#Krocomm is Ireland’s free e-commerce event happening in Dublin on Tuesday 4th October at Kro HQ. There are lots of great speakers, clinics and giveaways. Book here.
Back at the beginning of the year there was a lot of buzz about f-commerce. In other words selling directly from a shop on your Facebook page. It’s true more people are looking to Facebook to start a shop, it’s also true that lots of large brands seem to be embracing it but is it right for your small business? How else can Facebook help you sell? These are topics I’ll be discussing at the #krocomm e-commerce conference next week but here’s a sneak preview of my presentation.
Why sell from Facebook?
Facebook is a massive community, research has shown that Facebook fans are loyal customers who are more likely to buy online. If you can connect with these potential customers you could be building powerful brand advocates who will not only buy from you but also recommend you to friends.
Buying online is all about trust, you are asking someone to hand over their credit card details so it’s important that however you choose to sell, your web presence oozes professionalism and trust. If you don’t have the budget to create a great e-commerce website straight away Facebook is often a better option. There are several applications that are simple to add to your Facebook page that make setting up a shop easy. Two Irish based ones are Owjo and VendorShop and there are lots of other options out there. However simply adding a shop to Facebook doesn’t ensure trustworthiness. Make sure your page is designed well, add as much detail in the info page as possible and be easy to contact offline.
Once you’ve set up your shop the same rules apply as with any e-commerce venture. Customers won’t just come to you, you will need to attract them. One of the biggest disadvantages of f-commerce that I can see is that people who ‘Like’ your page often just visit once, once they’ve clicked the ‘Like’ button they rely on seeing your updates on their newsfeed. Having a shop tab as part of your page means that you will need to get them back to your page, you will need to drive them to your shop and entice them to buy when they get there. This is true of both f-commerce and e-commerce.
So how do you encourage that purchase using social media? I’m not going to talk about general strategy here and it’s important to remember that these tips will only work as part of a full Facebook or social media campaign.
I’m not sure if it’s a sign of the times but consumers don’t expect to pay full price for anything anymore. If you want their attention you are going to have to discount occasionally. Creating offers exclusively for your Facebook community is a great way to push them over the edge into a purchase. You can simply add a discount code in your updates or as an image as these are more likely to attract the attention of your fans or you could create a customised page with vouchers. If you are a bricks and mortar shop give your fans a fun phrase they have to say when they come into your shop, this will create a bit of fun instore too.
Every Christmas a member of my extended family gets an invite to a special shopping night in Brown Thomas, they give her a glass of champagne when she arrives and the shop is less busy so she’s able to shop in peace and is guaranteed a personal service. She’s a loyal Brown Thomas customer and this experience makes her feel special. They are ensuring her loyalty for the future. You can replicate this on Facebook.
Why not offer an exclusive to your fans, if you have a new product or a new range of products give your Facebook fans the chance to buy 24 hours before the general public. Not only will this encourage them to buy, it will create a buzz around your launch.
We tend to buy from shops that are recommended to us by our friends and I for one know I research a product online before I buy it. Reviews are therefore an essential part of any e or f-commerce site. If someone is able to see frank customer reviews next to the product you are selling they are more likely to buy. Another Irish company LouderVoice makes the process of getting and sharing reviews easy.
If you sell something make it easy to share. What happens when someone buys from you? Do they have the option to share their purchase with their friends on Facebook? On Twitter? The easier you make it to share the further the word will spread about what you are selling.
When I asked people on Facebook would they buy from a Facebook shop most people hadn’t encountered one. This is probably one of the biggest barriers you will come against. There are good examples out there.
Young British Designers have a beautiful shop and I’m informed they only sell on Facebook, there’s no website attached.
Handmade Jewellery store Dink Design are using Owjo to sell from their Facebook page and I think it looks quite attractive and very trustworthy.
Another Irish company Puddleducks have a store powered by Payvment. Again it looks trustworthy and it has those all important ‘share on Facebook’ buttons.
Pampers have a Facebook shop but it differs from the others as links take you away from Facebook and onto their own website.
So what do you think? Would you buy on Facebook? Have you tried selling there? What sort of results have you had? I’d love to hear your experiences so that I can add it to my presentation next week.