October 13, 2011, 9:16 AM

3balls presents Facebook fans with personalized product recommendations

The retailer hopes the effort leads more shoppers to buy.

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Despite working with site search vendor Nextopia Software Corp. to put its product catalog on Facebook, online retailer of golf equipment 3balls.com Inc. hasn’t seen many consumers peruse its offerings. That’s because consumers aren’t coming to the retailer’s Facebook page to browse its products, says Doug Smith, the retailer’s vice president of marketing and business development.

Rather, retailers need to compel shoppers to shop or browse on the social network—using the same techniques they use on their web sites, he says. That’s why 3balls recently worked with personalization vendor Barilliance to offer consumers four personalized recommendations based on their previous shopping on the retailer’s site.

“Having an entire catalog isn’t that effective because it requires shoppers to page through it,” he says. “But showing a few product recommendations gives fans a reason to visit our fan page.”

The technology uses a cookie to track a consumer’s actions on 3balls.com. It compares the consumer’s actions to other shoppers on the site and presents the consumer with the products that others tended to buy, regardless of whether the consumer is on the retailer’s site or Facebook.

Smith says it is too early to say whether the recommendations have boosted engagement with its products on the social network. However, on its web site consumers who click on a recommendation convert four times higher than those who don’t. With 35% of shoppers clicking on a recommendation, that provides a significant boon to the site. If the retailer can replicate a fraction of those results it will consider the efforts a success, Smith says.

3balls is No. 425 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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