Something interesting is happening on Facebook. The big brands are not only joining in droves, but are creating stores from which to sell their wares.
When I first saw that P&G had launched not one, but six, Facebook stores, I screamed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
But then I read that they’re not using the stores to sell; rather to glean customer insight. Sure they’ll sell products there, but that’s not their main goal.
That made me feel better. Here we’re talking constantly about not relying a platform you don’t own and then one of the biggest brands in the world slaps us in the face.
Turns out, they agree.
P&G f-commerce is less about sales, and more about creating a “Live Learning Lab” for the business to learn about consumers, customer centricity, and e-commerce.
The story in Social Commerce Today says P&G are doing three things with the Facebook stores:
- Customer Insight. The Facebook stores are powered by eStore, itself a collaborative effort between P&G, Resource Interactive, and PFSWeb.
- Customer Convenience. CEO Bob McDonald has provided a clear rationale for the P&G foray into eCommerce, stating that customer convenience – being where customers want to shop – is key: “We want to maximise our sales through retailers but we also want to be where the consumer wants to shop.” By improving customer convenience and thus customer centricity, P&G f-commerce may have a brand-building effect – the store is polite, courteous and respectful to customers. Would you respect someone who made you march over to them to do business?
- eCommerce Experience. P&G spokeswoman Tonia Elrod states the new Facebook stores will help P&G not only better understand consumers, but also provide the the business with experience-based accelerated learning about eCommerce. “Social-network selling is an extension of our overall focus on innovation and brand building… We expect testing commerce via social networks like Facebook will help us accelerate e-commerce growth as consumers buy more of our categories online.”
The interesting thing is that P&G is doing something many, many companies (including some clients) are scared to death to do: They’re bypassing their retailers and going direct to consumer. Sure, McDonald is careful to say they’re still doing business with their retailers, but the truth of the matter is they’re going direct to consumer, which is the Golden Ticket.
But this doesn’t have to be just for big brands. While it’s not through eStore, we have a tab on the Arment Dietrich Facebook wall that allows you to buy our books and webinars. We’re certainly not a big brand.
What I love most, though? Selling through Facebook gives you several opportunities, no matter if you’re B2B, B2C, or service-based.
Just like P&G, you can glean customer insights. You can go direct to the customer, which is ideal in some B2B sales. And you can sell online (which means 24/7, 365 days a year) without having to build an eCommerce site.
How will you use social commerce?