November 18, 2011, 4:06 PM

A Facebook experiment produces sweet results for Blair Candy

The candy retailer is experiencing an 11% conversion rate on its new Facebook store.

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E-retailer Blair Candy wanted to do more with social media, but was not sure what type of strategy would resonate best with shoppers. So the small merchant launched a new Facebook store about two weeks ago as an experiment, says owner Pam Macharola.

“I really was not thinking that people would get on there to actually buy things,” she says. “But with Facebook, that’s where everybody is. So we did it just to try it out and see if people actually would feel comfortable enough or even try it. And they did.”

When the new store was up and running, Blair Candy sent out an e-mail to customers with a 10% discount they could use toward purchases on the Facebook store only. Since then, the store has maintained an 11% conversion rate, she says.

Macharola has also been able to get more insight on her customer base—a better sense of who they are and where they spend their time online. “It taught me how many of my customers are on Facebook,” she says. “My main shock really was the older people that went there. My mother is on Facebook, but she goes on there to see pictures of her grandchildren—she’s not shopping. So I was surprised to see that.”

Macharola chose to work with Solid Cactus Inc. on her Facebook store, as the web design and development company could create a store for her where shoppers could complete their purchases without leaving the social network.

“With a lot of Facebook stores I’ve seen in the past, you click the Buy button, and it directs you to that retailer’s site,” she says. “With mine, you can shop and still see your friends’ activity. That’s the only way I thought it could work.”

The new set-up with Solid Cactus is tied into Blair Candy’s Yahoo e-commerce platform. As a result,  if Macharola adds a new product to her e-commerce site or updates a description the new information shows up on her Facebook store without any added work.

Blair Candy paid Solid Cactus around $800 to set up the Facebook store, an amount that Macharola says the retailer was able to more than make up for from one e-mail blast alone.

“This is making me think I need to up my game on Facebook a lot more now,” she adds. “I really was not thinking that people would get on there to shop. But I guess Facebook, that’s where everybody is.”

Blair Candy is No. 877 in Internet Retailer’s Second 500 Guide and brought in $2.1 million in web sales last year.

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