Should You Run an E-Commerce Store on Facebook?

kathryn by Kathryn Hawkins on May 11, 2011
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These days, almost every company has a Facebook page. And while Facebook can be a great place to announce events, sales, and daily specials, is it really the best platform to use when it comes to actually selling your products?

Generally, it’s a good idea to go where the market is. If you know your base is using Facebook — and 540 million people are, so it’s pretty likely—you might consider starting a Facebook shop. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you do.

1)   Take advantage of social shopping. Facebook offers the opportunity for fans to “like,” “share,” and comment on your products, so be sure to turn on these features in your online storefront. This will encourage shoppers to send their favorite product listings to their friends, and a discussion about a particular item that takes off could boost sales significantly. You can also send out private product announcements and special promotions to all of your fans using Facebook’s new “Send” button.

2)    Build a secure online shopping environment. If you sell products through Facebook, you want to make sure your customers feel comfortable with the transaction. Ensure that you’re using a secure and trusted e-commerce vendor, and let your customers complete the entire transaction through Facebook without having to bounce over to your business’ website.

3)   Differentiate your Facebook shop from your website shop. Give customers a reason to check out your Facebook shop by offering special “Fan-only” promotions or occasional product giveaways. Even though you may feel like you have more control over your consumers when they visit your site directly, hooking them on your Facebook shop gives them more incentive to share your product listings with their friends, so focus on making it an attractive shopping option.

4)   Take a lesson from brands that have been there. Before setting up an e-commerce shop on Facebook, pay attention to other brands’ Facebook shops and take note of what they’re doing wrong or right so that you have a good idea of what to incorporate into your own version. Companies like Victoria’s Secret, TOMS Shoes, and 1-800 FLOWERS have strong Facebook storefronts — check out Mashable’s article to learn more about what they’re doing.

Have you created a Facebook e-commerce page? What advice would you share with fellow business owners? Also check out Inc., which has more information about how to go about setting up a Facebook shop.

kathryn

Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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