Another Facebook application for selling products is Nimbit MyStore for Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/yzvdzxh). Nimbit seems to be going more for the rock band trying to sell merchandise angle (so they offer features like the ability to sell tickets or downloadable music), but I don’t see why you couldn’t use it to sell merchandise for your shop. Nimbit has several offerings that range from free to about $20 a month.
CONTENT MEETS SELLING
Moving away from Facebook, I want to point out that there’s a growing number of widgets that allow you to place shopping experiences on more content-centered (as opposed to shopping-centered) websites and pages. A widget is a small bit of code that you embed in a webpage that provides a little area or box where something shows up that gives people information (weather, race results, etc.) or, in our case, a product display with the ability to buy.
These widgets allow what I call contextual commerce, where you can offer products that go along with the content the visitor is reading. Writing a post in your blog about how to bleed the brakes? Why not have a widget in the sidebar selling brake fluid, brake bleeders, pads, etc.?
Quite a few people are playing in this widget area. A couple of leads to get you started: Shopit (www.shopit.com) and CartFly (www.cartfly.com). Even Amazon (https://widgets.amazon.com) has widgets that let you sell products it offers (or that you have loaded as an Amazon merchant) on your site.
Also check out Widgetbox (a clearinghouse of all things widget). Go to the e-commerce tag www.widgetbox.com/tag/ecommerce. Finally, of course, you can always Google “e-commerce widgets” to find more of the latest and greatest as developers keep the wheels of progress humming along.
A Facebook storefront or an e-commerce widget on your blog is likely not going to generate a huge amount of sales. Most people are not in the shopping mood when they visit social sites. But having a good selection of impulse-purchase and gifty items makes a lot of sense. It puts a few more hooks in the water, and it keeps you abreast of what’s going on in the world of e-commerce technology and off-site merchandising.
If you give this a try, please let me know how it works for you!
This story originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Dealernews