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12/16/2010
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JCPenney Sets Up Shop In Facebook

Retailer is the first major retail chain to launch a fully integrated store on its Facebook page.

JCPenney Sets Up Shop In Facebook
JCPenney On Facebook
People talk in Facebook. But will they shop?

JCPenney is about to find out. The retailer has become the first major retail chain to launch a fully integrated store on its Facebook page. Shoppers can browse and buy JCPenney merchandise entirely within the social network. Delta Air Lines offers flight bookings from its Facebook page, and 1-800-Flowers offers a "shoplet" on its page. Wet Seal, a retailer of girls' clothes, lets people post and rate outfits in Facebook using its clothes, but they need to go to its Web site to shop.

The JCPenney store includes the usual features of an online consumer experience: product pages, shopping cart, checkout, credit card payments, and so forth. But it adds elements of social shopping, too: Consumers can "like" and share JCPenney products and purchases seamlessly with their Facebook friends. Product pages use Facebook's reviews API, so any of the social network's 500 million users can leave comments.

The social integration is most apparent on individual product pages, where Facebook's ever-present Like button and comment box are prominent. The box lets people post to the product page and their own Facebook profile simultaneously.

For JCPenney, which has more than 1.3 million Facebook fans, the user comments signify the power and potential downside for a retailer in Facebook. "The first person that can't transact on the JCPenney site is already in an environment in which they can instantly let 1.3 million people know that," says Ovum analyst Mike Davis. Sure enough, on day two, a would-be shopper posted on JCPenney's wall: "The store doesn't work!"

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