February 11, 2011, 12:12 PM

TheHungerSite.com’s Facebook shopping tab drives traffic to its site

However, not every retailer benefits from listing items on the social network.

Lead Photo

Facebook followers of any of The GreaterGood Network’s pages, which include The Hunger Site, The Breast Cancer Site and the Animal Rescue Site, can browse those sites’ e-commerce offerings on the social network via a tab on the retailer’s Facebook page. That ability to put its entire product line in Facebook has enabled social marketing to account for between 10% and 20% of the retailer’s sales, says Ryan Cool, outbound marketing manager at CharityUSA, parent company of the GreaterGood Network.

The Facebook tab that features the retailer’s product mix is powered by comparison shopping site SortPrice.com, which says it has created shopping sites on Facebook for more than 1,400 retailers by using the product data those retailers send in their normal feed. The Facebook shopping site is free to merchants that pay SortPrice monthly fees for enhanced listings on SortPrice.com; those fees start at $149.99 per month for listing up to 1,000 products, and range up to $649.99 for listing up to 50,000 items with logos. SortPrice charges no additional fee per click.

“By giving consumers our full shopping experience without them having to leave Facebook allows us to drive traffic without us having to do any additional marketing,” Cool says. “That means that that traffic boost is just gravy.”

When a consumer clicks on an item, he is led to the retailer’s e-commerce site where he can complete the transaction. “They’re basically window shopping when they’re on Facebook,” says Cool. “If they’re going to make a purchase we want them to have the full site experience.”

Moreover, he says, his customers aren’t comfortable completing a purchase on Facebook.

The GreaterGood Network’s inventory is part of the more than 7.6 million products valued at $3.78 billion featured on Facebook using the SortPrice application.

However, not every retailer is sure that SortPrice’s Facebook presence adds value.

“I’ve literally collected zero dollars from my Sortprice connection,” says Charlie Benyameen, owner of online-only consumer electronics retailer AceBeach.com, which began working with SortPrice in October.

Part of the reason, he says, is that the tab hasn’t helped his business gain Facebook followers. As of Feb. 11, the site had 99 consumers Like its page.

“I thought having our products on Facebook would get consumers interested in what we’re doing,” he says. “But it hasn’t worked out the way I thought it would.”

A SortPrice spokesman says the reason sites like the HungerSite gain benefits from the vendor’s tabs while others do not is because a tab alone won’t engage consumers. Rather, having product listings should be part of a broader social marketing campaign, he says.

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