Why would a CPG brand add an e-commerce application to its Facebook page?
To sell of course, buy why? For travel brands such as Delta, adding an e-commece app to Facebook makes sense – it provides a convenient additional booking channel with enhanced social features such as group-booking. For fashion brands such as 7 for all Mankind, an e-commerce app on Facebook makes sense too because fashion is an eminently social category; a social sales channel boosts the word of mouth reach and reputation of the brand.
But what of consumer packaged goods – the grocery brands we buy in supermarkets and very rarely from the brand itself?
There are two reasons why CPG brands should consider adding e-commerce apps to their Facebook page:
1. Drive awareness and trial with smart online sampling campaigns for new products. Sampling is a staple, proven and highly effective marketing technique in CPG, it boosts trial – the key hurdle to adoption – and if done correctly it creates word of mouth awareness for new products, which can boost advertising effectiveness. Sampling companies such as Bzzagent and TRND make a healthy living out of running sampling campaigns in the CPG industry.
The advantage for CPG brands of adding an e-commerce app to their Facebook page is that they can run self-financing online sampling campaigns for new products, sometimes called ‘tryvertising.’ By charging the consumer at least for the shipping, brands not only cover costs, they also get an effective self-selecting solution for targeted sampling; only the consumers who want the sample, and are likely to talk about, order the samples.
2. Drive advertising effectiveness with a fan merchandise store. Go to the Old Spice store on Facebook and you can’t buy Old Spice, but what you can buy is campaign merchandise from their successful Smell Like a Man campaign. By using e-commerce app on Facebook to offer fans campaign merchandise, you give fans a reason to talk about the brand – and this word of mouth can boost advertising effectiveness.
The key difference for CPG brands, is that e-commerce apps on Facebook are not typically used to establish a new permanent sales channel, which can be a political hot potato in channel management, but are used to run campaigns around product launches and advertising campaigns through popup shops that either sample new products or offer campaign merchandise to fans.
Of course, adding an e-commerce app to a Facebook page is just one way CPG brands can use Facebook for social commerce; for brands with their own retail channel – online or offline – there is the opportunity to use the Facebook open graph and social plugins to socialise, and thereby enhance, the shopping experience at the point of sale. For example, Nestlé has launched an e-commerce site in Europe called ‘Nestlé Marktplatz‘ that allows people to login with their Facebook credentials and share shopping activity with their friends.
In addition to Nestlé’s initiative, here are four other examples of CPG brands doing Facebook commerce right;