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1-800-Flowers Pings Facebook for eCommerce

1-800-Flowers.com has enabled registered fans of its Facebook page to order floral arrangements right on Facebook.

Customers can shop 1-800-Flowers.com and execute transactions without leaving Facebook. Using technology from online ad network Alvenda, the site also lets users gain access to an online product assortment by clicking on a "shop" button. They can browse items, place them in a cart, select a delivery date, and send.

Planned upgrades include birthday calendars and group gifting options, MediaBuyerPlanner writes.

While numerous retailers have pages on Facebook and other social networking sites with some degree of customer interactivity, the majority have not yet enabled them for e-commerce. Facebook pages may contain coupons, promo videos and customer-generated content, but are primarily extensions of branding.

Pizza retailer Papa John's, which is very active on Facebook, is a typical example of how retailers are leveraging Facebook to connect with consumers. Visitors to Papa John's Facebook page [reg. req’d.] are greeted by a poll about their favorite Papa John's specialty pizza. There are also links to the main Papa John's e-commerce site for ordering pizzas (including a special price), locating stores and joining the customer email list. Customers can post comments and engage in online discussion threads, or view promo videos and TV commercials.

Facebook, which reports more than 200 million users worldwide, is the most popular social networking site. Yet according to the most recent Consumer Internet Barometer report from The Conference Board, only 43% of US internet users participate in social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

However, this is a 16-percentage point jump from the 27% of users participating in social networking sites a year ago.

As of July 29, 2009, 1-800-Flowers.com has 1,622 registered fans. It is uncertain whether the retailer’s new Facebook e-commerce push will generate large numbers of new customers or significant participation. One thing is certain: if the 1-800-Flowers.com Facebook e-commerce experiment proves successful, many other retailers will imitate it.

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