There are 600 millions users on Facebook and 70 percent of them are outside the US; Facebook commerce is the topic at the front of every brand marketer’s mind. Though seemingly premature, retailers are starting to explore how they convert brand enthusiast “likes” into purchases.
In Mark Zuckerberg’s first interview on 60 Minutes in 2008, he spoke about the power of Facebook as a shopping tool. Referring to a scarf from Bloomingdale’s, he offhandedly suggested that if your friend or someone you respect as an expert bought that scarf and “liked” that scarf, it would make it a more attractive scarf to you as a consumer to purchase.
Three years later, retailers clearly recognize the power of “F-Commerce,”with more than half of the top 25 retail sites like eBay and Amazon integrating the “connect with Facebook” feature into their sites at the very least of their social extension into the largest social network in the world. Retailers and brands are now going a few steps further, experimenting with different forms of Facebook commerce. From a simple “connect with Facebook” feature to full e-commerce integration, all the ways to shop via Facebook are showing signs of success and revenue in the low millions of dollars.
Pop-Up Shops & Insider Shopping Events
In August 2010, Rachelle Roy launched a fan-only pop-up store on Facebook. The insider shopping event gave the brand’s Facebook fans early access to Rachel Roy’s new jewelry line collaboration with British R&B artist Estelle. The pop-up store lasted three days and launched with a limited edition jewelry collection. The collection featured an exclusive, limited edition piece that sold out in only six hours.
During the three day campaign, Rachel Roy’s fan base grew by 25 percent in the first day and 100 percent by the end of the campaign. The Facebook page was acquiring 1 fan every 1.5 seconds.
The Rachel Roy pop-up shop was built on a productized software-as-a-service solution, Fluid Social Fan Shop. Peter Goldie, the Vice President of Marketing at Fluid Agency, an e-commerce firm whose clients include Diane Von Furstenberg, Nine West, Theory, Vans and Coach, believes that retailers need to create engaging social merchandising experiences that increase a brand’s fan base while driving transactions.
At the same time, digital savvy retailer Coach launched a pop-up shop as part of it’s Poppy Campaign. Within an hour of the announcement of their Poppy handbag pre-sale, Coach had 1,000 likes and 100 comments.
“Marketers are always looking for ways to drive customer purchases,” says Goldie. “Having limited edition, time sensitive sales helps retailers drive sales without having to discount.” Goldie added that pop-up shops are a great way for brand manufacturers to test the e-commerce waters without going into full scale website development.
“Few retailers are delivering premium Facebook shopping that not only rewards fans but pulls them into a deeper relationship with the brand,” says Goldie. “Slapping a store on Facebook doesn’t deliver. Fan Shop enabled Rachelle Roy and Coach to create immersive brand experiences that fully integrate shopping as well as the shopper’s wider social network.”
Private, Fan Only Sales
In August 2010,Philadelphia-basedKembrellaunched a private shopping community for students that sold them clothing, books and computer gadgets at 40-75% off – and they did it via entirely via Facebook.Kembrel’s summer beta period successfully attracted over 20,0000 registered student members. This initial growth was mostly organic through word of mouth, with little reliance on traditional marketing.
“The total market is 17 million students and every year, they spend over $300 billion. Now two thirds of that $300 billion dollars [goes towards] school, housing, food and essentials. There’s $100 billion dollars spent on apparel, shoes and accessories, and that’s the market we’re going after,” said CEO Cherif Kembrel.