Retailers Could Generate Direct Sales with Facebook Collections

Oct 10, 2012 11:08 PM  By

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Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
O+F Operations and Fulfillment

Retailers involved in the recently launched Facebook “Collections” could see a boost in sales, according to Stephen Bulger, marketing manager for eFulfillment Service.

“I believe this is the most appealing offer that Facebook has released to date,” Bulger wrote in an email.

According to a statement issued by Facebook, Collections allows users to engage with certain products by either “liking,” “collecting” or “wanting” a specific item. A new “Buy” link is now visible, which when clicked, sends users offsite for purchase.

So far, according to Reuters, Facebook “does not receive a fee when someone purchases a wishlist item on Facebook from a retailer’s site.”

Bulger wrote in an email, “Not only does Collections make retail purchasing more social, but when compared to what Facebook currently offers retailers, I believe that Collections is more likely to generate direct sales because it is capable of tying specific products to a user, instead of simply tying that user to the brand.”

To date only seven retailers have taken part in Collections, including Pottery Barn, Wayfair.com, Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Smith Optics, and Fab.com.

Collections comes just on the heels of the Facebook Gifts program, which launched last month and allows registered Facebook users to send gifts to friends through a birthday reminder notification or from a friend’s timeline.

Collections, Bulger said, could become even more appealing if Facebook allowed retailers to advertise to specific users at specific times.

“For instance, if, as a retailer, I could advertise “wanted” products to my fan’s friends with a message that says, “Jessica’s birthday is next month…here’s what’s on her wish list!,” that’s something I could really get behind,” Bulger said in an email.

But will this new venture by Facebook finally get users to open their wallets? That all depends, according to Bulger, “A challenge as I see it is the method by which Facebook will be able to notify a user’s friends that a “wanted” item has been purchased,” Bulger wrote.

“If I don’t check my news feed for a day, and the next day I see that one of my friends wants a set of pillows from Pottery Barn, how do I know that one of her other friends didn’t already buy them for her,” he wrote.

Erin Lynch is the associate editor at Multichannel Merchant. Erin can be reached at 203-358-3755 or by emailing her at erin.lynch@penton.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @LynchMCM or on LinkedIn.