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May 2, 2011
Making Facebook Pay (Off)
 
Businesses are investing significant financial and human resources into building their Facebook presences and engaging with fans. Increasingly, businesses are looking to turn the conversation into conversion and make Facebook pay.
 
There is a compelling argument for businesses to consider a Facebook social commerce strategy. According to Compete.com, 68% of people become fans of retail pages to keep up to date on sales and promotions, so it’s a logical step to allow them to purchase products on the page too.  
 
Indeed, the popularity of Facebook is continuing to rise, having recently overtaken Google as the most used website and a typical user spending more than 55 minutes per day on it. So it’s really just a matter of time before Facebook becomes a major shopping channel. Already the top brands on Facebook have stores where their “fans” can buy directly from their pages—Starbucks, JC Penney, and even Delta Airlines have all launched stores on Facebook. With social shopping cart applications from businesses such as VendorShop anyone can open a store on Facebook.
 
Shopping on Facebook is new, but a recent survey conducted by VendorShop found that 62% of people would make a purchase from a business they had “liked” on Facebook. And businesses of all sizes, not just the big brands, are picking up on this and making Facebook pay by opening a store there.
 
A good example is Chile Monster; based in the United States, they sell all things chile to people and businesses from all over the U.S. from their Facebook store. Yet when they started, they had just a few thousand “likes.” There are lots more examples across all sorts of industries—clothing, jewelry, tickets, and even donations are being taken directly on Facebook.
 
Social commerce is set to be a key revenue driver for businesses selling online over the coming year. According to Mike Murphy, Vice President of Global Sales for Facebook, "there's a lot of page-building happening with the functionality to allow shopping inside Facebook.” Christine Baldwell, of leading UK technology-analysis firm Ovum, said in a recent interview, “It definitely shouldn’t be regarded as a fad…social commerce offers good sales potential for 2011 and will be the big story in retail technology.”
 
More and more businesses are recognizing that they can make Facebook pay by adding a Facebook shopping cart app to their Facebook business page. So, as they say, let’s watch this space.

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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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