Montessori for Everyone, an online retailer of educational materials for schools and home-schoolers that follow Montessori teaching methods, has nearly doubled its volume of traffic from Facebook to its retail web site, Montessoriforeveryone.com, since deploying a shopping section on the popular social network, says Lori Bourne, the retailer’s owner.
"Our Facebook page has become one of my favorite places—a way to interact with existing customers and meet new people all at once,” Bourne says. “By sharing a wide variety of helpful links, I can attract people to my Facebook page and then introduce them to my business."
In addition to offering her Facebook visitors a wide range of web content, including text, photos, and forums related to Montessori teaching methods, Bourne is using Infomart 200 Corp.’s 3DCart shopping cart software, which is hosted by the vendor, to display some of her company’s retail products. The navigation bar across the top of the page provides typical Facebook links for Wall, Info, Photos and Discussions, followed by a fifth link to Online Store.
The online store is basically a storefront, Bourne says, where visitors can view small images and brief descriptions of products, including illustrated documents about physics and photographs and charts of the solar system. Clicking either a product image or an adjacent More Info button takes a Facebook visitor directly to a buy page on Montessoriforeveryone.com.
Although Bourne was unable to comment on the volume of sales or the conversion rate of the Facebook storefront, she says it has boosted the number of visitors to her e-commerce site arriving from Facebook. “Traffic from Facebook has almost doubled since we deployed the Facebook Online Store,” she says. She adds that her site has more than 6,000 Facebook fans.
3DCart’s pricing is based primarily on the amount of bandwidth its clients use. Pricing ranges from $20 per month for up to 2,000 visitors per month to $500 per month for unspecified high traffic volumes. Bourne declines to specify what she pays for the 3DCart technology, but notes that it suits her needs. “I’m high on their pricing tier because I get a lot of traffic, but the cost is still reasonable,” she says.
Retailers using 3DCart also pay one-time set-up fees ranging from $49 to $299, depending on traffic volume.
"Using social media is double-edged; it appears simple but actually takes time and thought to do it well,” Bourne adds. “However, done correctly, social media is a tool that can have powerful results for small business owners."