7 Ways Retailers Can Leverage Facebook
Facebook commerce was a big topic of discussion by attendees and speakers at the 2011 ChannelAdvisor Catalyst Conference which took place in Durham, North Carolina this week.
During the opening keynote address, for example, Scot Wingo, CEO and co-founder of ChannelAdvisor Corp. discussed his firm's "Facebook Commerce Framework" that details seven ways reailers can leverge Facebook. They include the following:
1. Use Facebook Ads. Yes, Facebook is used by a majority of web users — the social network reaches 75 percent of internet users multiple times per month. But targeting specific consumer groups on Facebook continues to be a challenge for most online retailers. As a result, "experiment with Facebook Ads, which allows you to target your audience by location, age and interest. They're a great tool to use to help you build your fan base on your Facebook page," said Wingo.
2. Promote your brand and merchandise on your Facebook page. "Currently the most popular way for retailers to connect with consumers is via their Facebook pages," Wingo said. "Run promotions on your page." Popular Facebook page promotions are exclusive coupons, daily deals, stores, promotions, sweepstakes and surveys, he added.
3. Use Facebook Connect. This platform allows retailers to leverage the Facebook social graph on their e-commerce sites. "Amazon’s implementation of Facebook Connect is state-of-the-art," Wingo said. For example, it allows Amazon to make recommendations for consumers, based on their Facebook favorites and "likes" as well as allow consumers to see their friends’ upcoming birthdays and wish lists.
4. Use Facebook Like buttons. These buttons allow consumers to like any page, product or brand on the internet, "which can turn into social wish lists or powerful recommendation engines," Wingo said. Like buttons were introduced about a year ago "and already appear on millions of Facebook pages," Wingo added. What's more, Facebook recently added some improved retail capabilities to the like button, and Google recently released its +1 experiment, which enables consumers to click +1 on a webpage or ad they find useful and then the +1’s will start appearing in Google’s search results.
5. Experiment with social shopping. Retailers today are finding success with new social shopping systems that mirror that "trip to the mall with your friends" experience, Wingo said, adding that there is lots of innovation in this area today. "Some technologies allow Facebook friends to co-shop, browse together, or see which of your friends are online and ask their advice," Wingo said.
6. Experiment with Facbook Credits. This virtual currency launched by social site in 2010 enables users to buy virtual goods in many games and apps on the Facebook platform. The currency is going more mainstream, Wingo said. To wit, in March, Warner Brothers started a test that enabled users to watch "The Dark Knight"on Facebook for a cost of 30 Facebook credits. What's more, "some retailers are experimenting with Facebook credit incentives in lieu of coupons," Wingo said.
7. Experiment with Facebook Deals. This new Facebook program (which is in beta in select markets right now) allows retailers to offer deals to individuals, groups of friends, customer and charities. "Facebook Deals is rumored to be a Groupon killer, Wingo said. "And like Groupon, Facebook Deals is designed for local deals but may turn into a national opportunity quickly."
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.