February 24, 2010, 12:00 AM

Nine West launches a Facebook shopping tab

Nine West launched today a fans-only shopping application on its Facebook fan page that offers its Facebook followers exclusive content and offers.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

 

Nine West launched today a shopping application on its Facebook fan page that allows the company’s Facebook followers to buy products from designer Fred Allard`s accessories line, as well as offers Facebook-only promotions such as 15% off purchases.

The app, which was developed by technology firm Fluid Inc., is only accessible by Nine West Facebook fans. Limiting the app to fans gives its Facebook-related offers an air of exclusivity and should bolster the company’s fan base, says Andy Lloyd, Fluid CEO.

Nine West fans who click on a “shop lookbook” tab on Facebook can shop, as well as note whether they “like” or want to “share” a product using the Flash-enabled app. When a shopper clicks the “like” button, that information is shared with everyone connected to her on Facebook. When she adds an item to her shopping bag a separate tab opens with Nine West’s standard checkout.

Checkout occurs outside Facebook because Fluid and Jones Apparel Group, which owns Nine West, were concerned consumers would be hesitant to complete a transaction on Facebook, says Lloyd. “We can only move to adopt a technology as soon as consumers are ready to wrap their heads around it,” he says. “Some consumers would be ready to pay on Facebook. But others would not. And that’s who we have to cater to.”

Nine West is the second Jones Apparel Group brand to launch a Facebook shopping tab with Fluid. Rachel Roy launched a three-day, pop-up app in which it offered Facebook-exclusive jewelry that sold out within six hours of the app’s launch. Rachel Roy’s transactions also took place outside Facebook.

Rachel Roy wasn’t trying to move a large amount of inventory, says Lloyd. Instead, it was attempting to give shoppers a call to action. “It created the sense that you better jump on our offers when we put it up,” he says. “If you aren’t signed up or aren’t ready, you’ll miss out.”

Common to both the Nine West and Rachel Roy efforts was the goal of increasing the number of Facebook fans. More Facebook fans means the company will have more people to directly market to on the social networking site, says Lloyd. “Becoming a Facebook fan is like opting in to direct marketing e-mails,” he says. “But with Facebook companies can push more offers because customers don’t feel as though you’re filling up their inbox.”

Jones Apparel Group is No. 271 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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