A great post from content specialist and visual journalist, Elizabeth Olmsted on what a good f-commerce product page should look like.

Bottom line, unless your store matches or beats the design of Gilt Groupe’s Facebook fan-store (screenshots below) – send your agency back to the drawing board.

Gilt Groupe f-commerce product page features:

  • Clean design
  • Event Shopping (Flash Sale)
  • Mouseover to zoom product image
  • Product information tab
  • Login using site data
  • Returns Policy info
  • Estimated Delivery info
  • Commenting
  • Send Button
  • Share Button
  • Share Store Button
  • Added to Cart Notification

We concur with Elizabeth’s view that Gilt Groupe’s Facebook fan-store represents today’s best-of-breed, and the fan-store product page is one against which you should benchmark your own.  Gilt also ‘gets’ f-commerce, not a copy-paste job of a web-commerce site, but a fan-commerce platform designed to support product and campaign launches with fan-exclusives and fan-merchandise (that stimulate loylaty and advocacy).

Elizabeth (who’s also a fan of the JC Penney fan-store) has argued that consistency between fan-store and web-store and compelling content are important, and Gilt delivers on this too.

What we particularly like about the Gilt fan-store is not all the social features and widgets, but its simplified design.  The f-commerce concept is simple enough – use Facebook as a fan-commerce platform to support product and campaign launches with fan-exclusives and fan-merchandise – and we think the ideal f-commerce store should be as simple as the concept.  And Gilt does this well – providing a simplified store – not simplistic, but simplified with complexity removed.

Our view is that much f-commerce is in need of a little design-love. Facebook constraints make the design task challenging, but these constraints push us to simplification.  And that’s good.  Of course, the design diva par excellence in this field is Apple, so here’s a short anecdote from John Scully, former Apple CEO last year on Steve Jobs and the primacy of design culture.

“An anecdotal story: A friend of mine was at meetings at Apple and Microsoft on the same day. And this was in the last year, so this was recently. He went into the Apple meeting (he’s a vendor for Apple), and as soon as the designers walked in the room, everyone stopped talking, because the designers are the most respected people in the organization. Everyone knows the designers speak for Steve because they have direct reporting to him. It is only at Apple where design reports directly to the CEO.

Later in the day he was at Microsoft. When he went into the Microsoft meeting, everybody was talking and then the meeting starts and no designers ever walk into the room. All the technical people are sitting there trying to add their ideas of what ought to be in the design. That’s a recipe for disaster.”