“This thing is going to catch fire and you can either be the bellows or sit and be a spectator,” said Payvment’s co-founder and chief brand officer Joelle Musante of Facebook commerce, or F-commerce.
Payvment is the leading social commerce provider on Facebook that provides brands — including Vivienne Westwood; Gibson Guitars; Molly Sims’ jewelry line, Grayce, and Lakers Nation — with an application they can use so they can sell right on the site. In an interview a week after the forum, Musante clarified that when she speaks of social commerce she is specifically talking about social media, not putting a Facebook button on a branded dot-com.
This story first appeared in the October 20, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“That’s e-commerce, not a two-way conversation,” she said of branded Web sites. “People try to take their dot-com and turn it into Facebook and vice versa. The two are mutually exclusive, and they are separate channels. Your social media is your marketing tool, and it’s [Facebook] a place where you can have an ongoing two way conversation.”
Musante elaborated: A social page can, and should, be moderated on a regular basis, as it’s the closest to a brick-and-mortar experience that one can get in the digital realm. Customers can ask a question, they can ask a friend a question, they can share or even start a poll — and two users can even be looking at the same thing.
And while she maintains that each of the five practices detailed in her presentation have “enough weight to stand on their own,” if she had to stress the most important one, it would be merchandising one’s Facebook store. The others are building conversation into the shopping experience, making your Facebook store your default tab, enabling social discovery and social promotion.
“If I’m shopping on your Facebook store — and the experience is lackluster, I’m going to tell people it’s lackluster,” Musante said, adding that brands are looking for other people, specifically tastemakers in their groups, to broadcast and talk about their product and drive traffic to their page.
“You want to give them every opportunity to tell other users how cool they think the brand is because, most likely, they’re the tastemaker in their group. These are the people you’re catering to, so it’s important that you don’t make it hard for them. You give tastemakers every opportunity to share your product and the discussion that they’ve started, whether this is on Facebook or Twitter. It’s all about the conversation. The holy grail of social media is to turn people from lurkers to advocates. That’s always been the idea behind a fan page.”
Brands must also take the time to keep their pages fresh — and change up the merchandise as frequently as possible.
Musante said that building conversation is paramount in providing customers with the best F-commerce experience possible. Internet users have become accustomed to instantaneous conversation and instant messaging — and if there’s a customer asking a question or making a statement, someone from the company must be on hand to reply or offer the necessary assistance.
She believes that Payvment has created a solution that allows for true social engagement, which means that users can shop across all Facebook stores and check out just once.
“It gives the shopper a better social opportunity and allows for multibrand shopping with just one purchase,” Musante said. “It’s a virtual mall. It’s more of a Facebook experience, as opposed to a nonsocial experience on a dot-com.”