Heinz, Nokia Not Fans Of Facebook Storefront

By Justin Lafferty 

People are doing just about everything nowadays through Facebook — except buying ketchup. Heinz has not been seeing the results it has hoped for through Facebook’s storefront, and a marketing director spoke recently at a conference in London about how it’s tough to sell through Facebook.

Heinz originally wanted to sell 1 million personalized bottles of its limited-edition balsamic vinegar ketchup through Facebook, but it agreed to get that figure down to 5,000 in order to build social media excitement (and to keep its grocery retailers happy). However, selling through Facebook also gave users a chance to post complaints about the buying process.

We Are Social marketing director Tom Ollerton offered this explanation as to why people were hesitant to buy through the social network:

Hosting the ecommerce page within Facebook actually put people off, as it’s not a trusted platform for making a purchase. It created a lot of nervousness.

After the Facebook ecommerce attempt didn’t go as well as Heinz hoped, it used PayPal for its next campaign, selling soup. Ollerton said Heinz using PayPal was much better for sales.

Thomas Messett, Nokia’s global editor-in-chief for social media, agreed with Ollerton, saying that ecommerce techniques through Facebook have to be unique, but effective. Messett proposed offering users some kind of reward for buying through Facebook, but making it brand-relevant and useful:

If you put something cheap on your fan page, people will like you to get something cheap. It doesn’t actually mean anything.

Readers: Do you feel comfortable buying things through Facebook, or do you prefer a service like PayPal?

Image courtesy of Heinz’s Facebook page.