Confirming its trailblazing status as a pioneer in social commerce for luxury brands, Burberry has launched a pop-up ‘tryvertising’ fan-store on its Facebook page to promote the launch of its new fragrance Burberry Body to its 7m+ fans.

And the best thing for Burberry fans is that the cost of getting the fragrance delivered to your door is $0 – the fan-store is actually a sample-store, offering free samples to Burberry fans.  We think it’s smart and slick and sets a new standard for tryvertising on Facebook.  The Burberry Body sample store features a like-gate, a count-down timer, an attractive order form, and plenty of opportunities for users to share the news.

In fact, the only essentials missing from the Burberry Body sample-store in our view are;

  1. a mobile-friendly version of the store,
  2. a newsfeed version that would allow fans to share the store across walls, and
  3. an option for fans to also purchase the full version at special VIP fan-pricing.

In terms of optimising this tryvertising initiative, we’d also consider making ordering contingent on sharing and sending a sample to a friend too.  And whilst we don’t know what extras fans will receive in their Burberry Body sample pack yet, if Burberry is smart it should include VIP discount codes to share amongst friends to get the full version at special fan-pricing.

But why should Burberry want to offer fans early access to the new Burberry Body fragrance in the first place? Quite simply because by getting Burberry Body into the hands, on the skin, and most importantly on the lips of Burberry fans – the people most likely to recommend the brand – Burberry will increase word of mouth buzz for the new fragrance.  And word of mouth buzz is known to enhance advertising effectiveness and drive launch sales.

Fan-first sampling on Facebook should also increase the ROI of sampling for Burberry; sampling is highly effective for experiential and sensorial brands, but can be wasteful if a scattergun approach is adopted (sampling in-store, samples with products).  By allowing fans to order samples, Burberry ensure that Burberry Body ends up on bodies that want to wear it – and just as importantly want to talk about it.

Burberry, winner of the BFA Digital Innovations Prize and the most popular fashion brand on Facebook, is emerging as something of the poster-child luxury brand in digital technology – the Art of the Trench campaign in 2009 year showed how luxury brands could do social media safely, Burberry stores equip staff with iPads for real-time inventory checks, and the brand streams fashion shows to fans in-store, on mobile devices – and in 3D – through it’s retail theatre initiative.

But of all the digital efforts, we like Burberry’s Facebook fan-store best; it’s simple and smart. And we’d recommend that other beauty and cosmetics brands follow, learn – and then better what Burberry is doing with its fan-store. By starting with a sample store, Burberry is learning to get the most important elements of social commerce right first – strategy (launch-optimisation), user experience (slick and simple), and proposition (exclusivity) – and separating this from the technical side of supporting transactions, which can be added later.

Agencies and f-commerce software providers – watch this space – sample stores may be a smart way to sell in social commerce to cautious clients.

Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer gets f-commerce; “We want you [our fans] to be the first to experience it”