Launched in November, Shopcade is the first-of-its-kind Facebook shopping application that has over 40 million products from over 20,000 brands within it. It has disrupted the f-commerce space as it means brands can have visibility on Facebook, without having their own platform, and for consumers it means they can browse, compare, and recommend products and brands, all without leaving their favourite social network.
Nathalie Gaveau is the founder of Shopcade.com. Shopcade is a first-of-its-kind shopping experience in Facebook that lets users to browse, shop and create their own personal storefronts they can share with friends, allowing them to shop and earn together. Prior to creating Shopcade.com in 2010, Nathalie spent six years in Asia Pacific working in the digital, e-business and sales and marketing sectors. She was the E-Commerce & CRM Manager for Club Med APAC. Subsequently, she managed the digital division of the global communications group TBWA. Earlier in her career, she co-founded and managed the French e-commerce website PriceMinister.com which sold to Rakuten in June 2010 for €200 million. For further information visit www.shopcade.com and follow Nathalie Gaveau on Twitter @NathGaveau
Are the consumers that use social networks now more open to commercial messages?
Brands have been reaching out to consumer audiences on social networks for some time now and I believe that commercial messages have always been present. However, to interact effectively with fans or followers, a brand needs to engage with them on an emotional level rather than on a commercial one. This will encourage engagement, and therefore aid the endorsement of the brand through the user’s activity of liking, commenting or re-tweeting.
The difference that we are starting to see now is that consumers are shaping the future of retail in ways never seen before. The adoption of social media now means that consumers are more recommendation hungry than ever before – and when you combine this with technical advancements and the modern need of instant gratification, there’s little doubt that social shopping will be a huge part of our futures.
What are your top tips for selling on Facebook?
Many brands made mistakes in the early days of social media, and some still do, thinking that they are in control and I think the same applies to selling within Facebook. The consumers are really in control so to be successful it’s important to empower the shopper, allowing them to do what the platform is designed for, that is, having conversations, sharing and recommending. Furthermore, the recession has changed our brand aspirations, purchasing habits and buying power so choice is central to consumers.
Are businesses integrating f-commerce into their enterprises and understanding how this sales channel should be used with their overall e-commerce platform?
When you consider the number of businesses out there, there are very few which have store fronts within Facebook. Costs, consumer concerns over security, and waiting to see which way the tide will turn are all factors that contribute to this. This is one reason why Shopcade has been so successful in attracting retail partners. We have many fashion, music and electrical brands who enjoy the visibility Shopcade provides within Facebook – yet they do not have to integrate f-commerce themselves. Brands that have exceptional social media strategies are successfully driving their audience towards their e-commerce offering but I’m not sure anyone has found the key to integrating and balancing the two.
Can you identify any key trends with the retailers that are using Facebook at the moment?
The whole point of Facebook is to get involved with people’s conversations on a more emotional level. Retailers who use Facebook do so as part of their persuasive marketing activity – but it can be quite difficult to do this and also provide a wealth of products at a discoverable level. Shopcade has 27,000 brands on the platform so multi-level referral marketing is a viable option for a huge number of retailers. And as Facebook puts the consumer in the driving seat, the Shopcade model offers people what they want, which is true choice.
They can browse and recommend products from all their favourite brands and high street shops at once. Not only have we brought shopping to the consumer, we’ve done it with sharing and accessibility in mind, almost replicating the high street experience but without the leg work, and with all of your friends can be there at your side to tell you what they think.
Companies that have been successful using Facebook have used discounting and other promotional offers. Will this remain how consumers see Facebook, or will Facebook become a ‘social Amazon’?
Offers given to the consumer via an ‘exclusive’ route will always remain, regardless of if this is done via Facebook or direct email. However, I’m sure there will be more interesting promotions as f-commerce develops, which will no doubt be influenced by the newer technologies, such as NFC. I decided early on in the conception of Shopcade that it should be true to its core values, which are based around empowering the consumer. Therefore, once a person has set up their own Shopcade store and filled it with any number of products from the 40 million plus available, they are rewarded with a cash commission for every purchase or sale made.
Big brands seem to be just experimenting with Facebook. What’s stopping them embracing f-commerce? Waiting to see what happens post IPO perhaps?
In July 2011, the Havas Media Social 2011 Social Commerce Survey found that 38 per cent of people believe that none of their online shopping over the next year will be conducted via a social network. This is sensible – why would a customer purchase via a social network when it’s just as easy for them to visit a brand’s website to make a purchase? We certainly seem to have a bit of a chicken and egg situation and for f-commerce to be successful it needs to fulfill consumers’ needs in a new and innovative way. Shopcade endeavours to do this by creating true social shopping – we aim to meet consumers’ ever growing desire for originality, recommendations, convenience and importantly, choice.