Facebook Monopoly: Retail Edition

Facebook

Facebook is currently testing out its newest feature: the “buy” button. Although it is only on a preliminary basis at the moment, many believe it to be the new frontier in online retail. With a respectable sample size of 1.28 billion active users and 40+ million business pages registered, should this feature become standard it would make Facebook the largest and most data-rich retailer on the internet.

facebook monopoly pic

Photo Courtesy of dashburst.com

How it works:

Facebook will be implementing their “buy” button for a select bunch of small-to-medium sized businesses. The way this works is that the user will store their card information on file with Facebook and by doing so, they will never have to worry about filling in all of the checkout fields again. Of course, the option to check out without storing your card information is still available for those fearful of security breaches. The simplicity of clicking the buy button, and once more to confirm the order (pending that you’ve stored your card information), is believed to help with higher conversion rates of purchases.

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The more steps in the purchasing funnel (i.e. going off page, filling out credit card information, etc), the more likely a consumer is to change his/her mind. This is what makes the simplicity of Facebook’s retail premise so enticing: it couldn’t be easier and you never leave the comfort and familiarity of your own news feed. In addition, if the buy button can prove to be successful at raising conversion rates, it would make advertisements on Facebook even more valuable and prices would inflate, causing the social media site to become an all-intensive money making machine.

Evolution of the buy button:

The buy button as it is currently used has evolved from several other sample features that Facebook has rolled out since 2012. First, was the “collect” button which worked much the way pinning does on Pinterest. By collecting items from your news feed, it created a wish list on user profiles that had a buy button directing you offsite to a point of purchase.

collect button

Next, Facebook started introducing an auto-fill feature in an attempt to increase conversion. It memorized credit card information and would auto-fill in the offsite that traffic was directed to, in order to assist in the purchasing process.

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Finally, Facebook issued the “donate now” button which took pledges for various nonprofit organizations. This feature collected credit card and billing information to assist with the auto-fill, and also included a pop-up window that allowed you to remain onsite rather than being directed to a new window.

donate now button facebook

Competition:

Although this buy button is merely in a testing phase for a select sample of small-to-medium sized businesses, people are not hesitating to speculate about how Facebook as a retailer will measure up to an already established online retailer like Amazon.

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Amazon has an active user base (those who have made a purchase within the past 12 months) of 244 million people that contributed to $67.9 billion in sales in 2013. That’s 49.6 billion more than the second largest online retailer, Apple (who sold $18.3 billion in 2013, largely due to their iTunes sales). Those numbers are staggering, but with over five times the amount of active users, a simplified checkout process and the potential for impulse purchases lurking within each one of our news feeds, Facebook may prove to be a true contender in the e-commerce market going forward.

Casting for a Bigger Reach

So your business has a Facebook page, a Twitter account and even a Google+ page…but do you podcast?

Have you ever thought about adding a podcast to your marketing strategy? This is a fantastic way to reach a number of people that might not have been aware of you and your business. Starting up a podcast is easier than you might think. Other than a recording device, the most important aspect of starting up a podcast is coming up with pre-determined topics you want to talk about. Without at least an outline of material to talk about, you might start rambling off the topic or the dreaded “ahhhs” and “uhhhs” start coming out, which will quickly turn off listeners.

After you have come up with the topics, the next thing you will need is a recording device, obviously! But there is no need to go out and buy an expensive audio set up, you can simply use your phone to record your podcast. Make sure you are in an area that won’t have distractions and turn your phone to Airplane mode for the recording so that phone calls and texts will not be recorded.

Having someone co-host with you helps alleviate the nervousness you might get by being able to banter with them. Another great thing about a co-host is that they also can help keep you on track if you start rambling off topic. While there is also no minimum time limit for each podcast, try and stick with a general time length. If you usually record thirty minute podcasts, then going over or under by a few minutes won’t be too big of a deal. But if you happen to record one that is ninety minutes when your listeners are used to thirty minutes, it might turn them off. If you do have a ton of information on a topic, try breaking it up into a mini-series of podcasts or at least let your listeners know that this one will be longer than usual.

When you are all finished recording and are happy with it, all you have to do is publish it through to the web. Using iTunes is the most popular platform, but there are other options available. WordPress is another popular platform that also happens to be free. Do some research and find out which platform suits your needs and skill level.

So what are the benefits of adding a podcast into your marketing campaign? I’m glad you asked

  • It is easy to download so your customers can listen to it at their convenience.
  • It is one more way to personalize your brand to your customers.
  • If you are doing a “How-to” session and giving instructions, a podcast allows them to work while listening instead of referencing a sheet of paper or computer.
  • It’s a great way to reinforce topics discussed on your website, Facebook page or blog.
  • It allows you to talk about subjects that would be too lengthy to post online.

Have you ever hosted a podcast? Do you listen to podcasts?