Social media has been a big asset to small business and as the years roll on, it’s continuing to evolve into an even bigger asset. For instance, did you know that you can leverage Facebook for ecommerce? Many are doing so with success and there are even tools to help you do so now. Christian Taylor, Founder of Payvment, joins Brent Leary to discuss one of those tools and shares the benefits, the challenges, and some statistical research on the subject.
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Small Business Trends: Before we get into Facebook commerce, can you tell us a little bit about your back ground?
Christian Taylor: Before I started Payvment I used to have a company called X Creative. X Creative was really tasked with building a lot of the social presence for large brands. Many of our customers were companies like Walt Disney, Lions Gate, and a lot of entertainment groups.
In the case of Disney, if you think about it, merchandising was just as huge has making movies, so we saw a need really quickly. There needed to be a way to essentially shop if you just discovered some sort of product on Facebook and wanted to purchase that. We saw the need in that and really got excited about the possibilities of what it could mean, especially for small businesses.
Small Business Trends: What are some of the unique challenges when it comes to doing ecommerce on Facebook from a small business perspective?
Christian Taylor: Small businesses are really doing well on Facebook with ecommerce. If you think about it, before Facebook and really before Payvment, if you wanted to start a business you would get a web designer, build a website, add some ecommerce solutions to it, and probably had to buy Google ads, or a bunch of other advertisement to drive traffic to your new store.
Payvment is absolutely free for brands or sellers to essentially add ecommerce to that Facebook page, and do what used to cost thousands of thousands of dollars to do.
Small Business Trends: You recently put out a study on how small businesses are getting serious about doing ecommerce on Facebook. 61% cite the ability to promote products via social marketing as a driver for Facebook commerce. Is there anything in this study that surprised you?
Christian Taylor: I think the numbers that surprised me the most were finding out how many are strictly using Facebook as their sole lead commerce channel. I think it was 37% of all of the ecommerce stores that we surveyed said their sole channel for ecommerce is just on Facebook.
Small Business Trends: What are some of the misconceptions or overlooked areas small businesses go into with Facebook?
Christian Taylor: I think ecommerce on Facebook is a completely different animal than ecommerce anywhere else. It is a social network, it is about being social. I think at first that was the big hurdle early on.
The easiest way to put this in perspective is, let’s say you just walked into a brick-and-mortar store, and the store owner has his back to you the whole time you were there. Obviously you’d get upset and probably walk out of the store and go somewhere else.
That is really the way that these sellers need to think about ecommerce on Facebook. It is not just throwing a store up on Facebook; it is not just throwing products at people and crossing your arms. The people having great success are the ones who are finding people that are passionate about their products, and opening up a dialogue. What Payvment has done over the last two years is really help to build tools to help our sellers to be able to do that easier.
Small Business Trends: Are you surprised at the adoption of Facebook as an ecommerce platform?
Christian Taylor: I am not surprised by it. We built a business on it because we knew the power of it, and we knew it was going to be huge. The way that we looked at it, it was going to be a different shopping experience than anywhere else.
What social commerce is, is really just discovering products through a whole bunch of different methods. It is really not about, “I am going to Facebook to go buy a camera.” I am going to Facebook, and while I did not know about this cause, I want to buy this shirt to raise money for breast cancer awareness.
It is those kind of things that really make shopping on Facebook different, and while we knew it was going to explode, essentially there has always been discovery in every aspect of Ecommerce even before there was such a word as social commerce or even Facebook.
Small Business Trends: What are the top two or three things a small business should know when it comes to getting started with Facebook commerce?
Christian Taylor: Well the reasons why we have grown essentially to power nearly all of the shopping on Facebook is mainly because we always looked at it as a need to help the seller. We are not just giving you ecommerce software to add to your Facebook page and just say, “Well good luck with that.”
It is providing tools that help sellers become successful at social commerce. We recently launched a technology we called Social IQ. When our sellers go into their Payvment Dashboard, Social IQ looks at their recent history of what is going on in Facebook around their products and how people are interacting with them, and gives them some daily suggestions on things to do in helping them to increase their sales and increase their fans.
We are going to continue to develop products to help people – no matter what level they are at. You can be a stay at home mom with a business, or a large corporation wanting to leverage Facebook to launch a product. We want to make it so that these brands can really learn and have home run success right off the bat.
Small Business Trends: Where can people go to learn more about getting up to speed by using Facebook commerce?
Christian Taylor: Just go to Payvment.com. It’s free to launch a store on Facebook and it takes about 15 minutes.
On another social commerce note, read why Guy Kawasaki wonders why Amazon hasn’t tried to buy Pinterest as of yet on Brent’s blog.
This interview is part of our One on One series of conversations with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click the right arrow on the gray player below. You can also see more interviews in our interview series.