1-800-Flowers Claims First Retail Transaction Inside Facebook

Back in May I posted about a new interactive shopping widget that 1-800-Flowers was using for a Mother’s Day campaign. The shopping widget appeared on various websites as an expandable ad unit with a fully functioning storefront — meaning customers could browse and check-out without leaving the website they are on. 1-800-Flowers recently released some results of the Mother’s Day campaign (pre-Facebook shoplet), citing a 41% higher sales per impression and 10.5x lift in interaction rates compared to standard banner advertising with A/B split testing.

1-800-Flowers has since embedded its widget into its Facebook Fan Page, and goes down in history by claiming the first retail transaction within Facebook. At 11:50 am EST on July 8, 2009, it sold a “Slice of Life” for $34.99:

As I mentioned in the original post, shopping widgets with full transaction capability will soon appear in mobile applications, Internet enabled television, gaming consoles and other electronic devices that access the Internet — Multichannel 2.0. It also gives retailers opportunity to open up shop on any website including shopping portals, affiliate sites, blogs and social networks.

18F’s “shoplet” is provided by Alvenda and works on a revenue share pricing model which “can be configured to deliver a return on advertising spend equivalent to, or better than, search advertising.” Alvenda handles front end design and integration with order systems and can get up and running in as little as 4 weeks.

A quicker/cheaper shopping widget option for smaller e-tailers is Cartfly. (Thanks to Jesse from 137 Clothing for sharing in the comments). Cartfly is free to use (other 3% commission on sales) and can be embedded in blogs and social networks, redirecting the shopper to your site when he/she’s ready to check out. A caveat is an Amazon Payments account is required, as Amazon is the default payment solution. Something you may want to avoid.

Expect more e-tailers to experiment with interactive, portable storefronts in the future, evolving to become more personalized based on context (product assortment tailored based on content of website the ad is being viewed, for example). We can also expect these storefronts to extend to mobile channels and interactive TV very soon.

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18 Responses to “1-800-Flowers Claims First Retail Transaction Inside Facebook”

  1. PetsRight says:

    1. Are they including their full catalog or a subset of it?

    2. If a store with the amount of conversions that 1-800-Flowers has is JUST making it’s first sale through it’s shopping widget, what does that say about this form of purchasing as a whole? At least for the forseeable future.

  2. Paul says:

    Very interesting.

    I wonder how huge this could be once (or if) they introduce the FB Credit system. Perhaps people will be able to pre-purchase credit like with itunes vouchers and then, rather than sending people virtual gifts, they can send them real gifts. Exciting times indeed.

    I’m on the band wagon!

  3. Facebook should be a great source of income for retailers but unfortunately their advertising platform is incredibly overpriced and ineffective.

  4. The Shop tab was very recently introduced, so that’s why they “just” made the first sale. I’m not sure how long it was up before the first conversion.

    I believe it was the full catalog but I could be wrong.

    I love the idea of Facebook credits – it could evolve that folks “gift” credits to their friends which they could spend on stuff for sale on the Fan Pages they’ve joined. So you can surf your personal mall / bookmarks within Facebook.

    Because this was an Alvenda widget, not a Facebook advertising program, FB doesn’t get a “slice of the pie” here.

  5. PetsRight says:

    Sounds interesting… I might set up a Cartfly solution on my Facebook page. How did they get the “shop” tab on their profile?

  6. Jesse says:

    Thanks for the mention Linda :) Glad I could help!

    PetsRight – re: Shop Tab on the profile. In order to get the Shop Tab in Facebook. Click Applications on the bottom left of Facebook, then click Edit Applications. Locate the “ShopBOT” application (the dropdown menu should say Authorized). Once you found that click Edit Settings. There are two locations you can place it. Make sure Tab indicates you have added it :)

  7. PetsRight says:

    I’ve added it but can’t get it to show as a tab like on the 800Flowers shop.

  8. PetsRight says:

    Got it up and running… but would rather see the tab read “shop” as opposed to “my stores”… especially if i’m only running one store.

  9. Cash Back says:

    That’s a pretty cool idea to have a whole shopping cart system syndicated in widget form. I’m sure that would convert very well. I’m a little surprised this has not been big until now. I wonder if we’ll start seeing this kind of thing all over the web in the coming years.

  10. Wade says:

    Thanks for the mention Linda!

