March 1, 2010, 12:00 AM literally repositions itself on Facebook, moving buying right up front

Seven months after it launched an e-commerce presence on Facebook, the floral and gifts retailer upgraded its online store on the social networking site with a new shopping experience in time for Valentine’s Day.

When Inc. launched its Facebook store last July, the store was one of 15 tabs on the page. “Our customers had to come find us,” says Kevin Ranford, director of web marketing.

Ranford says engagement was good, but declines to disclose sales. And after only seven months the retailer is moving to make its Facebook store more visible.

The e-retailer adjusted its Facebook design last month, just before Valentine’s Day., which worked with ad network and e-commerce applications developer Alvenda Inc. to develop its Facebook e-commerce functionality, is now pushing out special offers that feature select items to its fans’ news feeds. Fans can complete a purchase without leaving the news feed, essentially the home page.

“Users come to Facebook to do certain things, like update their status and engage with friends,” he says. “Buying things may not be the foremost of what they’re looking to do. But if we engage them where they already are, it seems like an obvious way to change that.”

Easy to find

Before the change buying something via the 1-800-Flowers Facebook store required a shopper to find the retailer’s Facebook fan page. That was no easy task since a Facebook search of “1-800-Flowers” brings up 73 groups and eight pages. Even once he found the page, he had to find the store’s tab.

With 1-800-Flowers’ new approach, every fan of the retailer can see and immediately act upon offers without leaving the news feed page. A click on the offer expands the window into a fully functioning shopping space where a shopper can enter all the information required for a purchase.

If he wants to continue shopping, he can click on a button that redirects him to the 1-800-Flowers Facebook store that features around 10% of the company’s inventory. And, when a fan engages with the offer-by making a purchase or clicking the site’s “like” button-his friends can see that activity.

Ranford says the retailer expects to see significant growth in its Facebook sales as a result of the change.

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