April 6, 2010, 12:00 AM

E-retailer Equestrian Collections corrals sales on Facebook

Equestrian Collections is closing 500 sales each month directly from Facebook, and building relationships with its nearly 15,000 fans, says president Chris Duggan.

E-retailer Equestrian Collections is generating 500 sales per month directly from its Facebook presence, and that number is growing about 10% each month, says president Chris Duggan. But the sales represent only a part of Facebook’s value, Duggan says.

Facebook provides a way for consumers to learn about the company without leaving the Facebook environment they trust, Duggan says. “People who stumbled upon us by putting ‘equestrian’ or ‘horse’ into Facebook search can get a peak into what we do,” she says. “It’s a confidence builder, which is one of the reasons we have it here.”

On Equestrian Collections’ Facebook pages, consumers can add items to a wish list, share them with friends, add a review or navigate to EquestrianCollections.com. They can also see the e-retailer’s product catalog and click to buy.

That shopping function is provided by comparison shopping site SortPrice.com, which says it has created shopping sites on Facebook for more than 1,000 retailers, using the product data those retailers send in their normal feed. The Facebook shopping site is free to merchants that pay SortPrice monthly fees for enhanced listings on SortPrice.com; those fees start at $149.99 per month for listing up to 1,000 products, and range up to $649.99 for listing up to 50,000 items with logos. SortPrice charges no additional fee per click.

Equestrian Collections began using the SortPrice Facebook service last summer, initially letting Facebook users see its products and add them to wish lists. After the holiday season, the e-retailer changed the wish list to a shopping tab, enabling consumers to click to buy items they see on Facebook.

The merchant also posts six to eight times a day to its Facebook page. “This is small, but it’s 15,000 people listening to our message every day,” Duggan says. “That’s powerful, and it doesn’t cost us very much.” She says she has one employee who spends about half-time handling social media initiatives, and pays industry experts to post each day to the retailer’s Facebook page. The retailer had 14,785 Facebook fans as of this morning.

Equestrian Collections uses ChannelAdvisor Corp. to feed its product data to SortPrice and other comparison shopping the sites. The retailer, which has been selling online for six years, does not report its sales.

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