    PetsRight – I think you’ve been led astray a bit. If you’d like what 1-800-Flowers has then get in touch with us at Alvenda (not CartFly). Bands don’t use our solutions – retailers do. ;-)

    Also, Linda was right – the first sale happened within a couple hours of launching the store earlier this month.

    Wade (CEO Alvenda)

  11. This excitement and “strategy” is misguided and illogical. Bloggers, trade media and “experts” would have us believe this is bold and innovative. Jim McCann and his otherwise brilliant team are busy taking the social media hype-and-spin bait and failing to innovate. This use of Facebook is a gratuitous one. It’s on a fast-track to nowhere. Facebook is NOT the e-commerce Holy Grail. No, not yet… not by a long shot.

    The investment in a pop-up storefront on Facebook is a new idea? Nope, it’s a seriously old one. ePods, Affinia!, Nexchange, iMediation and a list of about a dozen other failed companies tried this and failed in the early 1990′s. Nearly ever major publisher has tried to set up mini-storefronts using simple (affiliate marketing) to complex (drop-shipping) tech tools that link up sellers and publishers. Fail. Fail. Fail.

    Today’s economic climate must be considered. Yes — it DOES cost real money to experiment like this. No — MOST marketers CANNOT afford to fail using social media in a down economy.

    Otherwise how can we take Mr. McCann seriously or anything Flowers does as serious let alone remarkable? Just look at this from the release:

    “Facebook is redefining the social Web, a cultural and social phenomenon that has changed the way we connect with one another,” says CEO Jim McCann as he whips the ‘social media’ hype engine into overdrive — blowing by rational thought.

    1) Facebook cannot re-define the social Web. Facebook isn’t doing anything that others aren’t doing — it just has more mass. Facebook isn’t God, Mr. McCann.

    2) The social Web isn’t a cultural or social phenomenon that’s changed the way we connect with one another. The social Web merely makes what we’ve done for generations easier, faster and boarderless.

    Sorry guys and gals but most of this is wishful thinking. Time and time again consumers have demonstrated a total un-willingness to shop in distributed environments unless there’s a REAL value proposition (ie. an affiliate handing cash back, coupons, etc.).

  12. Sortprice has been giving free Facebook Stores to our merchants for months. We now have hundreds of merchants actively selling to Facebook Users directly from their own Facebook Applications. Our top merchants have thousands of active users and have created significant sales numbers. If you would like to know more you can reach me at 212-461-2204

  13. One wonders how these brands will be incorporated into the site’s overall infrastructure in order to drive traffic to the storefronts, given that Facebook relies primarily on homepages and personal connections for its navigation. It will also be interesting to see if these storefronts will be forced into the one-size-fits-all design of Facebook or if they’ll be able to differentiate themselves with a unique platform. This is an especially important consideration for brands like Apple (though it’s not clear if they’re signing on), that rely heavily on image to sell their product.

    And lastly, considering how important the retail experience is to making a sale, particularly within the online environment – information, imagery, recommendations and checkout – I will be anxious to see how the application actually performs in relation to a popular model like Amazon or eBay.


  14. [...] Granted, shopping on Facebook is very new. The first retail sale was a little over a year ago by 1-800-Flowers.com. This marked a new era of social media [...]

  15. [...] 1-800-Flowers http://www.getelastic.com/first-facebook-sale/, Nine West has created a tab on their Facebook page that lets ONLY fans receive exclusive [...]

  16. Jelena says:

    There are more than a few solutions out there to shop using FB.
    One good example, well aligned with FB style is also florist http://www.Cvecara-Online.com with their shop on fan page:

  17. zacktyria says:

    I’m a student at Western Michigan University and I am currently taking a retail management class with dr4ward (www.dr4ward.com) I agree with Mouli it will be interesting to see if these storefronts will be forced into the one-size-fits-all design of Facebook or if they’ll be able to differentiate themselves with a unique platform. If they are able to differentiate then I think they have a better chance of separating themselves from the pack. Either way, not having to leave you current page at Facebook to shop is a cool idea. Having to navigate away, then go back can be time consuming and annoying. Retailers like 1-800 Flowers will probably benefit the most from this because when on Facebook you might get the inclination to buy a loved one flowers. Other business might not have any success with this new tool because being on Facebook wouldn’t peak your interest to buy any of their items.

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