Social Commerce

BMW finds Key to Facebook Commerce: A Pilot to Emulate? [Screenshots]

As far as we know, no automobile manufacturer has yet sold a car on Facebook.  In the meantime, BMW (UK) is piloting f-commerce with a new popup fan-store selling exclusive limited-edition brand merchandise for BMW customer fans, a personalised ‘Key2Joy’ car key cover for their BMW.

We love this because it’s simple and smart – simple because BMW are selling just one thing, whilst outsourcing all the e-commerce heavy lifting to a trusted e-commerce partner – Amazon (checkout is completed on Amazon).

And smart because selling exclusive limited-edition brand merchandise on Facebook is a cost-effective solution for BMW to test the potential of f-commerce in driving customer retention (by boosting brand loyalty) and customer acquisition (via the referral effect of brand advocacy).  BMW also has fan-store targeting right – existing customers rather than wannabe owners; a key case is useless to a non-owner – whose loyalty and advocacy to the brand will be considerably less valuable to that of an owner (past purchase is the best predictor of future purchase, and advocacy based on personal experience – not hopes – is more persuasive).

If there’s a criticism, it’s that the shopper experience in the BMW popup fan-store is less than wonderful – the look and feel does not reflect either the branding of BMW or Facebook, and typographically it’s a mess.  Getting thrown out to a separate Amazon store to checkout is also less than ideal.  Take a look at Gilt’s fan-commerce store to see how f-commerce should be done.

Now of course, if this BMW pilot is to establish the business case for popup fan-commerce on Facebook, BMW will need a way  of measuring any impact on loyalty and advocacy.  One simple solution would be for BMW to ship the key along with 2 special Key2Joy VIP test-drive invites for the latest model – one for the customer and one for a friend.  Redemption rates would give an indication of the impact of the store.  Another solution would be to add two simple pre-purchase questions prior to checkout for 50% of customers – propensity to repurchase, and propensity to recommend – and then ask the same questions in a mail-in survey for the other 50% when they receive the key.  If Facebook commerce works – the latter will be higher than the former.

Whether or not BMW plan to measure the performance of their fan-store in these or other ways, we don’t know – but running a cost-effective pilot popup store selling exclusive branded merchandise is a first step in the right direction. One to emulate?



Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

8 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Great post, with more and more people on facebook everyday, retailers should definitely take advantage of facebook commerce. The power of social media is becoming more obvious and its so much easier to connect with your potential customers and build that relationship. We had our facebook page and shop designed by these guys and it’s proven to be quite effective.

  2. I fail to see how Gilt’s fan-commerce solution or offering is any better that that of BMW? if you truly wish to see an f-commerce solution which takes the visitor from initial interest through to sale completion without the need to leave facebook and still maintaining use of your existing merchant services then take a look at a new offering from the Online Ventures Group stable in the form of SiiP from Social Innovations. A demonstration can be seen by logging in to your facebook and searching for “Truffle shuffle” (a retro clothing store) accept the app and you will see the true future of F-commerce, feel free to contact me to discuss further 07811 488494,

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