Six months ago Kembrel, an online discount retailer serving college students, augmented its Facebook page with some promotional features and a shopping cart. Those changes now drive 20 percent of the company's sales, with a "lift" of up to 10 percent on order value compared to Kembrel's eCommerce Web site, according to an article in CIO magazine.
"Social promotion technology is becoming a very important customer acquisition and retention enabler," Kembrel founder Cherif Habib to CIO. "Shopping is often a social activity in the physical world, so it is only natural that it is becoming much more social online."
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In related news, JCPenney announced this week that customers will be able to purchase items directly from the company’s Facebook fan page, without having to click through to JCPenney.com, according to Retail TouchPoints, which goes on to note that "In July 2009, 1-800-Flowers.com became the first retailer to launch a Facebook storefront, enabling shoppers to purchase items directly from the retailer’s fan page. In February 2010, the florist announced the capability for Facebook fans to purchase items directly from its news feed (the community aspect of the page) without leaving the page."
Retail TouchPoints notes that "while small- to mid-sized retailers have leveraged technologies like Ecwid, Milyoni and Payvment to drive purchases within their Facebook pages, JCPenney is one of the first leading retailers to leverage a fully functional Facebook storefront.
"JCPenney’s new integration will support a full eCommerce experience within the retailer’s Facebook page, including add-to-cart and checkout, among other key functionalities. By utilizing the 'Shop' tab on JCPenney’s Facebook page, users can search all products currently included in JCPenney’s product pages. Shoppers also can 'Like' and share items and purchases with their friends within the community.
"Usablenet, the solution provider powering JCPenney’s Facebook eCommerce application, anticipates that 10% of its retailer clientele will be using the application by the end of 1Q 2011."
Apparel and fashion retailers have indicated an increased interest in the new capability, according to Jason Taylor, VP Product Strategy, Usablenet. "Our clients want to be where their customers are,” Taylor told Retail TouchPoints. “They want to have all different views of products and information optimized for not only on Facebook, but for various other channels.”