Here’s a smart f-commerce gem from JWT‘s XM-Asia in Singapore. Instead of using Facebook simply to sell fan-first/fan-only exclusives, vendors can also use Facebook to do demand-driven inventory management by posting ‘product preview galleries’ that allow fans to ‘Like’ potential new stock items – vendors stock the most liked products.
Not only is this a smart way to de-risk new inventory, it also adds ‘involvement’ into the f-commerce mix, a known driver of customer loyalty and advocacy. By giving customers a say in what you sell, you turn customers into loyal stakeholders. Local retailer ‘Zha Huo Dian‘ is trialling the JWT solution on Facebook, which includes a mobile app for retailers to take photos of potential stock items and post them to the Facebook preview gallery (see video). If JWT is smart – they’ll use their Singapore smarts and wrap this up into a turnkey f-commerce solution around the globe.
Of course there are precedents for using Facebook as a platform for this kind of customer involvement. The most well-known is online t-shirt retailer – Threadless. As a fashion brand operating in the highly competitive and largely commoditized t-shirt market Threadless has an enviable reputation; it sells out of every line it produces – generating $17m+ in annual sales with a healthy 35% profit margin. Threadless’ secret is to use customer involvement to build customer loyalty (propensity to purchase and re-purchase) through Idol-style talent contests where t-shirt designers compete for customer likes. Only the most popular designs go into production and on sale; and when they do, they always sell out. Modcloth has a similar customer “Be the Buyer” program, as does Walmart – asking customers to vote with Likes on which promotions to run through their CrowdSaver program. Israeli fashion brand Kisim has gone one step further, inviting Facebook fans to co-create (design and name) a new line item – a leather bag – using its Facebook page as an open brainstorming/co-creation platform.
We think customer involvement on Facebook, integrating the voice of the customer into the brand and the business, is a key component of successful f-commerce. As we argue in our latest social commerce report on f-commerce, involvement is a key component of the Facebook f-commerce success formula.
- Exclusives (offer fan-first/fan-only exclusives)
- Involvement (give your fans and followers a say in what you sell and how you sell it)
- Incentives (offer fans incentives for spreading the word)