January 18, 2010, 12:00 AM

A small coffee and tea e-retailer launches a Facebook store

Equator Estate Coffee and Teas has launched a Facebook store that sells limited-quantity items not available on its web site.

Equator Estate Coffee and Teas, a small, San Rafael, CA-based e-retailer, has officially launched a Facebook store.

The company worked with e-commerce applications developer Milyoni Inc. to develop the site.

The Facebook store features seasonal offerings not available on Equator Estate’s web site, which the company is in the midst of overhauling. The web site is too cumbersome to constantly update with small-batch, high-end offerings, says Helen Russell, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “On Facebook we can offer smaller quantities of really great, Grand Cru microlot coffees that are limited offerings that we can get out quickly,” she says. “Being a small company it would be too costly and time-consuming to regularly add and remove those coffees from our web site. With Facebook, those updates are instant.”

While there is some crossover between the shoppers at the Equator Estate web site and Facebook store, that overlap is minimal, says Russell. That means the Facebook store also offers Equator Estate a new revenue-generating opportunity.

Since the retailer spent less than $1,000 to get the Facebook store up and running-and pays Milyoni a sales commission of less than 5% on Facebook sales-Russell isn’t concerned about realizing a return on investment. "Facebook was such a minimum outlay that, in my mind, the ROI is already there,” she says.

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