Many retailers are considering whether or not to develop a Facebook store. If that's you, you’ll be in good company as brands big and small, including ASOS and 1-800-Flowers as well BabyandmeGifts.com, livescribe and ettitude have all seen the advantages of Facebook e-commerce.
In this post we provide an overview of 4 of the most popular e-commerce apps for Facebook. These apps represent four different approaches to trading on Facebook, namely:
- A downloadable app that allows you to transact within your existing Facebook presence (see Pavyment)
- A catalog application that organizes your products, but links back to your existing online store (see Storefront Social)
- An integrated e-commerce platform that includes extensions to include Facebook commerce (see BigCommerce)
- A bespoke development environment for Facebook commerce (see 8th Bridge)
Payvment seems to be the clear leader with over 60,000 stores already active on the platform. It is free, easy to install and just requires some basic information, shipping, tax, products etc and you are on our way. HTML customisation is limited to the product pages, but the app is easy to install and add your products
Payments are via Paypal, as well as Visa, Mastercard and Amex, and allows your fans to checkout and pay from within Facebook. Products are loaded by CSV and you can have a Featured Product (either automatic or manual selection) on the home page. This free beta appears to be a robust, trusted and reliable solution and with a comprehensive features list.
Example store: Orglamix Cosmetics
2. Storefront Social
Storefront Social looks to be a promising system, its most appealing feature is that it can take products from an RSS feed, which should make it easy to setup with any decent e-commerce system. It’s available for a monthly fee, starting from $9.95 a month. Clicking on a product within the Facebook store then takes you to your online store.
This is not true Facebook e-commerce, but may be suitable for those who want to promote their products on Facebook (users can share/tweet the products direct from the app) whilst still using their online store to handle orders and payments. Again, customisation seems to be limited, with only a choice of templates to alter the layout of the products and a banner image of your choice. For more details on the features click here
Example store: Livescribe
BigCommerce is a online platform with an option to sell via your Facebook page. Like Storefront Social, clicks on the product page on your Facebook store take you back to the main e-commerce site - running on the BigCommerce platform. This will suit some retailers who want one e-commerce environment to use to trade on Ebay, Facebook as well as act as standalone e-commerce operation.
Example store: BabyandMeGifts
4. 8th Bridge
8th Bridge is another company offering what appears to be a good rival but has no real details of its service offering. They ask that merchants to contact them to discuss requirements. This system also allows checking out and paying from within Facebook. From what we've seen the platform appears to be Flash-based which could be off-putting for some. It's a shame there's not more information to make a better comparison with the other apps.
Example store: 1-800 Flowers
These apps represent the four approaches that could be taken to developing a Facebook store. In our opinion, many retailers should be testing the appeal of Facebook commerce to their fans and customers. For this reason, we believe a full test of a Facebook store, with integration into a payment gateway, beats simply mounting a catalogue of your products with a link back to your existing online store. That's why we favour using apps like Pavyment to get the full experience of Facebook e-commerce.
If you have any quesitons, please leave a comment below or contact us.