On its Facebook Wall this morning, 1-800-FLOWERS told its fans that it has launched a new shopping tab inside its Facebook Page so that fans can shop for flowers without leaving Facebook. As part of the launch, the site is offering a 10% discount off all orders made through its Facebook page.
I just tested out the feature and sent the a bouquet of flowers for a friend’s birthday. Once users select an item, they are taken through the standard online shopping steps: 1) Review your cart; 2) Enter shipping information; 3) Select payment option; and 4) Confirm and place order. The experience was not any different from your typical online shopping trip around the Web, and it all happened seamlessly within the frame.
With so many sites integrating with Facebook Connect these days and finding it a worthwhile endeavor, it’s definitely worth asking why 1-800-FLOWERS chose to create a standard shopping cart experience within its Facebook Page instead of leveraging Facebook’s social features or implementing Facebook Connect on its site. While the tab does provide page fans with an easy and convenient next step to any of the call to actions posted on the Wall, it doesn’t take advantage of Facebook’s viral potential. For example, after placing my order, I wasn’t given the option to share my purchase on the News Feed (or send a virtual gift as well).
Sure, there’s the argument that retail shopping sites may not always represent the most appropriate context for sharing information since users are often reluctant to broadcast their purchases to the world. But, in the case of flowers, there’s often a special occasion underlying the purchase, and we’ve seen that Facebook is a platform where users love to give shout-outs to friends and family on those days.
The Page admins are doing a good job sharing relevant content as far as we’ve seen. Weekly birthday giveaways have encouraged fans to post their friends’ birthdays, and fans have been coloring these posts with other tidbits. One fan posted: “My wonderful husband’s birthday is this week 7/10/1982. He’s amazing and sacrifices everyday for our family…”