When I first started covering Facebook selling at ShopTab, I was skeptical.
I said what many were saying about Facebook:
“Organic reach is dead. Small businesses won’t survive.”
“You can’t accomplish anything unless you pay for Facebook ads.”
“There’s too much competition on Facebook. It’s not worth it.”
The more I studied Pages that were creating Facebook stores, the more I learned the opposite. Businesses were thriving on Facebook and driving tons of sales… and many of them weren’t paying a dollar for ads.
I’m about to share one of my favorite Facebook store case studies. The business, Lillians of Dickinson, launched a Facebook store a few months ago and has been and seeing incredible results.
We learned a lot during their launch, because we tracked everything. We measured their sales in the Facebook store and in their physical store. We measured their page growth and post engagement. We talked to the store owner. The results were clear: Organic reach in Facebook is not dead, and Facebook can be an incredible place to build an online store.
Selling on a custom-built website or in a marketplace doesn’t always make sense.
The market for women’s apparel is extremely competitive, especially for brick and mortar stores. Lillians approached us because, like many businesses, they didn’t know exactly how to get the most out of online selling. They’d looked at building their own site, and even putting items on a big marketplace like Amazon or Etsy. While this is often viewed as the best approach to increase online sales, these environments have their downfalls. They can be highly competitive, expensive, and a pain to manage (especially if you aren’t particularly tech savvy).
According to Practical Ecommerce, these websites and marketplaces have an 80% failure rate.
That’s why Lillians decided to open a Facebook store.
Lillians of Dickinson is a dynamic and creative boutique located in Dickinson, North Dakota (which has a population of just over 20,000 people). Cami Havelka is the store owner and she started her business in April of 2012.
Cami was already using Facebook to connect with her customers. She had approximately 3,000 fans prior to the Facebook store launch (even though we’ve seen Facebook stores succeed with as little as 200 fans).
Cami didn’t know what to expect when she created her store, but she was excited to get started. She created her Facebook store with ShopTab and started uploading her products.
Wait, wait, wait. What’s a Facebook store?
Sorry, I should’ve explained that sooner (If you already know what a Facebook store looks like, feel free to skip this section).
Facebook stores are online stores that live inside of Facebook. They allow your Facebook fans to click a “shop” tab on the side of your Facebook Business Page to buy your products.
Here’s an example (notice the “shop” link under the cover photo)
ShopTab stores are customizable, easy to setup, and simple to manage. You don’t have to know how to code. And there are no transaction fees. All you need is a Facebook business page and a ShopTab account (7-day free trial and plans start at $10/month). It’s incredibly inexpensive compared to other platforms that are charging 5x that amount plus fees.
The best part: ShopTab Facebook stores are mobile friendly (which is important considering more than 50% of Facebook users are accessing Facebook through their phones)
After Cami set up her store, she was ready to launch.
She announced the “grand opening” of her store on Facebook to get her fans excited.
The store was launched at 5pm on Monday, October 13th with a news feed post. Cami’s fans could click the link generated by ShopTab to automatically enter the store.
We tracked the comments during the day of the launch. Several of her fans were asking about the products and engaging with the store. We could tell people were viewing the products…
Immediately after the launch, Cami began to intersperse posts in the news feed about the products in the Facebook Store. Using ShopTab’s promotion tools, Cami was able to directly post from the application or post a picture manually and then insert one of ShopTab’s links within the post. Lillians of Dickinson focused on presenting popular items and responding quickly to any fans that had questions or comments.
Some of the fans seemed pretty excited…
Here’s where things get really interesting.
The team at Lillians of Dickinson did a great job of promoting their Facebook store, both before and after the launch. Once the Facebook store launched, Cami used high-quality product images and product placements in the Facebook news feed to highlight the online store and specific items.
After 6 days, we called Cami to see how the launch went.
When Cami totaled the number of online sales and in-store sales that were influenced by the Facebook store launch, she had sold $2,500 worth of products.
Not too bad for 20 minutes of set-up and few Facebook posts.
Her engagement went way up too.
The Lillians of Dickinson Facebook page added 86 new fans and close to 200 new product Likes. Her Facebook store was viewed more than 1,200 times. It’s important to mention again that she didn’t spend a dollar on ads during the launch.
In the first week, the influenced in-store sales were much higher than anticipated and had the added value of impacting the increase in average ticket amount (up more than 22%), since many of her customers made impulse buys while in the store.
“According to the girls who worked last week, they said that almost everyone commented on seeing the online store and then mentioned a product that they were coming in for.” - Cami Havelka
These results aren’t unique to Cami at Lillians. We’ve been helping businesses build Facebook stores since 2009, and we’ve witnessed Facebook become the primary selling platform for hundreds of stores.
It’s been fun to watch.