3 Best Practices for Facebook Ecommerce Success

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1 3 Best Practices for Facebook Ecommerce Success Social Strategies for Online Retailers Rapidly or reluctantly, retailers are adding social channels and tools to their arsenal, urged on by customers and competitors who are already using them. But these are not the only forces driving retailers towards social commerce. No longer hype, the opportunity for word-of-mouth customer referrals driven by social context and a shared shopping experience is simply too large to ignore: 67% of shoppers spend more online after recommendations from an online community of friends. (Internet Retailer, September 2009) 53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets, with 48% of them delivering on their intention to buy the product. (ROI Research for Performance, June 2010) Facebook, blogs, Twitter and customer reviews are considered the most effective tactics for mobilizing consumers to talk up products online. (the e-tailing group survey of 117 companies, September 2009) On Black Friday 2010, there were more than 6x the number of Facebook status updates related to retail purchases as on the previous Friday. (Facebook, January 2011) Facebook in particular has become increasingly important to retailers in the past year. Half of the top 25 retailers have integrated Facebook into their own sites, as have 17 of 25 fastest-growing retailers, a Page 1 of 10

2 telling statistic. In 2010 Facebook created a new team to work with retailers and help them best leverage Facebook Platform products such as the Like button and login to drive business. Invest in Facebook integration both on your site and off to tap the power of social while creating a customer experience that supports your brand. There are a plethora of powerful tools, but three best practices will help you effectively tap that power while creating a customer experience that appropriately reflects your brand. 1. Invest equally in integrating Facebook into your own site as in Facebook.com 2. Incorporate ecommerce and social best practices both on your site and on Facebook.com 3. Close the loop to enable seamless shopping #1 Invest equally in integrating Facebook into your own site as in Facebook.com Why is it important to invest equally in your on-facebook and off-facebook social strategies? According to Facebook, a combination of on-site and off-site Facebook tools and technologies can create a social recommendations engine that personalizes sites and powers word of mouth at scale. Most retailers are comfortable with running a variety of promotions on their Facebook Pages, but less comfortable with using Facebook tools on their own sites. The discrepancy is illustrated below, with 91% of retailers surveyed using or planning to use a Facebook Page, but significantly fewer looking at integrating Facebook for Websites (formerly Facebook Connect ) for their own sites. Page 2 of 10

3 An important area of focus for 2011 is making the rest of the web as social as Facebook. In a December interview, Ethan Beard, Director of Facebook Developer Network, told Internet Retailer, We re not trying to recreate the Internet on Facebook.com. In fact, I spend most of time working with people to socialize the web outside of our site. Altimeter analyst Jeremiah Owyang calls 2011 the year of integrating social with the corporate site is the year of integrating social with the corporate site don t send your customers away to be social. Investing equally in social for your own site is the path to creating a consistent brand experience for your customers wherever they are, and in getting the most out of your entire social investment. At the most basic level, integrating Facebook into your own retail site means you don t have to send your customers away to be social. You can add social context and create a loop between Facebook and your site without distracting consumers from the shopping process. Most retailers have a significant investment in search marketing programs, and keeping people on the site is a cardinal rule. Consider the following examples. In the first, visitors to Macys.com who want to Like the Macy s brand must click the Facebook icon, which redirects the browser window to the Macys brand Page on Facebook.com. Shoppers then have to click Like on the Macy s Facebook Page, then hit the back button on the browser or re-navigate to the Macys.com site to return to their original path. This process leaves a lot of opportunity to be distracted from the original destination and intention. In the second example, Gap.com has implemented the Facebook Like Box plugin. A visitor to Gap.com simply clicks the Like button and the process is completed without any additional clicks, creating a connection to the Gap Facebook Page seamlessly and most importantly keeping the person on the site. This is a winwin for Gap and its customers, enabling both to establish a new relationship and a new communication channel on Facebook, without distracting from the shopping process. Page 3 of 10

4 While this is a very simple integration example, it is representative of why it is important to get the balance of on-site and off-site social right. According to Facebook, people who click the Like button on external sites have 2.4x the number of friends than the average Facebook user, and click on 5.3x more external links, so ensuring you connect with these word-of-mouth advocates is not just a nice-to-have, it s a must-have Page 4 of 10

5 #2 Design for the best of ecommerce and social both on your site and off Tried and true ecommerce best practices still apply when designing a commerce experience on Facebook.com, just as social best practices still apply when integrating social features into your website. JCPenney has a history of running innovative social campaigns on Facebook, and has proven they are not afraid to iterate quickly and learn how best to engage customers and potential customers wherever they are. The company recently launched their full catalog as a store on Facebook, which is embedded as an app within the company s Facebook page. Tried and true online retail best practices still apply when designing your commerce experience on Facebook.com. While JCPenney deserves kudos for many features, there remains a significant gap between the shopping experience on Facebook and that on JCPenney.com. Important (and best practice) information needed for purchase conversion, like size charts, fabric content, and care instructions, is missing, e.g. what age child does that size M boys swimsuit correspond to? Out of stock notifications don t come until after placing an item into your bag. One of the app s strengths is the ability for existing JCPenney.com customers to checkout using their existing JCPenney.com accounts, an important best practice. The core shopping user experience and associated best practices are retailers strengths to leverage in a social context. Page 5 of 10

