What does the new Facebook Send button mean for retailers?

April 26, 2011

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Lots of news in Facebook commerce this week! FB released the new Send button yesterday and then launched Deals today.  In this post we’ll dig into Send and we’ll be covering Deals in detail today as well.  As is the purview of this blog, we’ll look at both of these new offerings through the lens of an online retailer.

For the Send button, we’ll first look at ‘why do we need send?”, followed by a general example of how it works and finally a online retailer example.  As usual we are eager to hear your thoughts in comments.

Like, Share, Send -why do we need another Facebook ‘button’?

The Like button and Share have been huge successes with FB reporting that Like alone is on over 2.5m websites just about a year after it’s release.  Yesterday FB announced a new Like-like (Like-ish? Like-esque?) button with different functions called Send.

Send allows a FB user to privately (not reflected on their wall, but does use the FB message system for on-FB and normal email for off-FB addresses) send a link to some content.

Here’s a round up of each button in case you are confused:

  • Like – Consumer Likes the content.  The Like shows up on the consumers wall and allows the retailer to message them going forward. (Just like Liking a Page).  Likes also show up in profiles and can be used for promoted stories.
  • Share – Consumer shares the content – they broadly publish it to their wall and/or a group or list of friends.
  • Send – Consumer sends the content to a list of FB users and/or non-FB email addresses.

How does Send work?

Here’s a brief four-step walkthrough of how Send works on a content site – The Washington Post.

(Note: Click on any image to enlarge)

Step 1 – Consumer sees the Send button around the content

Note in this implementation the send is to the left of Like.

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Step 2 – Consumer clicks Send, an interactive pop-up appears

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Step 3 – Consumer enters FB-friend, group or email addresses as well as message

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Step 4 – Confirm and email is sent.

The confirmation appears for literally half a second, but this is what the email looks like when delivered via traditional email.

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What does Send mean to Online Retailers?

Initially it may seem that this is really best for content providers vs. retailers, but one of the things we’ve learned in Facebook commerce is that you don’t want to be blasting out a bunch of product information, likes, etc. especially if it will spoil a surprise for someone who is your FB friend.  Incidentally I have the reverse of this – because of the blog, I like all kinds of brands and then my wife is disappointed when I don’t show up with something from Nordstroms, but I digress ;-).

Here’s a situation where Send makes a ton of sense in retail:

  • Potential buyer wants to ask friends about a product, but wants to do so in private.  Maybe they don’t want to blast out to everyone they are looking for something or they don’t want to spoil a surprise.
  • A conversation can be started around that product on and off facebook in private
  • The buyer purchases the item based on friends feedback.

 

Here’s two pieces of that consumer experience:

  • Send button on an item page cohabitating with it’s BFF Like Button:

 

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  • Potential buyer Sends to his friends to get their opinions:

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Conclusion and for more info…

Send is another ‘off Facebook’ integration point for retailers to consider.  If you have a like button, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t offer a Send as well for those users that may want to forward your product, offer, content to select friends on and off facebook in a more private setting.  More options = more sharing = more conversions – seems like a no-brainer.

For more information check out:

  • The blog post announcing Send here. (which ironically does not have a send button!)
  • Developer-level details on how to implement Send here.