Full Facebook integration isn’t just for big retailers anymore

At IRWD, an Ulla Popken executive will explain how to build a better Facebook store.

Stefany Zaroban

Plus-size apparel retailer Ulla Popken is about a week away from rolling out its new Facebook store, one that is integrated with its MarketLive Inc. e-commerce platform, says Michelle Richenderfer, the retailer’s director of marketing.

That means shoppers will have nearly the same shopping experience on Facebook as they do on the retailer’s e-commerce site, with a drop-down navigation bar, zoom function and the ability to complete transactions on Facebook.

“We are really one of the first small or midsized retailers to do a full integration,” she adds says. “But some third-party providers are making this available to smaller retailers now. They should definitely look into this.”

Richenderfer will speak about how to create a strong Facebook store at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference 2012 in Orlando, FL, in February in a session entitled, "Creating a fresh face on Facebook: Standing out from the crowd.”

Ulla Popken’s back-end systems will be tied into its new Facebook store, so that when it adds a new product to its e-commerce site or updates product information that information will be instantly reflected in the Facebook store as well.

Ulla Popken Facebook store is different than others, she says. Many retailers’ Facebook stores simply list products on a Store tab of a Facebook page, so when shoppers click Buy they are directed back to the retailer’s e-commerce site. Some larger e-retailers have implemented a full Facebook integration, but the technology has largely been too expensive for smaller retailers, Richenderfer says. But that’s changing, she adds.

Ulla Popken is testing the MarketLive integration with Facebook and thus receives a discount on the technology. But Richenderfer says e-retailers that are already on the MarketLive platform and have a relatively simple e-commerce site like she does could spend as little as a few thousand dollars to get a Facebook store running. That amount will vary widely depending on the complexity of the site, and would also include an undetermined yearly maintenance fee. “I have heard bigger retailers are paying in the neighborhood of $50,000 to $70,000 for a full integration,” she says.

Ulla Popken is No. 510 in Internet Retailer’s Second 500 Guide and brought in an estimated $12 million in web sales in 2010.

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Richenderfer to speak because of her experience with building a loyal following on Facebook. She also has unique experience in being one of the first small online retailers to launch a fully integrated Facebook store with MarketLive.


Facebook store, IRWD 2012, MarketLive, Michelle Richenderfer, online apparel sales, plus-size apparel, site design, social media, Ulla Popken