Beetailer is a new service that allows ecommerce merchants to import their website’s store to a tab on their Facebook Page. Users can add items to a shopping cart, and are directed back to the merchant’s site for checkout. Backed by Y Combinator, Beetailer includes advanced functionality such as Like-gated discounts and promotions, scheduled wall posts about products, and analytics.
Beetailer is currently only available on a freemium basis to merchants using ecommerce platforms by Shopify and Magento, but if it expands its potential client base by adding other APIs, manual product adding, catalog CSV uploading or store scraping, it could become a serious competitor to Facebook ecommerce frontrunner Payvment and outpace other solutions with less polished interfaces.
To use Beetailer, merchants add its application to whichever Pages they want to show their store on. They enter their web store’s URL and Beetailer imports all of their products. Admins can manage their store through a Shopify app or Magento extension, allowing them reorder and categorize their products into tabs and lists, offer different social sharing options, and allow users to submit comments which can be synced and displayed on a merchant’s website.
Beetailer also offers some Page management tools to assist with product marketing. Admins can draft and schedule updates to be sent to the news feeds of their fans highlighting different products. This scheduling permits admins to spend less time managing their Facebook storefront while still interacting with customers. Its promotions tools let clients offer gifts for Liking their Page or provide discounts such as “5% off for writing three comments” that are locked until a certain number of users complete the social action, encouraging users to invite their friends to shop.
An analytics tools lets merchants see stats on fans, page views, most visited products and categories, products most often added to carts, most searched terms, and most active users. The purchasing process is slick and intuitive. Users checkout back on a merchant’s web store, allowing them to employ the same payment options a security, though some users may prefer not to leave Facebook.
Plans range from free for an un-customized, monthly-updated 10 product storefront and 2 promotions a month, to $300 a month for a custom design, hourly-updated, 10,000 product store with unlimited promotions. Enterprise clients with even more products to display can also arrange special plans with Beetailer. This subscription model is similar to Facebook ecommerce services such as ShopTab, Ecwid, and BigCommerce, though these services concentrate on manual and CSV uploading for importing products, instead of exclusively powering product importing through APIs.
Beetailer is targeting a huge market — ecommerce websites that don’t have Facebook stores. While Payvment makes product importing available through an API, this is the only way to get products into Beetailer. This might allow it to focus on offering the most streamlined Facebook ecommerce experience for veteran digital merchants, but it might also preclude it from gaining novice sellers or those looking to augment a brick and mortar store.
By a running on a freemium model that requires a paid subscription for crucial services such as displaying more than ten products, Beetailer has a clear business model in place to contrast with Payvment which plans to charge merchants for improved discoverability sometime in the future. As it becomes apparent that they need to be selling on Facebook, more businesses will be looking to set up storefronts on their Pages. This means there could be plenty of room for subscription services such as Beetailer with immediate monetization models as well as strategies that sign up merchants first and deal with generating revenue later.