The Potential of F-Commerce for Sports Organisations

Guest Post:  Rebecca Helmer is Business Development Manager for leading German Social Commerce developer Ondango.


Recently there have been multiple debates about selling directly on Facebook. According to the BIZ Report, f-Commerce has failed. SMI is questioning if ’Facebook is drowning not waving’ and the Pando Daily invokes: ‘Stop trying to make f-commerce happen’.

On the other hand, many voices predict a big potential for Facebook as a sales channel including Social Commerce Today, Fresh Business Thinking and Social Innovations.

The failure of big brands like Gap Inc, Norstrom, Gamestop and J.C. Penny to succeed with F-Commerce have common roots, and their mistakes have allowed the whole industry to understand better what to do and what not to. Companies willing to establish an e-commerce presence on Facebook must avoid the following pitfalls:

  • Don’t simply replicate your normal online shop on Facebook: It doesn’t make sense to offer exactly the same products on Facebook, Fans expect additional value on this channel.
  • Don’t shoot app requests: Facebook users don’t like annoying app requests. According to our experience, app requests decrease the conversion rate of Facebook shops by up to 80%.
  • Don’t send your fans out of Facebook: Many brands redirect their fans outside of Facebook to their “normal” online shops. The longer purchase funnel and the broken shopping experience have a negative effect on the conversion rate.

E-Commerce on Facebook works best, when your fans perceive the value of buying on Facebook, experience it as an individual adventure, and feel emotionally attached to your brand. Here are some best practices that we have learned from our customers:

  • Attract attention with exclusive discounts: Offer personalized or time-limited products and do fan-only promotions.
  • Don’t be intrusive; respect the privacy of your fans. Use a shop solution that doesn’t need to be installed as an app.
  • Rotating your products. Your fans get bored quickly, offer them always fresh content.
  • Optimize your EdgeRank. EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm that decides what content is displayed in news feeds. On average, users see about 16% of the content generated by their friends and the pages they have liked.

According to is a great example for a successful time-limited fan-only promotion on Facebook. The online retailer of computers and gadgets offered a special deal exclusively on Facebook: 500 Nintendo 3DS with a 30% discount. All units were sold in less than 24 hours.

Another thriving campaign comes from the football industry. A German Sports Club, FC Ingolstadt 04, of the second Bundesliga, is selling products exclusively on Facebook and offering Daily Deals for Fan-only promotions. Their first sale was the Football T-Shirt ‘away jersey’ with a discount of 50%.

Nicolas Maltry from the Club’s New Media Department claimed, that “this hot deal was sold out within 96 hours. We reached a 4-digit volume of sales and increased the fan engagement and the number of fans by 15%.”

In terms of great communication, interaction with fans and appealing campaigns, Heinz Soup UK has to be mentioned. They ran a Facebook shop for four weeks, selling personalized cans of ‘Get Well’ Soup for Facebook fans. Once you bought a can you could leave an individual message on it and sent it to a friend. Heinz UK reported a sale of 2.100 cans within a month, doubled up their number of fans and increased the interaction of over 40.000 fans.

If done properly, Facebook Commerce does work, and Sport Clubs in particular can profit from this, as they are in the middle of what we call “the sweet spot for F-Commerce”.

  • All their fans are on Facebook: The can reach almost their complete fan base through this channel.
  • They are “real fans”: Sport Club fans identify themselves with the organization in a deeper way than with other brands. As a consequence, they are more likely to share their purchase with their friends, expanding the virality of the shop.
  • Merchandising products are cheap: At an average price of less than 30€, merchandising products are great candidates for impulse purchases.


Do you agree with Rebecca?  Love to hear your thoughts below….

About author

Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 693 posts

Dan McLaren launched Digital Sport (formerly UK Sports Network) back in January 2010 and has worked in the digisport industry with adidas, We Are Social, Copa90 and Pulse amongst others. He's now a freelance social media guy living in the East Midlands and podcast host with the Digital Sport podcast on Audioboom, iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

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