Juice up Your Facebook Page with Shopping Tabs

Want a Facebook storefront like Coca-Cola or Designer Social? Even a small business ecommerce site owner can afford one.

Facebook commerce (or F-commerce) is a growing trend that many small business ecommerce site owners are watching closely.  Studies show that online product referrals from people within your social network impact buying decisions.

As reported by Internet Retailer, an online study from research and consulting firm Morpace Inc. showed that 68 percent of consumers with Facebook accounts say a positive referral from a Facebook friend would make them more likely to buy from or visit a retailer.

While people on Facebook use the social networking site to learn more about a company or to get special offers, the verdict is still out on whether Facebook will really move forward as a profitable shopping platform -- but that hasn't stopped a number of retailers from launching Shopping Tabs and investing in a Facebook storefront.

How to Get a Shopping Tab on Your Facebook Page: The Hard Way

A Shopping Tab is a customized Facebook application that lets online retailers publish a Facebook storefront -- with add-to-cart buttons -- on a Facebook Business Page. Your fans can access the Shopping Tab to purchase products within the Facebook Web interface.  When Facebook fans use the Shopping Tab application, they are typically routed to your own website to complete the transaction.

As an added benefit, users can also Like specific products in your Facebook Shopping Tab -- which pushes that product recommendation out on the user’s own Facebook Wall for their friends to see, click and Like.

Facebook Tabs on Business Pages are a Facebook Application; meaning a Web app that is loaded in the context of Facebook.  Facebook apps are popular, and if you have in-house developers you can use the Facebook Developers Page to learn more about setting up an app to run within Facebook. The Facebook Developers page also provides extensive information on how to create Custom Page Tabs. Custom Page Tabs is what allows you to develop a Facebook App that can be used within the context of a Facebook Business Page.

The Easy Way to Get a Facebook Storefront

The big obstacle for small business ecommerce site owners is that development requirements for a custom Facebook Shopping Tab are beyond what most can do on their own. If this is your situation, then there are options for getting that Shopping Tab up and running on your Facebook Page. The best solution is to use a third-party Facebook Shopping application.

These applications work like most Facebook apps. You add and install to your Facebook Business Page and for a subscription fee you’ll have ecommerce functionality and a Facebook storefront in minutes -- without having to develop a complex Facebook application yourself.

3 Facebook Storefront Apps to Try

The process for using any of these applications is similar. You first visit the Facebook Page for the shopping application you want to try and “Become a Fan” of the Page. Once you are a fan you will see a "Go to Application" link. You’ll need to let the application access your Facebook information, and from there you’ll have to create an account (e.g. specify a username and password). The last task will be to upload products and customize your Facebook Shopping Tab.

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