Facebook Retail

by Deepak Sharma on Saturday, November 10, 2007

Facebook Retail, OK, that's a somewhat misleading (and populist) title for this post. Facebook is not entering Retail Space nor does it intend to (as far as I know). But Facebook provides a great platform for Retailers. Many like Wal-Mart and Target are already there engaging with the users and few have started putting up their shops on Facebook. For e.g. Zazzle is one such company which has launched an on-demand retail application on Facebook Platform.

The Zazzle Merch Store application lets Facebook users and commercial brands worldwide sell products with their own unique designs from their profiles and Facebook Pages. Each user can design their own products on Zazzle by simply uploading images, text, or designs, making them instantly available for sale in their Merch Store. Designs can be placed upon a wide variety of products including t-shirts, posters, cards, and fashion apparel. For example, users can design and sell any of the edun LIVE customizable fashion blank t-shirts that are socially conscious and ethically sourced available at Zazzle. In addition, through Zazzle's "Name Your Royalty" feature, users can name the price of their products and how much money they make through Zazzle's on-demand retail platform. There are no set-up fees and no inventory to stock. Users can also display Merch Stores they like, and even make money by listing merchandise from their favorite Zazzle artists and brands such as edun LIVE directly on their profiles.

According to HitWise Research, In August 2007, over 1,900 retailers received traffic from Facebook in UK.

Last month, over 1,900 retailers received traffic from Facebook. Our data shows the site is an increasingly important source of traffic for online retailers like Amazon, ASOS, Ebay and Play.

Facebook attracts an older (a third of its users are aged over 35) and more affluent audience than the other major social networks. Wherever consumers congregate they inevitably talk about brands, and Facebook is no exception. Companies can't have their own page on Facebook, but communities can be, and often are, created around brands.

With 52 Million users and an ever increasing user base of 200,000 users per day, every retailer should be preparing their Facebook strategy. Also, Facebook recently launched Facebook Ads, an ad system that enables people to provide trusted referrals to their friends and helps businesses to spread information through the social graph and communicate with their customers in completely new ways.

Facebook Ads includes three parts: a way for businesses to build pages on Facebook to connect with its audience; an ad system that facilitates the spread of brand messages virally through Facebook Social Ads(TM); and an interface to gather insights into people's activity on Facebook that marketers care about. On other websites, Facebook Beacon provides a way for users to choose to share their activities with their friends on Facebook. Landmark partners are implementing the fullest set of offerings from Facebook Ads.

"We have consistently explored new ways to reach our target audience with a compelling brand experience," said Carol Kruse, vice president, global interactive marketing, The Coca-Cola Company. "With Facebook Ads, our brands can become a part of the way users communicate and interact on Facebook."

The Coca-Cola Company will feature its Sprite brand on a new Facebook Page and will invite users to add an application to their account called "Sprite Sips." People will be able to create, configure and interact with an animated Sprite Sips character. For consumers in the United States, the experience can be enhanced by entering a PIN code found under the cap of every 20 oz. bottle of Sprite to unlock special features and accessories. The Sprite Sips character provides a means for interacting with friends on Facebook. In addition, Sprite will create a new Facebook Page for Sprite Sips and will run a series of Social Ads that leverage Facebook's natural viral communications to spread the application across its user base.

I would assume we should soon see Retailers diverting some dollars from Google/Yahoo/Microsoft ads to Facebook Ads. Social Networking sites like Facebook provides a great platform for businesses to get closer to their customers, so to say, in a more social manner.