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Shopping and socialising

Selling merchandise via social networking sites could maximise sales and minimise abandoned baskets

Many retailers and brands are using Facebook to interact with customers and improve their services, but the launch of an Asos shop on the Facebook platform demonstrates exactly how the site can be used to increase sales.

In the past 12 months retailers have tried several new initiatives on Facebook, such as adding the ‘like’ button to product pages or embedding the ‘Find us on Facebook’ tool to capture a new audience. However, while these show how brand awareness and customer reach can be rapidly increased via Facebook, young fashion etailer Asos is taking this to the next level - customers can buy directly from its Facebook page by logging in with their existing Asos login details.

Asos already has nearly 400,000 fans on Facebook, so this launch will reach a large audience. In addition, the site’s community element will allow for interaction between customers, incorporating comments and reviews into the buying process. Asos’s checkout on Facebook offers the same options as Asos’s site and customers also still have a search function for products.

Damian Hanson, chief executive of mobile and social commerce firm One Iota, thinks consumers are ready to shop on Facebook. “Consumers have no issue in spending money within Facebook - look at the success of social gaming services like Zynga. Retailers need to start turning social conversations into conversions by taking the shop to the customer in an environment in which they spend the majority of their spare time.”

He also expects the way consumers shop will differ - to the retailer’s advantage. “Shopping cart abandonment is a huge issue for retailers,” he says. “Within the Facebook experience, shoppers could ‘add to basket’ and check out later on, which raises the question: ‘When is a shopping experience truly abandoned?’ If implemented correctly, the answer is when the user stops using Facebook altogether. And that is very unlikely.”

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