Payvment is an online Facebook app start-up company which allows users to create and operate an eCommerce store on their Facebook page. The store allows for product searches across Facebook and employs a Facebook-wide shopping cart for accepting payment (through Paypal). They hype the fact that it takes 15 minutes to get things going and most reviews currently state that its user interface is quite simple to use. Payvment already has 20,000+ storefronts and over 500,000 Facebook users have shopped for products using the application. Currently Payvment is still in a Beta stage of development and currently has no monetization channel. During this phase the service is offered entirely free. It is free to sign-up, and there are no percentage of revenue fees. These aspects might change but since the service is new and they are trying to promote it, it offers a very interesting low-cost platform for a small businessperson. I currently have nothing to sell and registered just in case one day I do, as they said if you register during the Beta stage, there will never be fees (but I digress). In essence, Payvment transforms your Facebook page from merely a marketing platform for your company, to an actual sales platform.
Payvment is interesting for many reason. As mentioned in a previous blog (http://eiconnect.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/some-factsstatistics-to-think-about-when-considering-why-social-media-is-important/) the numbers surrounding Facebook user-ship are astounding. The possible market exposure alone is a good reason to consider Payvment, however they have some other quite clever ideas. First off, they have designed an Open Cart Network, which allows completion of purchases from any Facebook storefront. You can add multiple items from various storefronts to your cart, and pay all at once. They also allow you to add this shopping cart to your own eCommerce website with the same functionality. This idea is very smart when combating the issue of cart abandonment. As a former eCommerce manager, cart abandonment was a HUGE problem. We would spend money and time marketing our site, only to get people to the point where they actually had something in their cart, and didn’t purchase it. Then after moving on, they may or may not have bookmarked our page and perhaps were lost forever. The open cart idea prevents this. If someone adds something from your site, it stays there unless they delete it. This cart is linked to Facebook (where, as shown by the stats, people spend 1.2days per month) and next time they log in, your item is still there! This reason alone should cause people to consider implementing Payvment into their eCommerce toolbox. It is necessary to note, this feature becomes MUCH more interesting if Payvment becomes more widely accepted. The more people who use their carts, the more likely your product will actually show up again. If they never come back to a site that uses Payvment, and don’t go shopping on Facebook for awhile you’re out of luck.
Payvment allows you to add a storefront to unlimited Facebook pages and allows you to list unlimited items. It offers fully HTML customizable home pages and product pages. There is automated inventory control features to suspend sold out items. The app also has an image up-loader tool so you can easily display your product images. It also supports unlimited categories. Payvment can be set up to integrate with your back end administrative processes as well to help automate this step of the transaction. There is much to be desired in each one these areas, but its a start and I’m sure additional features will constantly be added if the app really takes off. Read more here about what users are currently demanding/complaining about http://payvment.uservoice.com/forums/55494-facebook-app
Currently Payvment can only accept payments through Paypal. This is not so bad, as it you can accept Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover through Paypal without the necessity of merchant accounts. It also allows you to accept 20 major world currencies. Due to Facebook’s large international language support, this platform allows you to reach users from all over the world. There is some speculation that one day Payvment might be able to take Facebook credits as a form of payment but this is not integrated yet. Payvment offers not only shipping calculators with quantity discounting for domestic orders, but also for international orders. This can help truly take your store to a global marketplace.
I believe the strongest aspect Payvment has going for it, is its possible marketing/promotion uses. Of course Facebook users are many, but Payvment offers some smart ways to give them incentives to make purchases. If some one becomes a fan or “likes” your page, you can set up automatic discounts on purchases. This allows you to build a following, who will help promote your store for you. When someone “likes” a Facebook page, this is transmitted through their feed to all their friends and acts like an endorsement for your product/brand/store. It also allows you to send them updates on new products and promotions. A Facebook store could be the final step to converting a fan into a buyer. There are also sections for reviews/comments on products and share features on items which should help further promote your products using the social media network. Forbes did a study stating “Facebook Fans are 41% more likely to recommend a brand and 28% more likely to continue using them. Plus a Facebook Fan is worth on average $136.38 and spends $71.84 more per year than non Fans.” This puts an actual numeric value on a fan. Payvment offers you a new way to entice new fans to promote and strengthen your brand.
Payvment offers a very interesting product with many positive attributes. In many ways it could be compared to a telephone, fax machine, or service like Paypal. Standing alone, with few users, all of these products are virtually useless. When a critical mass is reached in terms of number of users, the true benefit emerges. Through savvy marketing and smart implementation of its product features, I believe Payvment could have lot to offer an eCommerce business.