Why it Makes Sense to Pay for my Facebook Shop Application

free-vs-paid-ecommerce-software

We receive questions from prospects each week asking why we don’t provide our Facebook Shop software for free. Seth Godin’s blog about free software reminded us of our decision over five years ago to charge for our software after the initial trial period. We hope this explanation helps potential users to understand that the decision to charge a subscription is the foundation for our serious commitment to their success.

Why it made sense for ShopTab to charge for using our software:

  • Focus on product value. We wanted to be clear with our clients we would validate how a social store would prove value for their organization by justifying it against a financial payment. We didn’t want to sell our user’s information, blast them with advertising or act as a lead front for some other sale.  We believed that if a user can’t sell more than $10 a month against the subscription rate, our application doesn’t work or you and it isn’t a good fit. Seth articulates the concept that either you buy the product or “you” are the product. We picked the first.
  • Be responsive. We wanted to set a standard for providing great support. This meant being available to help at any time during the set-up of the store or support after it was in operation.  It takes good people to provide great support – this wasn’t an area worth cutting corners or pretending like technology or great FAQ’s would solve it.
  • Continual improvement. Seth’s post nails this concept – we didn’t want mediocre software that might work adequately, we wanted software that can make a big difference for our clients and provide us the resources that would allow us to continually improve it.
  • Allow you a real evaluation.  Many software companies allow you to try a version for free with a very limited set of features.  This drives you to pay to upgrade to get what you really need.  We felt like that isn’t a great way to start a relationship – personally or in business. We present the value we can deliver and allow you to make the right decision for you and your opportunity – no future surprises.

Within our first couple of years of operation two large venture capital funded competitors that were attempting to scale with free software offerings went out of business. This left thousands of clients in a desperate situation needing to change platforms quickly.  This was a significant blemish for those companies and for the overall market. I guess it is a fast way to figure out if you have a product or business but leaves the users in a really tough predicament.

ShopTab has been delivering our Facebook Shop app since November of 2009. We’re honored that our clients allow us to continue to improve the software to assist them in bridging the e-commerce market with their social networks.  We believe the decision to charge for our software is the key behind our ability to be in business and server our clients for over six years.  We look forward to doing this for many more years to come.

 

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The Value in Managing Inventory within your Facebook Shop

Inventory Management
We’ve had three questions in the last 24 hours about managing inventory inside of a Facebook Shop. The option to manage the inventory levels of products listings can be critical for sellers with limited products in stock, those with custom items or with limited options for supply. Providing a system with both control and transparency was the goal for the ShopTab’s Facebook Store.

We designed the inventory system to provide flexible management functionality for our sellers. These features and options are highlighted below:

  • On/Off – a seller has the ability to turn inventory on or off for the store. Some sellers don’t have inventory limitations so having to set this inventory for each item would be a waste of time.
  • Unit Volumes – a seller has the ability to quickly set the number of units in stock or can leave it blank to demonstrate an unlimited supply. This may be done manually of via a data file upload.
  • Variable Support – a seller may set variables by individual product. Typically, the number of units are designated by things like size, color or other unique product distinction.
  • Inventory Cycling – the system supports the ability for a buyer to place an item in their cart but the system will cycle that product back into inventory if the buyer doesn’t complete the purchase in a specific timeframe, so that it may be purchased by other buyers
  • Sold-Out Conditions – in a product sold-out situation, the seller may designate if they want to show the items as “sold-out” or to make the product invisible to buyers within the Facebook Store.
  • Online Payments and Cash on Delivery (COD) Support – our system supports inventory management regardless of which option the seller or a buyer uses to pruchase a product.
  • Manual or Data File Updates – the ShopTab system supports both methods for updating the inventory levels in your store.

The proper management of inventory may determine if you are able to run a compelling and profitable Facebook Shop. Make sure to evaluate all inventory options that you will need to manage the products or services that you sell.  Let us know if you have any questions.

Other Resources:

How to set inventory in your Facebook Store

Setting Variables in your Facebook Shop

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Drive Increased Foot Traffic with your Facebook Store

FOOT-TRAFFIC
Selling in social networks is made easy with your Facebook Store app. However, sometimes completing the purchase online and shipping the item doesn’t optimize your revenue or profits. We’d like for you to consider using a couple of our favorite features to pull more buyers into your physical location.  When you do, you’ll sell more!

The truth is that buyers enjoy seeing, touching and experiencing the merchandise – a real bonus for sellers with a physical store location.  When buyers have this opportunity, your chance to upsell them can be increased dramatically. In one situation with ShopTab’s app, Lillians Shoppe,  increased their purchase amount by over 20% on average.

When you sell via a Facebook Shop, consider using these two features to drive up visits to your location and your purchase totals.

  • Store Pick-Up – Many local buyers don’t mind dropping by to pick-up their purchases saving the shipping charges and delay in getting their items. This gives you a great opportunity to show them other items and upsell them.
  • Cash on Delivery – Our COD Facebook Shop option creates a logical opportunity for the client to visit your location to complete their purchase and make final payment. Also, use this option to arrange delivery at an external location and bring items for them to consider for purchase.

