There is a lot of discussion around how businesses can capture customers through Facebook. It only makes sense as 25% of all time spent on the Internet is spent within Facebook. I recently saw this Harvard Business Review blog post, “Using Facebook to Capture Customers,” and found it to be a good summation of 5 strategies companies are using to leverage their Facebook page to gain more customers. The last point is focused on social shopping and enabling transactions within Facebook. I think these are good points and see additional layers to that topic.

While setting up a Facebook Store is just the first step for a business looking to take advantage of Facebook, it is the last step in the consumer’s purchasing decision process.
Social eCommerce should really be focused on the 90% of what happens before the transaction in that Facebook Store, which is the awareness, interest, consideration and purchase decision process.

Businesses need to think of “social network optimization” when they think about influencing this purchase decision process. Key to this is having the tools to understand your customer network, identify those with the greatest potential to extend your brand to new shoppers and increase revenue. Once they are identified, you need to intelligently deploy programs to activate them, incenting them to share with their network and rewarding them with status and money for their actions. Without this, you simply treat Facebook like a mall – which will make you irrelevant to the social conversation.

Our Social Promotions Engine™ is designed to provide comprehensive social shopping solutions for selling on Facebook, driving new shoppers through social coupon programs, enabling VIP, limited time, private sales, group based sales, as well as social ratings & reviews and social badging. Layer over incentives for sharing all of these while rewarding people for customers and revenue they drive – and you have successfully tapped into the social dynamic.

Social eCommerce will evolve, and the ability to more effectively leverage the social graph to drive relevancy and tap into networks will keep driving progress in this space. The Facebook Store while being many businesses’ first step, needs to be seen as the last step in an important process.