who your fans are. Then decide from your current product catalog what the best items are to offer to your fans. You can change out items regularly to create a catalog for Facebook specials, or you may want to consider creating Facebook-exclusive packages with limited quantities or timing to create a sense of urgency. It’s important to have a dashboard feature that lets you easily add products or change quantities so you can merchandise your store easily and effectively.
Joelle Musante is co-founder and chief brand evangelist of Payvment, a social storefront solution.