Facebook Commerce’s Influence on Consumer Purchases

Bea Halstead - July 17, 2012

Facebook continues to attract businesses that desire a better understanding of the effectiveness and potential influence social commerce has upon their consumers.   Some larger brands, like JC Penny, have tried e-commerce within Facebook and claimed to have not realized expected results from e-commerce efforts.  There are new brands, like Fab.com, that adhere to a business model dependant upon the integration with social networks, and have been very successful with marketing on Facebook.   So how can small and larger brands differ in their success rate?  Strategies that drive F-commerce have to be different from normal e-commerce methods in order to provide a return on investment.  F-commerce focuses on utilizing the data from customer’s interests, enhancing fan activity, and social sharing with friends on Facebook, in order to improve online sales.

F-Commerce Referrals. The strategy that has been effective for larger brands, uses Facebook to drive traffic to their online store.  These brands have found it more successful to offer links to e-commerce sites via posts, advertising, and custom tabs because their websites are proven to be better at converting the sale.

F-Commerce Stores. The smaller businesses have seen promising results by building their store directly within Facebook.  This type of store is successful in integrating the sharing aspect into all segments of a Facebook fan’s shopping experience.  This strategy allows fans of the company’s Facebook Page to share items they are interested in buying with friends as well as sharing items they have purchased from the store.  The social commerce is paramount in exposure of the company’s product selections and existence of the store on Facebook.  This type of store can also be driving traffic to an e-commerce website to complete the sale.

F-Commerce Focus Groups. There are some companies who utilize the social aspect of the network by conducting exclusive product launches to their Facebook Page’s fans.  This strategy gives fans the opportunity to request free samples of the new product, share the product announcement with friends, and participate in the campaign by uploading a photo or video using the product.  The company benefits by requiring fans to first “like” the Facebook Page and submit information, like an e-mail address, before they may request a sample.  This also builds up a demand for the new product pre-launch and gives the company the ability to monitor feedback about the product while supplying the consumer with links to purchase that item from an online store.

The Apps designed to help businesses market themselves are what drive this f-commerce strategy.  Facebook released Timeline to business Pages along with the social graph API in order to better develop the relationship from socializing about a product to purchasing it.  When companies begin to leverage their use of the “like” button, activity feed, integrated registrations, and sharing they will benefit from the success that lies in social media marketing.

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