March 11, 2010, 12:00 AM

Social Selling: Procter & Gamble pushes products on Facebook

Procter & Gamble’s Facebook fans could buy the new Pampers Cruisers with Dry Max diapers on the P&G fan page nearly three weeks before the product hit stores. In less than an hour, P&G sold all of the 1,000 packs it set aside for the trial.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Procter & Gamble last month allowed its Facebook fans to buy the new Pampers Cruisers with Dry Max diapers on P&G;’s Facebook fan page nearly three weeks before the product would hit store shelves.

In less than an hour, the manufacturer sold all of the 1,000 packs it designated for the effort.

Procter & Gamble used software from interactive marketing firm Resource Interactive called Off the Wall to post the Pampers Cruisers offer on Facebook fans’ walls. A Facebook user then clicked on the image, which expanded to display information similar to that found on an e-commerce product page, such as the $9.99 price. The user then made her selection, entered her shipping and payment information, and clicked Buy to complete the transaction.

The purchase takes place within Facebook. No other users can see the transaction, only the product image and description. The system complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard that requires retailers to secure credit and debit card information, says Resource Interactive.

The campaign, which Procter & Gamble aims to replicate with more of its brands, was an attempt to offer its more than 215,000 Facebook fans something unique-and to do so on a web site they were already visiting, says a Procter & Gamble spokeswoman.

Resource Interactive generally charges around $30,000 in start-up fees for its Off the Wall software. The program lets retailers create a small e-commerce experience within Facebook. The program also integrates with a retailer`s order management system. For each additional campaign, Resource Interactive says it charges around $500 and takes a small share of revenue as commission. Resource Interactive declined to disclose the cost associated with the Procter & Gamble campaign.

The campaign puts P&G; in a small group of retailers and consumer goods manufacturers selling directly to consumers via Facebook, the hugely popular social network that attracted nearly 112 million unique U.S. visitors in December, according to web measurement firm comScore Inc. Among the few retailers that have a permanent e-commerce feature on Facebook are e-retailer Inc. and Avon Products Inc.’s Mark cosmetics brand. Limited Brands, a multichannel retailer whose brands include Victoria’s Secret, also has made limited-time offers on Facebook.



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