Selling products in Facebook with cash payments seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? The user is online so why wouldn’t they want to complete the transaction with an e-commerce solution? Sometimes that isn’t technically possible, it might not make sense based on the product or the client may be interested but they want to talk to the seller to make sure they get exactly what they want. Most times a sales conversion can happen online, but sometimes it can’t. Since releasing the Cash on Delivery (COD) feature for our Facebook Shop in July, we have been amazed with the success and creativity demonstrated by many of our clients.
There are many countries where online payment options for new micro-merchants, or even established bricks and mortar merchants, are extremely challenging to find or even non-existent. Additionally, our informal review of Facebook’s top 20 countries by user count indicates close 80% of these countries are in traditionally cash-based economies – i.e. buyers don’t have credit options and are used to paying with cash. The merchants in these countries have been very creative in leveraging the Facebook platform to engage their customers. Extending a cash purchase option for their products may be an opportunistic for the seller and a valuable choice for their clients and new prospects. A great recent example is The Ultimate Shop, a store for Ultimate Frisbee equipment that markets primarily in Venezuela. The client orders are placed via the order form and then the store owner and buyer confirm the order and determine the appropriate delivery or pick-up method.
Some products come with too many options for a simple online purchase. While some high-end retailers, such as Dell Computers, have made complex configurations simpler online, most retailers can’t provide those advanced solutions at a reasonable cost and end up aggravating their customers. A great example of this is Garden Crate, a provider of locally fulfilled specialty gardening items. They deployed the COD option because an incorrect order would hurt both their client relationships and profit margins. The choice of sizes, colors, unique designs and delivery made the COD feature an ideal way to create sales and social conversation regarding their products.
We’ve also seen where clients have used the cash payment coupled with an online payment. In some cases, the cash option form is completed but at final order confirmation an online transaction option is presented, just in case the client wants to finalize payment. We have one client that registers users for classes and then asks them to either pay online or they will have a representative call them within 24 hours to complete the registration. What a great way to build your sales via social marketing and give the client control over the payment option that makes the most sense for them.
Facebook and other social networks are all about creating conversations. The option to make purchases may be a perfectly logical extension of those conversations. Make sure you have the appropriate payment systems to handle those opportunities based upon your product, the norms in your country and what will work best for your client. After all, the best conversations are when both parties walk away happy.
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