F-Commerce: 3rd Party Applications Vendor Selection Guide

Launching a Facebook Store is simple. As an individual or small business you can build a rudimentary store for free with services like www.facebook.com/payvment.

Larger companies and organisations, however, should consider more powerful implementations, primarily to personalise the customer’s experience and drive sales performance. There is little point in bespoke building Facebook store functionality, particularly when there are excellent applications available which are great value for money and can be configured easily.

Here is Valtech’s vendor checklist to help you evaluate 3rd party products and select the right product to support you in implementing successful F-Commerce initiatives:

Depth of Commerce Functionality – ability to provide sub-systems for selling online across multiple channels with easy to use tools for the management of catalogues, customers, discounts, orders (including fulfilment and returns) and reporting.

Editorial Control – ability to give business users the control of the layout of multiple sites/channels. Provide people with the power to change the layout of the commerce and other components and content on the page without needing intervention from software engineers.

• Authorisation – if you plan to sell a wide range of products, or operate multiple brands across dedicated Facebook store fronts, or differ propositions by country, then workflow controls to ensure that content changes are reviewed and authorised by the pertinent people before publishing are important.

• Personalisation – a personalisation engine that enables you to profile persona groups around Facebook criteria like categories and gender and to show personalised content to customer groups is really useful. The ability to utilise Facebook “social graph” unique user profile information and provide a personalised experience for each individual customer is also important.

Ease Of Use – editors will find it easier and more intuitive if they are able control content, layout and personalisation features of the Facebook application in situ in Facebook.

• Always Social – word of mouth recommendation is key to successful social commerce. Ability to automatically syndicate customer reviews from other web-sites directly onto your Facebook walls will drive the power of social commerce.

Measurement – inspect and adapt and do more of what works and learn from mistakes. Integrated ability to measure the effectiveness of your F-commerce personalisation strategies, choices and changes is essential.

Above all, however, remember that you do not need to unleash all the features at your fingers tips from day 1. You should be guided by what your customers need and roll out functionality accordingly. Selecting the right 3rd party product up-front will give you the confidence that you will be able to meet emergent need both quickly and well.

Like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/valtechuk) to get updates, news and best-practices from our experiences implementing our own F-Commerce shop.
by Jonathan Cook, Head of New Media at Valtech UK

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