Last week we talked to one client, based in the United States, that indicated she was only going to sell via Cash on Delivery since bringing clients into the store was her prime objective – she wasn’t going to offer online payments or shipping. The online social selling was a promotional effort to drive awareness about the store and her products. Getting to know the client when they come in the store was her goal and this solution was a great way to accomplish it.

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Cash on Delivery Selling in Facebook

Facebook Store Cash on Delivery

Today we announce a major upgrade to our social Cash on Delivery option for our Facebook Shop. Since we introduced this option to Facebook Selling three years ago, we’ve been amazed at how many clients have built a substantial revenue stream through this powerful purchasing system.

Let’s highlight the changes:

  • Flexible form design – you can design the form fields with the field names and if the field is required input for your users.
  • Full cart integration – your buyers can add as many products as they would like to the cart prior to final checkout.
  • Support of promotion codes – create promotional codes for discounts that will be fully recognized in your Facebook Shop at checkout.
  • Inventory integration – all COD purchases are deducted from your inventory immediately.
  • Ability to leverage incremental shipping charges – while COD doesn’t include shipping charges, some of our clients wanted options like expedited or long distance delivery surcharge options.
  • Powerful sales reporting – you have complete details inside of the admin as well as full details in a downloadable spreadsheet.
  • Ability to offer COD along with a payment gateway for credit, debit and PayPal – couple the power of COD with a payment gateway to increase your conversions.

Simply adding a Cash on Delivery option to your Facebook Shop may increase your conversions.  If nothing else, it will show your clients you are willing to work with them on whatever best suits their purchasing needs.

Other COD resources:

FAQ for COD in your Facebook Store

Cash Selling in Facebook

COD option for Facebook Fan Pages

Using Cash on Delivery in Facebook in Cash Based Economies

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How to Restrict Traffic to your Facebook Page and your Facebook Store

No-Thru-Traffic-Sign
Periodically we hear from clients that they desire to restrict traffic to their Facebook Fan Page or even just to their Facebook Store inside of their Fan Page. The reason can range widely from a desire to only connect with those within their country to wanting to restrict purchases from countries that have a high propensity of fraud. Here’s a recent comment from a ShopTab support ticket below.

“I simply cannot afford to have purchases from fraud-prevalent countries
like XXXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXXX etc”

We blocked out the countries but it gives you the flavor for the concern.  We have found that there are two ways to solve this problem. We’ll outline those below.

1) Restrict Country Traffic to your Facebook Fan Page.

Facebook allows you to either restrict specific countries or to only allow traffic from a list of countries as noted below under the Settings/Country Restriction option. This solution can work for most fan pages.

Restricted_Country

2) Restrict Traffic for your Facebook Shop

If you are using ShopTab’s integrated cart, we allow you to use the shipping options that are set up within PayPal. In most countries, PayPal allows you to set specific countries where you do not want to ship your products. See the option noted below.

Restricted_Country_#2

Click here for more information on Facebook Store Restricted Country Sales.

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Why Your Personal Profile is Needed to Add an App to Your Facebook Fan Page

Adding_an_App

“Why are you trying to add your app to my personal Facebook page?”

We get this question from new clients when someone is adding our Facebook Store app to their Facebook fan page.  The required Facebook process for adding apps to Fan Pages creates loads of confusion for users – you want to add the app to your fan page, not your personal page.  To make matters worse, Facebook’s application adding dialog boxes will make you think that an app will have full access to your personal page and your friends – downright scary!  Let’s clear this situation up once and for all.

First, why does Facebook prompt you to use your personal profile to add the app? This one is easy once you understand how they set up their system.  You either created the Fan Page or have been assigned as an admin to the Fan Page. This admin status is stored in your personal profile and provides you the rights to manage the Fan Page.  This is why Facebook requires your personal profile access, as the admin for the page, to add the app.  Makes sense but sure can be confusing when doing it the first time.

We also get asked why the Facebook dialog boxes that pop-up during installation indicate that you are full control to the application.  It makes sense for Facebook to complete information to their users when they are modifying their page with something from a third-party.  The app adding API that we use for our Facebook Store app requires these dialog boxes (sometimes up to three pop-ups) to outline the “potential” opportunities an app will have to gain access to your Fan Page information.  As an example, our app allows you to promote a product on your Fan Page timeline with one button click. Facebook wants you to know that the app has the rights to post to your page – seems scary in concept but isn’t because you are the only one that has control of using the feature.

We feel bad that this can be adding of an app can be confusing to Facebook users.  Hopefully this explanation helps to outline those situations so that the process is simple and understandable and you have more time to spend communicating with your fans and friends.

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Simple Google Feed Works with your Facebook Shop   

Google Search Logo

What’s the easiest way to update or populate a Facebook Shop with your products? If you have an existing website or using a marketplace to sell your products you can likely export a file with all of your product details.  This file is a quick and easy way to start and update your Facebook selling efforts via a Facebook Store.

