Attorney Tamina Madsen wanted a career change after several stressful years working as a litigator. She decided to start an online store using Payvment, Facebook's social-commerce platform.
Madsen is not alone in her decision to make Facebook her primary sales channel. Many small businesses have used the platform to sell products, due to the growth of the social network as a personal and professional destination. Small business owners see it as a one-stop-shop, where they can both promote and sell their products. Their customers don't have to leave familiar Facebook ground. Businesses also can set up a storefront in about an hour.
There are some downsides to building your e-commerce site exclusively within Facebook. But for many merchants, the rewards far outweigh the risks.
Madsen started College Hautees in August 2011 on a tight startup budget. There was no room in the budget to design a traditional e-commerce store or flashy website. Like many retailers, Madsen finds that her core demographic (18- to 35-year-old females) spends a lot of time on Facebook.
As you contemplate whether a Facebook commerce path is right for you, it helps to understand how advertising works on Facebook. You can fine-tune your storefront by putting a small investment toward targeting your ads.
College Hautees purchases highly targeted Facebook advertisements aimed at women who are college sports fans and are interested in fashion. Madsen believes women who see her Facebook ads are more likely to engage with them if they direct to a landing page within Facebook, rather than to an outside website. This strategy leads to increased click-through rates.
Once a potential customer lands on Madsen's Facebook page, "likes" the page and interacts with it, College Hautees can continue to market to that customer for free. (It still costs time and effort, but no additional advertising costs.)
If small brands like College Hautees are having great experiences selling on Facebook, why have some large brands struggled to make Facebook commerce (or F-commerce) work?
There’s a big difference between building a website and building a social-commerce site. Web pages tend to be static and about the merchant, not about the consumer or the social conversation that's taking place. Most big brands have not engaged in a way that speaks to the social fabric of community.
This is partly my opinion, but other writers have called out this deficiency. A Bloomberg piece hints at some of the challenges for big brands.
Selling through Facebook will continue to grow as small businesses find ways to engage their fans. Merchants are figuring out how to balance the walk between social commerce and social media.
How are you using Facebook commerce in your online marketing outreach?
Photo credit: Payvment