screenshot 300x220 Why its important to set up a Facebook storeBusinesses are investing significant financial and human resources into building their Facebook presence and engaging with fans. But while Facebook is undoubtedly an important marketing channel, many businesses are now grappling with how they can turn it into an effective sales channel too.

One solution is to enable businesses to buy your products directly from your Facebook page. According to Compete.com, 68% of people become fans of retail pages to keep up to date on sales and promotions, so it’s a logical step to allow them to purchase products on the page too. Indeed some businesses are seeing as much as 20% of overall online sales coming via their Facebook stores and higher cart values as well.

There is a compelling argument for businesses to consider a Facebook social commerce strategy. And
we are starting to see that play out as more and more businesses are recognising that they can make
Facebook pay by adding a Facebook shopping cart app to their business page. The apps add
a ‘shop’ tab to your business page and the best take just minutes to add and don’t require you to register with a website or your customers to accept the application when they shop in your store.

The popularity of Facebook is continuing to rise, having recently overtaken Google as the most visited
website. In fact, a typical user spends more than 14 minutes per day on Facebook. However shopping on Facebook is still new, so it is important not only to make commerce a social part of the interaction with your fans, but to use the wall as your shop window and actively promote your products, promotions and indeed the shop tab itself.

While some may expect that it is businesses with large fan bases that are having all the success, small
businesses of all types and sizes are doing really well too. A good example is Silver Kandi, a jewelry store based in Australia.  And while they have just over 800 fans, they regularly receive several orders a day through their Facebook shop.

41787 175518905795400 7162911 n Why its important to set up a Facebook storeIt’s also amazing to see the different types of products that businesses are selling via their Facebook shopping cart app. You will find shops selling specialty BBQ sauces, charity donations, tickets for gigs, merchandise, shoes and baby products. One store, Chile Monster sells thousands of dollars a month of chiles!

Social commerce is set to be a key revenue driver for businesses selling online over the coming year. According to Mike Murphy, Vice President of Global Sales for Facebook, “There’s a lot of page-building happening with the functionality to allow shopping inside Facebook.”

And Christine Baldwell of leading UK technology analysis firm, Ovum said in a recent interview, “It definitely shouldn’t be regarded as a fad… social commerce offers good sales potential for 2011 and will be the big story in retail technology.”

As more and more businesses allow the social networking space to become a social commerce location, it’s only natural that small business as well as big will benefit hugely. But only time will tell, so watch this space as they say.