February 24, 2011, 2:20 PM

Keeping Facebook order processing simple

Rock Bottom Golf works with vendors to ensure Facebook orders don’t require special handling.

Lead Photo

Half of all active Facebook users log on to the social network on any given day, according to Facebook. Moreover, Hitwise data show the average user spends nine minutes per visit to the site.

Consumers’ deep engagement with the social network is why Rock Bottom Golf launched a Facebook storefront in December, says Brian Schwank, the retailer’s director of marketing.

Rock Bottom Golf, No. 287 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, used technology from Adgregate Markets’ ShopFans application to set up the storefront. Facebook members’ interactions with ShopFans are noted in the Facebook news feed, which is the first page members see when they log on to the social network.

But because many shoppers aren’t ready to use Facebook for comparison shopping, the retailer’s storefront features a direct call to action by offering a single item that changes daily, he says. The page, called “Scratch’s Daily Deal of the Day,” occasionally offers the same item as the retailer’s web site’s “Deal of the Day.”

“We’re monitoring the traffic in both places to see what works best,” says Schwank.

Key to launching the Facebook storefront was keeping the order management and payment processing systems simple, he says.

“We didn’t want to have to do any manual involvement,” he says. “We wanted it work with our existing systems.”

Rock Bottom Golf manages Facebook orders through ChannelAdvisor’s Inventory Service. The vendor, which helps retailers sell through online marketplaces and other sites, integrates the storefront’s sales with the retailer’s inventory management system to give Rock Bottom Golf a single system for tracking orders.

To process orders through the storefront, web site security vendor McAfee accepts payments data through Facebook, which it then sends to CyberSource’s Authorize.Net payments gateway, which funnels online transactions to payment networks. All Rock Bottom Golf had to do to make the processes work was give ShopFans an Authorize.Net log-in for its payment portal and a transaction key.After that, payments work the same as on RockBottomGolf.com, says Schwank.

While sales have been slow, the lack of resources that have to be dedicated to operating the storefront make it worthwhile, he says.

“It’s a really great opportunity,” he says. “We’ve seen some people try it out and we expect more will follow.”

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