Top 5 Tips for Social Commerce



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by, Joel Davis

Will Facebook commerce be the game changer in 2011? There’s a real feeling among a lot of people in the industry that social commerce is the second online commerce revolution. Many brands have already started to utilize Facebook as an e-commerce platform and it will become increasingly important for businesses to use Facebook to deliver a truly social shopping experience.

Here are five tips to make the most from Facebook Commerce:

1. Make the User Journey as Easy as Possible

Given that Facebook commerce is still in relative infancy, businesses need to clearly demonstrate that buying from Facebook stores is easy and beneficial.

For Facebook commerce to maximize its potential Facebook needs to mirror traditional e-commerce in terms of proving its usability, customer service, security and privacy – as well as its ability to generate revenue. Businesses also need to clearly demonstrate the unique value proposition of a Facebook store compared to a brand’s website by providing instant rewards and unique personalized relationships as well as providing a clear call to action.

Greater transparency in terms of user experience, along with improvements and innovations which will simplify the process such as accepting Facebook Credits – Facebook’s own currency – for payment, can also only help to make the Facebook commerce proposition even more popular.

It shouldn’t be difficult to get Facebook users on board: the ability to have a complete brand experience – from engagement and product browsing right through to checkout – without having to navigate anywhere else is an extremely appealing one.

2. Remember it’s SOCIAL Commerce

For Facebook Commerce to be successful brands need to remember that this is social media. That means the Facebook Store shouldn’t simply be a bolt on to your Facebook Page, it should be a fully integrated part of the user’s social experience.

It might sound strange to not only talk about selling when it comes to social commerce but the idea is to use e-commerce to enhance the social aspects of your Facebook presence. There must be a smooth transition between engagement on the Wall and the user making a purchase – everything must connect. Brands must foster meaningful and personalized engagement with their fans before they focus on selling them anything.

The point is that you need to remain genuinely social by giving consumers the ability to engage in conversations about the brand and product with you and their peers. Your Facebook Page has to be your shop window, your customer service center and your store.

3. Monitor to Personalize

One of the great benefits of Facebook commerce is the opportunity to understand what your customers buy and what they want and use this to provide a personalized user experience.

Facebook has developed a range of tools that allows brands to gain further insights about their customers. Facebook Insights allow you to track the performance of your e-commerce platform – this includes metrics for specific features such as ‘Likes’ and shares as well as demographic information and user behavior. This information can then be used to understand what messages, deals and rewards will be most effective in gaining customers and maximizing sales.

This ability to understand your audience and tailor how and when you communicate with them is what makes social e-commerce such a compelling solution for brands.

4. Provide Exclusive Content

If customers are unsure whether to purchase through Facebook then one way to encourage them to engage and buy is to use social commerce to offer your customers a unique buying experience.

Be innovative. Make your brand stand out. Facebook provides all the tools you need to create a personalized relationship with customers and make them feel unique by offering exclusive Facebook deals and offers.

There are many examples of brands providing a special value proposition such as products ‘only available on Facebook’, one-time-only availability and offers limited to Fans of the Page to make products compelling. You can also reward loyalty by providing incentives for customers buying through Facebook.

Other innovative features have seen brands create Pop-Up Shops and integrate a wish-list into their Facebook store. You can also use ‘fan-gating’ so that content becomes exclusively available only to Fans of your brand or who ‘Like’ your posts.

5. More than the Facebook store

We’ve talked here about Facebook commerce as the Facebook store. However, you can also take Facebook to your e-commerce site by using the Facebook Open Graph Protocol and social plugins. These tools integrate Facebook into a business’ website enabling them to use Facebook member data to display information, goods and services tailored specifically to that user’s interests.

For users this means a personalized web experience based on their tastes, interests and relationships. For brands, by implementing a few lines of code, it means they can provide highly customized engagement experiences for their consumers. For example, retailers can utilize Facebook member data in their e-commerce sites to recommend certain products and allow people to easily share things they like.

Some of the biggest brands in the world such as Amazon, Levis and Trip Advisor have done this very successfully – integrating with Facebook to offer instant personalization and allowing people to share what they like with their friends on Facebook.

The Future for Social Commerce

Why is Facebook Commerce such an enticing prospect for marketers and businesses? Well, it offers a unique amalgamation of sales and marketing, where you can seamlessly turn a Fan into a customer. It also makes complete sense – it allows you to take your company to where your customers are. With 600 million users that place is Facebook.

Joel Davis the founder of agency: 2 and a contributor of the Social Media Week Global Editorial Team.  You can follow him on twitter @agency2.

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