6 The JCPenney shopping app includes solid social sharing functionality, such as the Like button and Comments plugin, which displays the shopper s profile picture and enables that person to share comments about products to her profile and friends. Social features that JCPenney could add to further enrich both their shopping app on Facebook.com and their own website include: Applying social data to streamline the checkout process Tapping into a shopper s profile data to streamline the checkout process can increase conversion and improve the user experience. When JCPenney launched the shopping app, it asked for permissions upfront, but the company pulled the permission step off when people balked at some of the requests. Facebook best practices are to only ask for permissions at the time they are needed, to ask only for the data needed, and to provide a clear explanation. 2 For example, JCPenney could ask for access to a shopper s profile data at the time a new account is created, and include an explanation of how that data will be used. Facebook has also recently released a Registration plugin to help sites capture data during the sign-up process, with shopper permission. Personalization and social context Social technologies enable personalization and social context for products, ratings and reviews. For example, what products have my friends reviewed or rated? JCPenney could also provide product recommendations based on a person s Likes and the Likes of his or her friends. Social and Commerce expertise is rapidly converging major commerce platforms are integrating social modules in early Social shopping features Enabling people to shop together with friends, create wish lists, or ask friends about specific products could truly tap into the power of the social graph people maintain on Facebook. This would provide an additional opportunity for JCPenney to ask for permissions that shoppers would readily give in exchange for a valuable user experience. 2 To learn more about best practices for using social data, visit: Page 6 of 10

7 Game mechanics Adding elements of game mechanics, which are essentially social rewards programs, to existing frequent shopper programs can increase margins. Alternating virtual and monetary rewards, like expedited shipping and fun virtual goods, for taking actions like sharing products with friends is just one possibility. Social and ecommerce expertise is rapidly converging. In early 2011, major ecommerce platform vendors will make modules available that are built in conjunction with social technology and usability experts to deliver social features seamlessly to retail websites and wherever customers are on the web. #3 Close the loop to enable seamless shopping Retailers have rapidly embraced the Like button on their websites to drive word-of-mouth. But, providing seamless social shopping means recognizing people as customers as well as Facebook users wherever they are. To do so effectively, retailers can develop ongoing communications to reach those customers while they are spending time on Facebook as well as incorporate powerful personalization activity into their own sites. For multi-channel retailers, this can also include web to in-store promotions. Targeted communications on Facebook When consumers click the Like button next to a product, it can open up a communication channel between the site and that consumer on Facebook. If the Like button has been integrated through the Open Graph protocol, the site can publish information directly to the Facebook News Feeds of all the individuals who have liked the product, and target that information new products or sales for example based on the type of item that was liked. Levi s, one of the earliest adopters of the Like button, found that this new channel was an extremely effective way to not only reach a younger and typically elusive target audience, but to drive them to their retail site. Close the loop with Facebook shoppers by enabling social sign-on to power site registration and other social features. Below, Levi s can now easily let the shoppers who liked these jeans know that they are on sale: Page 7 of 10

8 Site personalization Perhaps the greatest potential impact comes from closing the loop with Facebook users via Social Signon. Facebook consumers in particular are aware that they can use their Facebook credentials to register or sign-in around the web, as on Giantnerd.com, an online retailer of high-end outdoor equipment. Page 8 of 10

9 Giant Nerd has integrated with Facebook, via the Gigya service, to enable Facebook shoppers to register and sign-in, share content, and participate in the Giantnerd community to earn both social and monetary rewards. The site taps into profile data Facebook users have shared to personalize the shopping experience in a variety of ways. When retailers enable their customers and visitors to connect with their real identity and friends through Facebook, it opens up a wide range of opportunities. With social plugins, sites can gather anonymous and aggregated data from people who have clicked the Like button and garner insights to help in customization, but they do not have access to those people as individuals, i.e. they cannot access individual demographic or other profile or social data. It is only when a shopper chooses to sign-in to the site with their Facebook information that a retailer can access to individual data, and can recognize that person uniquely to provide a more personalized shopping experience. Amazon does this quite effectively with their Facebook integration, displaying product recommendations based on customer likes as well as friends likes. The site also displays a list of Facebook friends with upcoming birthdays and makes gift recommendations. Multi-channel retailers Seamless shopping can now cross channels. Facebook has always enabled innovative promotional opportunities on Facebook.com that drive traffic to retail sites. Now they have released a mobile Deals Page 9 of 10

10 product, enabling merchants to offer Facebook users deals as individuals, or together with friends, that are redeemed at brick and mortar stores is expected to be a breakout year for social commerce, bringing together the expertise of the retail and social ecosystems to deliver technologies, services and programs that impact the retail bottom line. About Gigya, Inc Gigya is a software-as-a-service technology that unifies the most popular identity and social providers including Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and LinkedIn and brings the features and benefits to corporate websites. Gigya enables businesses to deepen customer relationships and tap existing friend networks, driving social registrations, word-of-mouth at scale, and social interaction for websites and applications. In addition, Gigya provides analytics, best practices, consulting and support to optimize every implementation. Supporting more than 280 million users each month across more than 500,000 sites, Gigya s technology is the choice of global leaders in publishing and commerce including CBS, Fox Sports, Intuit, The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, and Turner Networks. Gigya is a leading company in the Social CRM market, which Gartner forecasts to reach $600 million this year. Page 10 of 10

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