Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vendor Shop Social - Direct Selling on Facebook

By on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 24 Comments

Some of you may have wondered if you could sell directly on Facebook.  Now you can with the Vendor Shop Social app.  The concept of selling from a social media site is not new but it is the first app I have come across that is really attractive to handmade craft artisans in many ways.

I first heard of Vendor Shop Social from Robbin of Silver Dreams Design who asked on a forum if anyone had tried it. Well, not only did I check it out, I tried it out and here's a brief outline of what I found.  Also read their FAQ which will probably answer most common questions about this app.

See my Facebook store, The Beading Gem's Shop. I've set it up so the discounted items there are only offered to fans of my page.

  • Integrates secure shopping carts right into Facebook.
  • No redirecting potential customers to another site like say, Etsy. This is will appeal to people who are reluctant to join yet another site just to buy. If they know you and like you, they are more likely to purchase especially if the process is made convenient to them
  • Free. The only cost to you is the usual Paypal charges for transactions. Some of the Facebook shopping apps I've seen before were not free.
  • Easy to use. The set up is relatively simple with instructions each step of the way.
  • Like Gating.  Ability to give only your fans discounts and therefore help you grow your fan base.
  • Language choices, coupons, custom options (attributes) for alternative colors, sizes. It took Etsy a long time to even come out with coupons!

  • If you have no other online shop this might be just the one for you as it combines both the most popular social media site with selling especially if you like Facebook a lot.  I've seen a number of Facebook members who post pictures with captions like "contact me if you would like to buy this" which is cumbersome. This app will solve that problem. It will also appeal to artisans who don't make a lot.
  • If you already have online shop(s) elsewhere, use it to promote your bestsellers with discounts for Facebook likers.  Or you could just showcase your sale items. The app gives you options.

  • Create a Facebook Page and add the app there since it is for business. It is best have something separate from your personal Facebook profile.
  • Join Paypal if you haven't already done so. Upgrade to a business account as you will need a merchant ID number.
  • Create shop banner - 520px wide. Height is not important. 
  • Take Product Pictures  - You need 3 per item
If you already sell on sites like Etsy, Artfire and so on you will find it quick to set it up because you already have most things ready like pictures and a banner which only need a bit of modification.  I for one, just copied and pasted my product descriptions over from my Etsy store and uploaded some of the same pictures!

A lot of things like setting up currencies, shipping costs, categories and so on will also be familiar.

There were a few things that weren't clear or inconvenient during set up. Perhaps with time, the service will improve as it is relatively new. Here are some tips I can share so far based on my experience:
  • Use square pictures only. The shop items will look better if the pictures were the same shape. Mine weren't as Etsy no longer required square pictures and I don't have time to retake pictures.
  • Can't order the pictures. The last one uploaded is the one that is prominent. 
  • Make it OFFLINE when you are setting up. The app doesn't show at all on your Page.
  • Then make it ACTIVE to preview the app as an administrator. Visitors will just see this sign below if they click on the green shopping cart icon on the left of the page :
  • Switch from OFFLINE to LIVE when you are ready for the whole world to see your store in all its glory.
  • Consider making the shop tab your landing page for new visitors. This one is up to you. I have not done so because I want my new visitors to go to my Welcome page.
  • URL link to your store is not going to be pretty because the app is designed to work within Facebook.  Mine actually looks like this : To get the link, go the Edit icon of your Page, find the VendorShop app under apps and select "Link to this tab"
  • Edit your store by going to your homepage. Under the newsfeed column,  find the VendorShop shopping cart app.
Please comment to share what you think about this app and whether you would consider using it. If you have tried it out, let us all know how it is going for you and do share any tips and tricks you may have discovered!

Vendor Social shop is an Irish technology company with funding from their government as well as venture capitalists - see their Jan 23 2012 blog post. I assume at some point they plan to leverage their idea into bigger things for large companies and make money that way.

Here are some Facebook sites who are using vendor social shop :

SilverKandi is jewelry FB store had reportedly only 800 fans in Jan 2011 and a year later is now over 2600 in the fan base! Check this out : 

Before You Go :
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Thats a wonderful & detailed SWOT analysis Pearl. Sounds a lot easier than etsy but wont work for me because of paypal. The whole point of selling thro FB for me is to sell to Indian customers (pricing in RS)and paying through NEFT without commission. Good luck for your store though :)

  2. One more thing do change your description wherever you have used symbols - quotation marks, ampersand for they are not visible and look like boxes. you could write inches instead of " for it is not visible.

