December 14, 2010, 1:58 PM

J.C. Penney goes social

The retailer launches an application that allows consumers to complete purchases on Facebook.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

Department store retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. today launched a Facebook shopping shopping application that allows consumers to cull through its offerings and complete a transaction without leaving the social network.

By making shopping more accessible, J.C. Penney aims to drive sales, says Nick Bomersback, vice president of customer experience for J.C. Penney, No. 16 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

"We hope that by helping our fans share items they like with their friends and by providing suggested items or categories of merchandise in posts to our fans that can be immediately purchased without leaving Facebook we'll encourage our fans to shop on Facebook," he says. "We believe this will make it easier for fans and customers to see a great item or a special offer and respond."


The retailer worked with Usablenet to launch the shopping feature, which allows consumers to search, share, click that they Like, discuss and purchase items without leaving Facebook.

A consumer can access the shopping application via a Shop tab on the retailer’s Facebook page. After clicking the tab, she has to give permission to allow shopjcpenney to access certain Facebook information, such as her name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends and any other information that she has shared with everyone in her network.

Once she does that, the consumer can browse through 11 departments that feature some of the inventory from J.C. Penney’s, ranging from women’s apparel to jewelry and watches. Each product page features an image of the product, a short product description, a Share button that allows a consumer to post comments about the product on her wall and a Like button.

After finding what she is looking for, she can click Add to Bag and then complete the transaction on the site.

The application ties into Google Analytics so that the retailer can analyze the return on investment of its efforts by tracking campaigns, page metrics and conversions.

“Retailers, such as J.C. Penney, can now drive revenue by engaging with fans, displaying products, supporting full purchase, and tracking analytics within their Facebook communities,” says Nick Taylor, Usablenet president.

J.C. Penney follows retailers like the Limited and in attempting to leverage Facebook as a selling channel. But few retailers have disclosed sales on the platform.

Comments | 2 Responses

  • Though the idea of online currencies is very promising, i think it will be a complete disaster on faceboook. This is as facebook is simply too insecure to ever have a safe currency system. Social Exchange by a company called MyCube is going to be the worlds first Social Exchange. and it sounds very appealing. Lets hope it lives up to its promise and is secure

  • If this is what big companies think the future of social commerce is, then they’re unlikely to see any return-on-investment from their social media efforts. Here are my top three reasons that I think J.C. Penney made this misguided move (and why other retailers shouldn’t follow):

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