Most website e-commerce solutions or market places support the Google Product Search format for export.  Google uses these files to provide enhanced ability for any seller to make sure your products are optimized for searches online.  Just export your information from your website or marketplace site and then load it into Google for optimization.  You will then have options to even advertise via Google based upon these listings.

ShopTab allows you to upload this file directly into our system to update your Facebook store either manually or in an automated fashion.  Once uploaded into ShopTab, you will have a complete store within Facebook to sell your products or services.  The optimal file type to use is Google’s text tab-delimited file format. This simple format doesn’t require any modification prior to loading into ShopTab.  Upon a successful upload you will receive a notification that the products are now listed.

Data Feed for Facebook Shop

Other ShopTab Data File Resources:

Google Based support for Facebook Shop
Enhance data file support for Facebook Store

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Facebook Store Leverages the Facebook Tracking Pixel

Facebook Tracking Pixel

Spending money on Facebook ads? If so, tracking your success is extremely important. The opportunity to know exactly how those ads perform in terms of tracking what the user does is critical to validate your marketing activities.  Facebook’s new pixel code outlined by SmallBizTrends indicates how this can have great impact for even the smallest sellers.  We’re excited to make this simple with your Facebook Store.

When you create your ad in Facebook you want to know if they went to the page or product you are promoting. The pixel allows you to know exactly this information and review all the statistics inside of your ad manager.  Create your code in your Facebook Ad Manager. Here’s another link with lots of FAQ’s about using the pixel tracker.

Once you have the pixel code, either copy it or send it to your email. Grab that code and place it inside of ShopTab’s admin in these two simple steps – Settings/Facebook Tracking Pixel and then paste the code. This pixel will be placed on EVERY ShopTab Facebook Shop page.

Pixel_Creation_#4

 

Complete set-up and support details for ShopTab’s Facebook Pixel Tracking can be found on this link.

Let us know if you have any questions.

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New Facebook Features for Local Businesses

It seems like every few weeks Facebook rolls out a new feature to help small businesses sell through Facebook.

Facebook recently launched two brand new features for local businesses. One is a free analytics tool called Local Insights that shows small business owners foot traffic around their stores. The other is an update to Local Awareness Ads that enables businesses with at least five locations to dynamically make their Facebook ads more relevant to their customers.

According to Facebook’s announcement:

“Ads work best when they’re relevant to the people that see them, and now local awareness ads have new features that make it easier for businesses with multiple stores to create highly relevant ads for each of their retail locations.”

Local Insights

Page Insights now has a new tab with information for local businesses who want to understand more about the groups of people near their store. The new Local insights features will tell you the aggregate demographics and trends associated with people nearby, so you can better understand and serve the needs of those customers or potential customers.

The idea is that making ads more locally relevant to users will drive higher response rates and conversions than ads without location.

Facebook local selling

 

Awareness Ads

Awareness ads are a capability that allows multi-location businesses to leverage the data already in their individual location Pages to dynamically feed business or store locations (and related data) into Local Awareness Ads. If you haven’t already, this is a strong argument for creating individual location Pages for each of your stores.

Imagine walking around some local shops, scrolling your Facebook News Feed,  and getting an ad for a restaurant or clothing ship just a few hundred feet away. By reaching people within a mile (or two, or three) of your business, Facebook may be able to drive foot traffic to your store that leads to more sales.

Facebook shop local ads

Both features are tools that should be used with your Facebook shop. If you have any questions about these features or starting your own Facebook store, message us on Facebook or email us at support@shoptab.net.

 

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How to Let Your Facebook Fans Know When You’re “Away”

Facebook announced one of it’s best new features for Facebook shop owners this month.

You already know from our post about Facebook Page response times that you can show messages that indicate you’re to respond “within minutes,” “within an hour,” “within hours” or “within a day.” Facebook then calculates an average response time for your Page and displays it to your customers and potential customers.

Facebook shop away message

What most people don’t know is that there’s also an “away” message that can be shown or delivered when no one is available. Messages submitted during an “away” period (e.g., in the middle of the night) won’t be factored into your average response time calculation.

Facebook is also allowing something called “instant replies,” which are automatic messages that contain any custom text you’d like to display when you’re away (e.g. “Thanks for reaching out. We’re away right now, but will get back to you as soon as we can!”)

According to Facebook:

“Even if a Page typically responds to messages within an hour, they can can set their visible response time to within a day and set customer expectations accordingly. This updated feature gives Page admins more control and flexibility to use their Page as a communication channel.”

We’re pretty excited about this new feature. Away messages will encourage Facebook shop owners to do a better job of communicating with customers and prospects visiting their Facebook Pages. This also advances Facebook’s mission of making Pages a communications platform businesses (especially local businesses).

You may not see this feature on your Facebook page yet. Facebook says the new tools and capabilities are “starting to roll out globally now and will be available to every Page in the coming months.”

Have questions about starting a Facebook store? Email us at support@shoptab.net or message us on Facebook.

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