As Facebook commerce slowly gains traction in the retail industry, merchants including Aeropostale and JCPenney are integrating storefronts into their brands’ Facebook pages. Chaparral Motorsports also is reaping the benefits of Facebook commerce by incorporating product search directly into its social networking account. In a partnership with SLI Systems, a site-search, merchandising and user-generated SEO solution provider, Chaparral Motorsports increased its Facebook-generated revenue by 26%.
“We discovered that nearly 40% of Facebook users who become fans do so to receive discounts and promotions, while 33% become fans to get updates about future products,” Ashby said. “Consumers looking for all three elements eventually intend to purchase. The inclusion of SLI Learning Search into our Facebook page was a unique way to provide more information about the motorcycle parts and accessories Chaparral offers, while also building a stronger relationship with Facebook users.”
Since the integration, the number of orders generated by Facebook searches doubled, and Chaparral Motorsports attained positive ROI, according to Ashby. The implementation also allowed the retailer to grow its fan base, raise awareness of promotions and new products, drive dialogue with its fans, and connect the dots between its social strategy and e-Commerce site, she added.
“The installation of the SLI Learning Search app enabled us to provide an engagement experience that is familiar and exclusive,” Ashby said. “Learning Search is an extension of our web site search so fans are familiar with the interface and capabilities. It also combines shopping with social networking, which provides the Facebook user an exclusive experience in a preferred environment. We recognized the benefit of this implementation through the increase of our monthly active users on Facebook.”
Overall conversion rates of users that interact with the Facebook search tool are significantly higher than non-users, Ashby noted. Company research revealed a 3.12% conversion rate for shoppers tapping into the Learning Search tool, while only 0.5% of shoppers who did not use the feature completed a transaction.
Learning Search is included in SLI Systems’ full-service suite of customized site search, navigation and merchandising solutions. The tool is designed to help retailers build search pages categorized by groups, and provide shoppers with a browsing experience that is more streamlined and cohesive. With Learning Search, retailers can determine most popular products and categorize them in order under specific groups.
The “Search for Parts” link appears in the left-hand navigation column of the Chaparral Motorsports Facebook page. Shoppers can browse inventory directly on the company’s site. Once consumers click on an item, they are redirected to the e-Commerce site where they can complete their purchases.
“I expect to see a lot more connection between search and social preferences during 2012,” said Thierry Costa, VP of Marketing for SLI Systems. “Site owners see the need to offer shopping and searching opportunities in places where people congregate online, which is a smarter approach than trying to lure people away from their social networks. For example, online retailers are adding search boxes to their Facebook pages, and allowing people to use their Facebook profiles as the sign-in to retailers’ e-Commerce sites.”
To enhance its social networking initiatives, Chaparral Motorsports featured the Facebook “Like” button to product pages on its web site, and is working towards incorporating this feature on its e-Commerce site search, according to Ashby. Features “provides the opportunity for viral marketing by the most influential people customers trust: their friends,” she said. “This initiative will maximize our social strategy by growing our fan base and raising awareness about our newest motorcycle parts and promotions.”