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June 30, 2011
Facebook eCommerce: The Data Says 'Go Viral'
 
Make Your Store Go Viral
Most businesses launching stores on Facebook are failing to make the most of its viral nature. Quite simply, they don’t have the social tools required to do it. This results in lost opportunities and ultimately lost sales.
 
Launching a Facebook shopping cart simply gets a merchant in the game. The goal should be to make a store go viral by getting customers to interact with posts and share details about the store or products.
 
The Power of “Share”
Data from VendorShop, a free Facebook shopping cart app, reveals interesting insights for vendors:
  1. 20% of shares convert to sales.
  2. People who share have an average of 193 Facebook friends — 50% more than an average Facebook user.
  3. Sharing increases by 50% if you offer an incentive such as a discount.
Just How Important is a “Like”?
Meanwhile, a new international survey by VendorShop and Dublin City University shows that a “like” doubles the willingness of a person to buy from a Facebook store. The survey, based on 250 responses to an online questionnaire, suggests that 37% of respondents would buy from a Facebook store. If they already “liked” the page this rockets to 62%.
 
Data released by Facebook and Eventbrite over recent months already shows the value of a “like” and this new research shows just how much of an impact it has on buyer behaviour. Trust has always been a key requirement of being successful with an online business, and that’s no different for a Facebook store. A “like” is simply another sign of trust displayed by a consumer, so, not surprisingly, it’s an important predictor of buying behavior. In fact, 20% of respondents indicated that security concerns were a reason for not buying. Meanwhile, 82% of people trusted a friend’s recommendation over company advertising.
 
The survey respondents were mainly from the U.S., UK, and Ireland and the results show that the U.S. F-commerce market is more developed than elsewhere. Some 35% of U.S. survey respondents were aware of Facebook stores, with 40% willing to buy from them. By contrast, the UK market is relatively under-developed, with just 26% awareness and only 35% open to buying from them. What’s more, the power of a “like” is less effective in the UK market, with the propensity to buy only increasing to 53% for people who had “liked” the business page.
 
The survey suggests that special offers and discounts are the most popular way to encourage people to make a purchase on Facebook. This mirrors other data from compete.com and IBM over the last 12 months that also illustrate the power of promotions and discounts in driving buyer behavior on Facebook.

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Chris Small is co-founder of VendorShop. VendorShop provides a free Facebook shopping cart app to over 15,000 businesses worldwide. Visit www.facebook.com/vendorshop or www.vendorshopsocial.com.
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