It seems that Facebook is getting in on all the action nowadays. They received more visits than Google in 2010, according to TechCrunch and they have there own movie. They may soon add being a top shopping site to their list of achievements.
Last year I wrote a blog about JCPenney launching an ecommerce store on Facebook. In a nutshell, visitors could like, share or purchase products without leaving the Facebook site. Since then, other retailers have joined JCPenney. It may not seem like a big deal, but this could be the start of a growing trend. Remember Facebook pages? Only a few companies had Facebook pages in the beginning and now many companies, big and small have them.
The second half of the shopping puzzle is consumer purchasing trends. Will people feel comfortable making purchases on Facebook for a brand name product they want? It seems that retailers think the answer is yes. Some retailers feel that consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if it comes to them rather than vice versa. According to Direct Marketing News, Jim Wright, Express’ SVP of CRM and e-commerce says, “We need to be where customers are having their experiences and sharing information. We need to take down the barriers preventing a shopping experience.”
The thought here is to not interrupt the environment of Facebook users, but rather engage them to purchase while they are in their Facebook setting, communicating with family and friends. Think about it, if someone goes to a company site on Facebook they might just browse their inventory. Instead of leaving Facebook or opening up another window or tab they could whip out their credit card and make a purchase.
In the end, revenue will decide if companies will continue to pursue and develop shopping capabilities within Facebook. There may come a time that someone says, “I’m going shopping at the Facebook mall.” The only question left to ask is Will your company be located in the Facebook mall?
In 2005, the Monday after Thanksgiving was named Cyber Monday by the National Retail Federation trade group to kick off the Holiday shopping season. The idea behind this was that shoppers will visit stores over the Thanksgiving weekend, and then on Monday when they return to work, they will shop online for additional deals.
This year, there was no doubt that online retailers made great efforts to attract customers to their websites. Extraordinary discounts were promoted leading up to and throughout Cyber Monday. Through the numbers, it seems as though many retailers’ efforts have paid off. Sales were up 19.4% this Cyber Monday, reported by Coremetrics. In addition, the average order value on Cyber Monday was $194.89, higher than last year’s average of $180.03. In particular, luxury goods retailers in particular saw a significant increase in sales this year.
Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday typically are the two most well-known shopping days of the year, Thanksgiving Day was pretty successful as well. comScore reported that on Thanksgiving Day online holiday spending rose 28% percent to $407 million this year.
Many retailers are not only focusing on email and paid search efforts to promote their deals. Social media is playing a much larger role than it has in the past this holiday season. Large brands such as Amazon, Sports Authority’s and Sears are using social media to promote deals. Facebook and Twitter in particular offer great opportunities to reach shoppers as they are spending time within their channel of choice. As shoppers seem to be willing to spend a bit more this year, it would be advantageous to look to social media as another avenue to reach customers.
I recently had dinner with some friends and the conversation turned into a debate about the merits of shopping online. I was mentioning how I had just made a fabulous purchase on Zappos and not only was I extremely pleased with my new shoes; I was upgraded to overnight shipping at no additional cost to me! What could be better than that? Imagine my surprise to hear that not only do these particular friends never shop online, they said they would never consider it, insisting they feel they would not get what they ordered, it would not meet their expectations, it would take a long time to be shipped and unless they can actually see and touch what they are buying, they would not feel comfortable giving a credit card to an online retailer.
My argument was how easy, fast and reliable online shopping really and truly is, as well as the numerous discounts I have received (and continue to receive) almost every time I shop. I was flabbergasted by their stance on the matter and could not help but argue (all be it nicely) my point. All I could think about was how much time and money (not to mention gas) I have saved by shopping online.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of online shopping:
Free Shipping, Free or Easy Returns. Nowadays many online retailers waive shipping costs and make the return process seamless.
Fast Delivery. You can get what you are ordering the next day in many cases.
Special Online Deals. Many sites offer “online only” specials, discounts on future purchases, free gifts, repeat buyer/loyalty savings, last-minute promotions, rebates, etc.
Free Gift Wrap. If you’re buying a gift, many retailers offer free gift wrapping, as well as a card that is shipped with your order.
It’s not scary to shop online, nor should it be. Give it a whirl!