September 30, 2010, 2:52 PM

New Shop.com application lets shoppers compare prices from merchants’ Facebook fan pages

Newly launched on Shop.com’s own Facebook fan page, the application is available free to merchants during a trial period.

Comparison shopping engine Shop.com’s new Facebook application allows visitors to its Facebook fan page to compare prices directly from that page using a search box. The application, launched this month and still in its beta testing period, imports the price-comparison functionality from Shop.com’s site to its fan page. It pulls in prices from feeds it receives from some 2,000 online stores representing categories ranging from apparel to electronics to small appliances, according to Shop.com.

The new shopping application also features product recommendations from top stores and categories that are selected by Shop.com’s merchandising team.

The application is available to merchants to install for free during the trial period, enabling visitors to those merchants’ Facebook fan pages to compare products without leaving the merchant’s fan page. The trial period will likely last for about a month, allowing Shop.com to adjust the application as needed based on feedback, according to a Shop.com spokeswoman.

Consumers want to consolidate pastimes such as shopping, connecting with friends and family and catching up with the news all at the same time, according to Roger Ritchie, vice president of marketing and business development at Shop.com. “We’re proud to be one of the first shopping comparison sites to enrich a customer’s Facebook experience with this convenient shopping functionality, not to mention giving our merchant partners the added benefit of additional exposure and branding,” he says.

To make a purchase, shoppers using the application are directed to a merchant’s web site, as is the case with shoppers visiting Shop.com’s web site.

“Most merchants are looking for additional value out of the feed-type relationships like they have with  Shop.com,” Ritchie adds. “Facebook as a retail channel is obviously in its very early stages. Even though it’s still unproven, we think there is a real opportunity in Facebook.”

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