Friending e-commerce

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Facebook's ubiquitous reach now extends into the social commerce arena
Facebook's ubiquitous reach now extends into the social commerce arena

Pantene, a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, uses Facebook to promote and test new hair products with its fans. On its Facebook page, the company has a “Make a Swisssh!” section, which includes photos of several women tossing their hair back and forth as part of the company's latest campaign — a pure branding initiative on Facebook. Fans can also use the page to share products with their friends and request a free sample through Pantene's e-commerce site. Pantene requires users to input information and “like” the company before offering hair care products.

Pantene's Facebook page also includes links, via posts, to an “eStore featuring P&G brands,” an online marketplace where customers can purchase Pantene and other P&G products, like Tide, Gillette and Pampers.

“We have been successful in getting fans to engage in conversation with us on Facebook, and now we are ready to make the link between social conversation platform and online purchasing,” says Chris Talbot, North America Pantene digital marketing manager. Talbot claims f-commerce is working for Pantene, and that he sees this strategy being stretched across other P&G brands in the future. “We saw Facebook as a platform where we could create demand for new launches, engage with interested hair care shoppers, give them a reason to buy,” he says.

In July, Talbot says, Pantene will truly test its f-commerce chops with the launch of a new collection of products, which will be marketed through Facebook wherein the social network will continue to be used as a driver for sales. So far, social sharing has been a big part of Pantene's f-commerce strategy, he says, and being agile in the future to get the most out of f-commerce will be crucial.

Fab.com's CMO, Scott Ballantyne, says Facebook has been a part of the company's strategy even before Fab.com launched — it was how the brand built a fan base before going live online. Given that sharing among friends is at the core of Fab.com's marketing strategy, it makes sense that social would take center stage.

Fab.com largely built its base on incentives and sharing. When a member invites someone to join Fab.com, he or she receives a $25 bonus if the invitee makes a Fab.com purchase within the next 30 days. Fab.com also relies heavily on high-end photographs to entice social buyers, something Timeline for Facebook allows marketers to do.

Ballantyne, previously CMO at Vonage, joined Fab.com in March to become the company's first global CMO and claims that about 50% of all of the website's members joined through Facebook. When Fab.com began focusing its efforts on f-commerce in January, its membership doubled from 1.8 million to 3.5 million during the first four months of 2012. When Timeline launched, enhancing sharing capabilities, Fab.com saw its “likes” nearly double, Ballantyne says.

“It's obviously a vehicle through which we're getting new members,” he adds. “It's also a place where people are sharing discoverable daily design. They go tell their Facebook friends, the circle starts again.”

Although Fab.com doesn't have a store directly on Facebook (and Ballantyne says they may never have one), social sharing is a crucial part of the company's overall strategy. “We're building a brand for decades to come,” he says, adding that they're playing the long game with f-commerce. Fab.com uses Facebook as a driver to its own e-commerce site, a form of f-commerce. “Our membership is growing,” he says. “We have a very loyal base.”

 

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