The business model for online retailers is being turned on its head. It used to be that consumers would visit individual company websites to shop. But now companies are seeking out consumers where they spend most of their time: on Facebook.
Facebook associate Annie Ta detailed how this is all working in a post on the company’s blog last Wednesday. She cites examples of designers and stores using Facebook as a means to relay information to their fans about discounts, sales and promotions. She highlighted how “Tory Burch, who is best known for her classic ballet flats, took a bold step by changing the traditional model for her private sale. Typically, this sale is reserved for those close to the fashion house, but in October, Tory Burch offered the private sale to all 18,000 fans of her Facebook Page.”
Ta also mentions other brands and retailers who offer discounts exclusively to their Facebook Fans, including Toys R Us, whom I’ve mentioned in a previous article.
With printed coupons becoming all but obsolete, and online ads gaining smaller and smaller traction, is Facebook beginning to replace company websites altogether? Given the fact that Mark Zuckerberg announced this week that Facebook has over 350 million users worldwide, it seems like a natural progression for companies to reach their target audiences where they are already residing on the web, rather than seeking to drive them away from Facebook onto their own individual sites.
J.Crew has even included an exclusive offer that only fans on its Facebook Fan Page can access. When they purchase any item online, as they are checking out, they can enter the promotional code through the Fan Page and receive complimentary shipping, courtesy of J.Crew.
Facebook’s List feature works well with this new business model, since it allows customers seeking out the latest company discounts to access their favorite brands with remarkable ease. This feature puts the customer in the driver’s seat, rather than the company, thus forcing the companies to go to Facebook, instead of driving customers to their branded sites.
With Facebook continuing to grow and develop based on the needs of the individual, companies have had to adapt to the Web 2.0 model in order to succeed. Clipping coupons has become antiquated now that all of the discounts, sales and promotions are condensed onto one website that hosts all of the potential consumers and products under one platform: Facebook.