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11/23/2010
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Shoutlet Announces Facebook Storefront Tool

The Shop & Share application lets businesses create custom storefronts on FaceBook fan pages that incorporate social sharing options.

Shoutlet announced Tuesday "Shop & Share" for businesses who want a FaceBook fan page storefront. The tool also includes social elements, including sharing purchasing decisions or asking questions of Facebook friends or connections on other social sites.

Shop & Share lets companies create a customized "storefront" in FaceBook that appears as a tab on a FaceBook page. According to the Shoutlet, "Shop & Share fulfills the need to easily and quickly create a Facebook storefront without a custom creation cycle that can take weeks to complete. It is a solution that can be created in drag-and-drop style and implemented instantly. With Shop & Share, the retailer maintains ownership of the purchase experience with the actual 'buy' conversion taking place on the retailer's check-out site, versus a third-party platform."

Shop & Share does not include a "shopping cart" or otherwise supporting any actual selling; FaceBook users would click on product links to take them to the company's selling page.

"Shop & Share is a component of what we call FaceBook management," said Aaron Everson, president and COO, Shoutlet. "Shop & Share listing includes a 'where to purchase link,' like to your company's website; a 'share' button under your own stream, for, say, asking opinions; and the ability to share information. You can have hundreds or even thousands of products."

Businesses can easily change and update entries, according to Everson. "For example, each tab can be automatically published and deactivated at a time you choose, and Shop & Share tabs can include current price and sale price for shopper comparison."

The "social shopping experience," said Everson, can be as significant as the actual purchases, in that recommendations and discussions can lead to more purchases. "And this lets retailers retain control over the shopping experience, like keeping the analytics data."

Kailin Terrill, marketing manager, BikeBandit.com, a Shop & Share beta user, said, "A digital storefront is a significant part of our online marketing success. Being able to create a uniquely designed e-commerce tab on Facebook allows us to not only engage with our fan base on the world's largest social site, but also watch them share our products with their friends and then drive customers to our website where they can dive deeper into our company and what we have to offer."

Ina Steiner, editor, AuctionBytes.com, a trade publication for online merchants, commented, "Everybody in the e-commerce space is trying to figure out FaceBook, and to recreate the social aspects of shopping like other people's opinions that can drive sales. Amazon was a pioneer of this, with their 'reviews,' for example. Any brand that can help their shoppers share potential purchases will benefit, and any service that makes it easier to work with FaceBook can be tremendously helpful."

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