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Facebook for Business: Five Applications for Creating a Facebook Store

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Patrice-Anne Rutledge, coauthor of Using Facebook, shows you how to add a store to your Facebook page, enabling you to sell your products directly on Facebook — and encourage your fans to spread the word about your products to their friends.
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With hundreds of millions of active users, Facebook is a great place to showcase your company's products. By adding a store to your Facebook page, not only can you sell your products, but you can also encourage other Facebook users to share your products with their friends. In this article, I'll introduce you to five Facebook store applications, and I'll show you how to choose the right app for your needs and budget.

Exploring Facebook Store Options

To add a store to your Facebook page, you need to install a Facebook store application. Although features and pricing vary, all Facebook store apps add a store tab to your Facebook page, which enables you to sell right on Facebook or direct buyers to your own online store to complete a purchase. Figure 1 shows a sample Facebook store, which encourages purchases as well as social sharing on Facebook and Twitter.

Figure 1 Adding a store to your Facebook page can generate sales and publicity for your products.

Facebook store options range from free tools to sophisticated applications that cost several hundred dollars a month. When selecting a Facebook store application, you should consider the following

  • How many products do you have for sale? Although many applications support unlimited products, others charge more for stores with a large number of products.
  • How many fans do you have? Some applications structure their plan pricing based on the number of fans your page has. If you're considering an app with tiered pricing tied to your fan base, it's important to analyze the impact of a future increase in fans on your current pricing. More fans usually equal more sales, but not always.
  • Do you have an existing online store? If not, you need an application that also offers e-commerce functionality; not all do. If you already have an online store, look for a Facebook store application that integrates with your existing store and helps drive traffic to it.
  • What kind of support do you require? In general, paid applications offer more support than free ones, although most free apps do offer a support forum. If you aren't very tech-savvy or don't have access to technical staff, selecting an application that offers solid support is critical.
  • How much do you want to customize your store tab? Some applications allow you to choose from a variety of templates or even design a custom store that matches your existing website. Others offer a single format for your Facebook store tab, with few customization options.

With dozens of available Facebook store applications, and many more in development, selecting the right solution is often confusing and time-consuming. To help you get started, let's look at five applications worth considering that suit a variety of needs and budgets.

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