Facebook Apps Can Provide Ecommerce Solutions
Boost your sales with a “like”
Facebook applications have become so diversified that they can serve purposes other than simply promoting your products. Ecommerce websites can provide your customers the ease of shopping online but Facebook e-commerce applications can help your customers make buying decisions in a socially influenced virtual environment.
You can either create a catalogue app that lists your products but links back to your ecommerce website or you can create a transaction app that allows the customer to make the purchase there and then.
1. Rules of Engagement:
Facebook is a social networking experience in a virtual world. The number one rule is to keep your customer engaged with your brand. Facebook applications can add that interactivity that isolated e-commerce websites may not. Facebook eCommerce apps can present your online shop in a fun way and grab your customer when he is most willing to accept friends’ opinions and be influenced by your brand ambassadors.
For example, Sensa Weight Loss has a Facebook app for online shoppers. The app is not only designed well, but it provides a lot of meaningful choices to the buyer such as taking recommendations from friends, sharing products on their Timelines and other social platforms as well. A recurrent “like” button also reminds customers to take an action if they find the product praise-worthy.
Take-away: Sensa Weight Loss’ eCommerce app lets users ‘get advice from friends’ showing that Sensa truly understands what an app on Facebook means to its fans.
2. Exclusive Shopping:
You need to understand the difference between an eCommerce website and an eCommerce app, not just technically but how your customers behave on each. On an eCommerce website, there is more room to spare so you can show your entire range of products with ease. On a Facebook eCommerce app, don’t make the mistake of overloading the customer with a lot of products on the first page. It will only make them run away. Research on what your customers talk about the most on Facebook or what their recent demands are and then curate your eCommerce app to show them exactly what they want.
For example, Penguin Books has an app that shows “Daily Deal”. The app presents one book out of the thousands of Penguin Books available and captures your attention immediately. It then shows the date and time when the daily deal will be available and lists eBook websites where you can take advantage of it.
Take-away: Penguin Books takes out the time to select one book and shows its readers that it really cares about their choices.
3. Reward for Using Facebook:
When your customers “like” your Facebook page and become a fan, they expect something in return. If you’re using a Facebook eCommerce app, it is always a good idea to reward your fans by giving them special discounts. After all, they are promoting your brand every time they like or comment on your post and giving you space in their friends’ News Feeds!
For example, Natural Body Inc. sells its products in a catalogue-like app and shows discounted prices along with original prices so Facebook fans know exactly how much they are benefiting. Even though the design of the app is very simple, the message is very clear: use the app and you get to save money. A counter at the top lists how many items you have in your shopping bag and the total amount you will be spending on them.
Take-away: Natural Body Inc. shows that it values its Facebook fans and wants them to keep coming back to their page just to use their Facebook Store app.
4. What do they think?
Letting your customers know that their opinion matters and that you care about their thoughts on your products shows that a brand truly wants to serve its customers. Feedback is crucial for any brand to recognize how it can improve on its products. Facebook eCommerce apps provide a very easy way to get this feedback: in the form of Facebook likes and comments. Within the app, you can simply add a space for your customers to put their thoughts in and share with you as well as other customers.
For example, Freeline Sports Europe’s eCommerce app sports two items with dedicated spaces and provides the user with a comment box so they can put in their product reviews right there. What a great way to make your consumers talk about you!
Take-away: Freeline Sports provides a privilege to its fans by adding a simple comment box and shows its own confidence in its products. This also increases the impressions their products make on Facebook.
5. The Bandwagon Effect:
This is a simple technique but can work wonders for your products. In an eCommerce app for Facebook, showing a simple counter for the number of people who have ‘liked’ the item creates an influence on the buyer’s decision process. This may be a small addition to your app but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a recommendation. The ‘likes’ counter may give your hesitant customer the final push they need to add the item to their shopping cart.
For example, Road Runner Sports has added a Facebook like counter and a tweet button with each product to show the popularity of the item. You can browse by category and by price and within the list prioritise by the number of times the product was praised.
Take-away: When making an ecommerce app for Facebook, you have to realise that the essence of the social network should not be lost and with simple techniques like Road Runner’s, it shouldn’t be so hard.
Always think about how you can add value to your application. Again, keep in mind that Facebook is a virtual social experience where people expect to interact with their friends and enjoy their time. If your app appears too boring or too static, your fan will switch to doing something else. To keep them engaged, add something ‘extra’ to your app depending on your brand’s personality such as a punch-line with each product, a celebrity endorsement message, a fun fact your customers may not know, a unique way of using your product etc.
Facebook eCommerce apps provide great room for interactivity and networking that websites and brick-and-mortar presences may not be able to achieve. When creating an app to boost sales through Facebook, engage your customers, give them exclusive product listings catered to their wants, reward them for using the app, ask for their feedback and show them if their friends like the same product.
Nabiha Zeeshan is a social media addict currently loving her job at Cygnis Media. She spends her leisure time researching on social media trends and consumer psychology. Follow her @NabihaZeeshan