  3. Very interesting... I have a fan page & I link to my Etsy shop all over the place but I still have fans ask if I sell my pieces & where! I might have to look into this - especially since it's free!

  4. I am working on setting up one for my B&M store page. I'm trying to get more visibility for each of my sellers since many of them do not sell online anywhere. I'm hoping to make it public soon.

  5. Thank you Pearl!!! I have also been considering using this. Thanks for doing all the "work"!!! lol I hestitate to put it on my Business page as most of my customers come from my personal page. Not sure what to do there.

  6. Thanks Divya - I will change those things. I obviously didn't notice as I was copying over from Etsy very quickly.

  7. Thanks Teresa for bringing up that point - the app does allow for several admins I think. I didn't investigate how that works though.

  8. Carol - tell them to come to your Page and use the latter more.

  9. Great article. Thanks so much for posting

  10. This seems like quite an interesting shop idea, and very convenient. I won't lie, at first I was a bit excited about the prospect of starting a store there where it would be seen more and such...however, it didn't take me long to think a bit differently.

    This isn't a comment saying don't do it! Not at all! As said, it is very convenient...however, as with many things, sometimes we take risks for convenience and I just want to make sure people are aware of such:

    -Be attentive to any and all privacy changes and Free Use clauses. Facebook has a habit of changing these on the fly with absolutely NO notification, and even if this is an app, it still will fall under these changes. You need to make sure your private information, or information you wish to stay hidden from users continues to be so, as well as protecting your designs.
    Check your privacy settings once a month(twice if you're really worried about it), just to make sure everything is as you set it to be. People tend to put chain statuses that will tell you a shortcut, but there really isn't one...just being attentive and checking that every bit of private info, such as your phone number or hometown, is set to Private or Friends Only.

    (Continued...cuz I'm too long winded apparently! :D)

  11. Did my second post not go through? O.o

  12. Looks like you've had a bad time of it. Good antivirus and anti-spyware protection is a given. But sometimes commonsense needs to prevail too. Usually its users clicking on suspect posts with bad links in Facebook and Twitter.

    As with any apps, it's always worth checking them out first and seeing what others do with it!

  13. It didn't - probably because it was so long but I did manage to copy it back in!

  14. Vendor Social shop is an Irish technology company with funding from their government as well as private venture capitalists - see their Jan 23 2012 blog post. I assume at some point they plan to leverage their idea into bigger things for large companies and make money that way.

    Here are some Facebook sites who are using vendor social shop :

    SilverKandi is jewelry FB store had reportedly only 800 fans in Jan 2011 and a year later is now over 2600 in the fan base!

  15. Hi Pearl, Chris here from VendorShop Social. Great to see such a detailed review of the app and glad you like it. We are already working on some of the improvements you mention. We'd welcome any suggestions from you or your readers on improvements at

    On a slightly different note, here's a couple of tips that will help make your stores successful - by offering some products exclusively through your FB store for a period of time, and 2) Regularly remind fans you have a store.

    Good luck all.

  16. I knew FB had a way you could sell on their site, but haven't looked into it yet. Guess I need to find time to look more into it. Thank you Pearl for sharing all the information on setting up our own FB shop.

  17. Pearl I really appreciate the detailed review. I'm still in the process of getting my shop set up, and I can't wait!

  18. Perfect timing for me, Pearl. Thank you ever so much.
    Question: I just created a Welcome page using PageModo as you did. How do you make it your landing page? Do you do that from ShopVendor?

  19. Jackie - just follow the directions given at the end of the first video in this post -

  20. Thank you so much for this Pearl. One of my goals is to have a shop set up by November and this will really help.

  21. I had not heard of this yet Pearl, Thank you! It sounds like it would be an excellent solution for us since we don't yet have an Etsy Store and I like to sell the odd sample from time to time. Our Facebook page has a pretty big following now but it can always get bigger, so like the Gate thing. Very clever. Will give the info to my hubby and see if we can get set up with this service. Thanks again for sharing the info!

  22. It'll certainly be useful for your circumstance - not many products, large Facebook following!