Magners Cider Launches Pop-Up Fan Store in Facebook (Screenshots)

Another f-commerce first, you can now buy alcoholic beverages directly on Facebook.  The popular cider brand Magners (owned by C&C Group) has set up a pop-up fan-store on Facebook to support the launch of a new range of special edition ciders.

The goal, according to Magners marketing manager Kirsty Hunter, is to drive trial among UK Facebook fans “F-commerce is in the very early stages, so at the moment it is simply a great way to increase offline sales by driving trial… In years to come, however, we may see more consumers making their purchases in this way”.

As with offline pop-up fan stores – such as from Adidas – the goal of Facebook fan-stores is to drive trial of new products among fans, and to drive fan advocacy, which can accelerate the sales-rate at launch.  In an age where other drinks companies are shifting digital spend to Facebook (Bacardi is said to be switching 90% of digital spend to Facebook, Diageo (Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Guiness, Baileys) has just signed a multi-million dollar Facebook ad deal), pop-up fan stores to support product launches make sense.

For £10 ($15) Magners fans get three special edition bottles – pear and ginger, spiced apple & honey and spiced apple & rhubarb – plus a bottle opener and a booklet. To ensure they are of legal drinking, C&C Group has implemented a three-tier security check – a Facebook profile age above 18, an age gate, and payment by credit card (only available to 18+).

Technically, the store is simple enough, an iFrame pulling in a single page store running on eBay’s Magento software from the e-commerce agency Cargo. The campaign was devised by the agency glu Isobar.  To access the fan-store, you have to – naturally enough – be a fan, so there is a like-gate to keep non-fans out. User experience-wise the fan-store is fine, but it does throw up a rather worrying “this is an non-secure form” dialogue box warning just before you enter your credit card details (see below).

Of course, pop-up fan-stores to support product launches are not the only f-commerce option for drinks brands; at the end of 2010, Heineken announced that the beer brand is planning on launching a Facebook fan store selling branded goods to fan (t-shirts etc) – much like Coke’s fan-store for Coke branded fan merchandise.  By getting brand-merchandise into fans’ hands, brands give fan’s something to talk about and thereby can activate fan-advocacy, a known driver of sales.

We like this ‘f-commerce as fan-commerce’ approach far better then the factory-store approach, which in practice is often no more than copying your mobile e-commerce site into Facebook. Same products, same prices, poorer experience.  On the other hand, using Facebook as a fan-channel for pop-up fan-stores selling get-it-first fan-exclsuives and fan-merchandise is an evidence-based and theoretically-informed approach to f-commerce.  Expect to see fan-stores selling fan-subscriptions soon to complete the tripartite of fan-commerce.

Which is why we think the f- in f-commerce should stand as much for ‘fan’ as Facebook.  Your thoughts?


Written by
Paul Marsden

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.

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Written by Paul Marsden