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Small Merchants Embracing Facebook Commerce


With some 845 million monthly active users, Facebook is becoming a vibrant e-commerce platform for more than 100,000 small merchants who actively promote and sell products via Facebook storefronts, according to a study by Payvment.

Among those small merchants (72% have fewer than 500 Facebook fans), most (84%) promote their storefronts via Facebook engagement.

However, 39% of small merchants use Facebook Ads to promote their storefronts, and many use other outside channels to drive traffic, including Twitter (34%), email (30%), and print ads (12%):

Below, other findings from Payvment's F-Commerce Facts survey, based on a poll of 750 merchants from Payvment's seller base who use Facebook to promote and sell products.

Growing Popularity of Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are enjoying high favorability.

Among the merchants who have used Facebook Ads, 70% say they plan to do so again, citing the following reasons:

  • Effectiveness in fan and customer acquisition: 68%
  • The ability to start and stop campaigns: 60%
  • Facebook's targeting capabilities: 60%
  • Facebook Ads' ease of use: 55%

However, not all Facebook merchants have had success acquiring new fans and customers with Facebook Ads.

Among the 30% who say they wouldn't use Facebook Ads again, 68% report that they did not acquire many new fans or customers via the channel, and 65% say the ads are too expensive.

Other Promotional Tools

F-commerce merchants plan to increase their marketing efforts across multiple channels over the next six months.

Spending on Google Ads is expected to climb 38% over the period; print advertising is set to grow 30%, as is email marketing (29%) and direct mail (26%).

In addition, 21% more merchants plan to promote their Facebook store via their company website over the next six months.

Most Merchants Use Multiple Sales Channels

Facebook is the sole sales channel for more than one-third (37%) of sellers, but most (63%) sellers also have their own website. In addition, some 29% of merchants sell on eBay, 21% sell via Etsy, and 15% sell via Amazon.

F-commerce merchants are also using offline channels to sell their products, including retail outlets (29%) and trade or craft shows (30%).

What Merchants Like Most About Facebook

The survey also validates the appeal of Facebook as a platform for both marketing and selling products.

Asked what they like best about selling on Facebook, the most merchants cite the ability to promote their products via social marketing (61%), while 60% cite the benefit of customers' not having to leave Facebook to buy products.

Familiarity with Facebook and its ease of use are also perceived as major benefits of selling on Facebook: 50% of merchants say it is easy to set up and maintain a storefront on Facebook, and 40% say they like selling on Facebook because they are already familiar with how Facebook works.

One-third (33%) of F-commerce merchants say Facebook helps shoppers discover their products easier.

About the data: The survey was fielded online among a sample of 750 merchants from Payvment's seller base of 100,000+ business owners, February 15-28, 2012. Roughly 50% of merchants are new sellers on Facebook (less than three months) and 72% report having fewer than 500 fans. Sellers on Payvment's e-commerce platform drive nearly 80% of all the shopping on Facebook, according to Payvment.

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