The Year in Facebook-Powered Shopping

Facebook-powered shopping is becoming more popular according to new statistics released by Facebook. Over half of the 25 largest and 25 fastest growing retail sites have integrated with Facebook. The post-Thanksgiving shopping rush led to significant increases in referral traffic from Facebook, status updates related to retail purchases, and Likes on retail sites.

While retailers increase revenue and shoppers get social recommendations, the real winner is Facebook. More shopping within the canvas through storefront Page tabs inspires Pages to advertise with Facebook, while Open Graph-enabled site shopping increases reliance on Facebook.

Independent studies from the last year have indicated that over 86% of U.S. retailers have a Facebook Page, and Facebook is growing its share as a source of traffic to retail sites. Major retail sites such as Amazon, eBay, and TheFind, ecommerce solution provider PayPalsearch engine Bing, and group deals providers Groupon and Living Social have integrated with Facebook.

Meanwhile Facebook-integrated technology to help retailers is proliferating, with free Page tab application storefront provider Payvment taking $6 million in funding, and micro-incentive system ifeelgoods allowing retailers to reward customers with Facebook Credits.

In the last few days, Bing and Etsy have also unveiled new ways bring friends into the shopping experience. Etsy’s “Gift Ideas for Facebook Friends” pulls a selected friend’s Likes and gives relevant gift suggestions. While very similar to Amazon’s social shopping experience, the oddball handicrafts on Etsy map better to Likes than Amazon’s more standard merchandise. Bing will soon allow users to quickly build a shopping list and share it to Facebook to get the opinions of their friends.

Here are some specific statistics about the success of Black Friday and Cyber Monday for Facebook-powered shopping:

Referral traffic to the most active retailers on Facebook increased 70% over the period from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

On Black Friday, there was more than 6x the number of status updates related to retail purchases as the previous Friday.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Levi’s saw a 2x increase in the amount of likes and comments on their site

From Black Friday through Cyber Monday, 20% of  student-focused retailer Kembrel’s overall transactions came through their Facebook store, and these Facebook store transactions were 7-10% bigger than those on Kembrel’s website.

The fact is that users are opening up to the idea of shopping on Facebook, and trusted recommendations from friends on and off-site encourage purchasing. Allowing users to complete purchases on Facebook Pages through storefronts like Payvment reduces the steps between discovery and checkout. Adding Like buttons on to every product on a retail site not only make it easy for customers to generate leads from their network, but allows for granular communication with the audience of each Like button.

By making integration lucrative to retailers, Facebook is ingraining itself in the shopping industry. If retailers see results from selling products on Facebook, they’ll pay the social network for ads which drive more users to their Pages. Expanding the presence of the Open Graph across the web positions Facebook well for the future launch of an prospective embeddable advertising product which lets sites take advantage of the same ad targeting as Facebook’s on-site performance advertising system. In these ways, Facebook-powered shopping could play a major role in the future of Facebook’s own monetization.

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