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