By James Brightman
Facebook has slowly crept up on the business world. It’s no longer just about ‘liking’ posts and finding old friends. Facebook will probably become a leader of e-commerce, and companies realising the vast potential of the social network are diving in. Warner Bros. already stated its plans to offer rentals and purchases of movies, and now we’ve learned that GameStop is continuing its expansion plans by launching a new Facebook store (secured by McAfee) to provide social commerce to more than 1.8 million Facebook fans.
GameStop has leveraged the e-commerce technology of Adgregate Markets to provide social shopping on its Facebook page through Adgregate’s proprietary ShopFans solution. It’s worth noting that GameStop, which is ranked #115 on Internet Retailer’s Top 500 List and 3rd in the sub-category of Toys/Hobbies, is the first multichannel gaming company to launch a storefront on Facebook.
The Facebook store boasts “more rich media, like product videos, reviews and ratings, store finders, product carousels, likes and shares, than any store ever launched in Facebook,” and GameStop and Adgregate also noted that they’re ushering in two industry “firsts” by enabling fans to pre-order titles for guaranteed in-store delivery pick up and allowing fans to earn and redeem points when making purchases in Facebook in its PowerUp Rewards loyalty program (which currently has eight million plus members).
“Social commerce on Facebook is a natural complement to our trusted store and online networks,” said Kelly Mulroney, vice president of e-commerce at GameStop. “We have millions of customers already engaging with us on Facebook, and ShopFans gives those loyal fans more reasons than ever to shop GameStop across multiple channels.”
“We are on the cusp of the Second Internet (the Social Internet) where retailers that leverage interconnectivity and engage with their customers in the dialogue in creative and authentic ways will be the clear winners,” said Lou Kerner, Social Media Analyst for Wedbush Securities, “GameStop’s new Facebook store provides a blueprint for the new social store, where design, usability, and the cool factor are now seamlessly integrated with the Facebook social graph. This store is a game changer for the burgeoning f-commerce industry.”
“Gamers and affinity groups are always creating buzz online and through word of mouth for games and entertainment brands,” said John Underwood, COO of Adgregate Markets. “ShopFans is a perfect fit for GameStop to turn customers’ social conversations into purchase conversions while they’re in their preferred online destination.”
In a phone conversation with IndustryGamers, Underwood said that Adgregate pitched GameStop on the storefront idea about six months ago. Perhaps more interestingly, the timing seems ideal if you consider the two purchases of Impulse and Spawn Labs, as GameStop seeks to expand its digital presence. Although the Facebook storefront initially seems organised around the pre-orders and purchases of physical product, it’s quite easy to envision how GameStop could quickly utilise its newly acquired digital talents to make Facebook a truly digital destination to either offer cloud-based streams (a la Gaikai streaming games in Facebook) or digital download purchases.
“That makes a lot of sense and our platform works with digital or physical products,” Underwood told us. “We expect to continue innovating with their store and I would expect to roll out new features; certainly digital distribution is something we’re ready to do if they are as well.”
Of course, if Adgregate’s tech is powering these storefronts, couldn’t publishers just create their own pages on Facebook to sell games? Why would they need GameStop? Underwood labelled it “a fascinating question,” but he ultimately commented that “most publishers still favour the established games channels like GameStop, and even in the context of Facebook we’re having conversations with publishers who are going to launch mini-versions of the GameStop store specifically for their titles.”
That way they can still provide a direct to consumer experience for fans but also leverage the e-commerce infrastructure GameStop already has in place. “That’s the win-win for publishers,” said Underwood. “It’s not to cut out retailers like GameStop, but it’s to work with them to continue distributing storefronts everywhere they’re engaged with their consumers.”