E-commerce on Facebook has steadily been ramping up as both small retailers and big brands set up online store fronts on the social networks. With access to Facebook’s nearly 600 million members, it makes sense for retailers to bring e-commerce and the shopping experience to the social network. Today, Quidsi, which Amazon acquired for $540 million last Fall, is launching an shopping experience on Facebook for Soap.com and Diapers.com
On the Facebook pages for Quidsi -owner properties Soap.com, BeautyBar.com and Diapers.com, existing users of the shopping sites will be able to shop for products directly from the social network under a tab called “Shop My List.” Members will be able to access their Diapers.com and Soap.com shopping lists by logging in with their Quidsi credentials and then complete a purchase of all or some of these products without ever leaving Facebook. And customers can shop on all three sites via one tab (so users can order Soap items while on the Diapers page) and like individual products.
Quidsi VP of E-Commerce Josh Himwich says the unique aspect of the experience is that you never have to leave Facebook to complete your purchase. Many retail outlets list products for purchase on their Facebook pages, but users have to complete the transaction on a separate site.
The one drawback of the experience is that only existing Diapers.com and Soap.com users who have shopping lists created on these sites are able to use the e-commerce app on Facebook. Himwich says that Quidsi is targeting existing users purposefully, because those who are likely to be fans of Diapers.com or Soap.com on Facebook are probably loyal shoppers of the sit (combined, the Quidsi Facebook pages have around 60,000 fans/likes).
As for the Amazon factor, the deal hasn’t closed yet so this has been a Quidsi-sponsored product (the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year). But Himwich adds that Amazon was particularly interested in direction Quidsi is going with adding the social element to e-commerce. Amazon is no stranger to social commerce these days and has been ramping up its integrations with Facebook, recently launching a feature that taps into the social network for recommendations. And of course, the ecommerce giant just made a whopping $175 million investment in group buying site LivingSocial. And Himwich says that Amazon is looking to invest in a few more Facebook-focused e-commerce startups.
While Himwich says that “no one has yet cracked the nut on Facebook e-commerce,” the Facebook integration is a way to dip Quidsi’s toes into the social e-commerce waters to see if a full-on storefront makes sense.
It should be interesting to see if Amazon follows Quidsi’s footsteps in actually setting up retail storefronts on Facebook for its marketplace. It would certainly help turn Facebook into a virtual mall.