Tuesday Jun 14, 2011

Marks & Spencer on Facebook

Father's Day is coming, and if you're in the UK you can surf to the Marks & Spencer Facebook page to get some gift ideas. There, Zibaba has created a storefront showing lots of products appropriate for dads.  You can browse the products and "like" the ones that stand out.  If you click on the "shop now" button, you'll be taken the product page on the Marks & Spencer e-commerce site.

It seems the page can be easily updated for future events, so Father's Day is probably just the beginning.  Although Zibaba claims to handle orders, M&S decided to send the customer to their e-commerce site to add the product to the cart.  I guess this reduces the need for integration, and also allows the customer to purchase additional products not shown on the Facebook page.

I'm just not sure their 300,000 fans will really use the page.  Recreating a shopping page within Facebook just doesn't seem to attract shoppers.  If you want to catch up with friends, visit Facebook; if you want to shop online, visit e-commerce sites.  The best way to engage shoppers in a social setting is to post to their walls.  Even when I liked a product on the M&S page, I didn't see anything in my newsfeed.

Facebook isn't a place for shopping -- its a place for conversations.  And yes, some of the conversations can be about shopping, but that is better suited for the newsfeed.  I just don't think M&S hit the mark with their Facebook page, but I guess time will tell.

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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