Levi's has thoroughly stitched the Facebook brand into the fabric of its revamped Web site, while creating a social shopping channel aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds. When it comes to early adopters of Facebook's social plug-ins, the jeans brand is among those forging deepest into the new terrain.
On April 21, the San Francisco-based company unveiled its "Friends Store." As an auxiliary store within the larger e-commerce platform at the U.S. version of Levi.com, the Facebook-based shopping channel is being advertised prominently on the home page.
Visitors who click through to the store will see invitations to use Facebook Connect and to "Like" the brand (or in the former parlance: "become a fan"). If they enable Connect, viewers will see their Facebook friends' upcoming birthdays - for those who have their birthday privacy control at a public setting - in a box slightly below the fold that includes names and profile pictures.
What's more, the Friends Store will be populated with merchandise that users and their friends can express interest in via Like button clicks. Levi's has placed a Like button next to every SKU, said Megan O'Connor, director of digital and social marketing.
"We really wanted to put [the Like button] as high up in the shopping path as possible," O'Connor said. "We feel like it's going to revolutionize the way people shop for jeans online. Everything from knowing other users' expressed preferences, to our brand ambassadors telling their friends through the Like functionality that these are their favorite jeans."
Clicks on the Like buttons will be noted in the users and their friends' activity feeds. For example: "Harold likes 501 Original Jeans - Premium Resin Rinse." Such copy will appear hyperlinked in the Facebook feeds so that clicks take the viewer directly to the product's details page.
If Levi.com visitors arrive at the site without being logged into Facebook, they will still get served the Like buttons. If they click on a button, a pop-up window offers them the chance to log into the social site. Meanwhile, the Facebook logo appears numerous times on the home page, which greets visitors with the copy, "Declare Your Likes." (See below.)
Other examples of the Like button being woven into the site include the following copy that rolls onto the home page via a video presentation. "Like-Minded Shopping Starts Here." "The More Friends That Like, The More Fun You'll Have." "Check Out Friends Store...Filled With The Levi's You and Your Friends Like." Also, an image of a Like button appears underneath the copy, "It All Starts With This." Those words are then followed up with, "Click It When You Like Something." Additionally, the video shows a mouse cursor activating Facebook Connect and utilizing the "Invite Your Friends" button seen on product pages.
Site visitors seem to be taking to the initiative. For instance, the "501 Dark Aged" jean style has yielded around 700 'Likes' in the last week. Levi's has picked up 14,000 "People Who Like" on Facebook during that same span of time, taking its total to nearly 294,000.
O'Connor said her brand has been targeting Facebook.com ads at its young demo since last summer, and it will certainly continue to do so with the new social commerce elements in play. The Like data that the brand's marketing team will have access to, she suggested, can inform them when making future advertising decisions. "We may think one jean might be the 'it product' of the season, but the Like functionality might tell us something totally different," O'Connor said.
Fandango is another direct seller that quickly employed the Like buttons, placing them on every Web page on April 22. The Los Angeles-based movie tickets brand hopes that since the button clicks will be noted in the activity feed for users with privacy controls set to public, a potential exists for Facebook friends to influence each other on purchases.
"It is a very useful marketing tool for movies," said spokesperson Harry Medved. "It will help us enable users to share those likes with other users, and get them to see movies that they might not have otherwise seen."
Meanwhile, other early adopters of the Like buttons seem happy with the results so far. Nick Wilson, CTO for ad network Break Media and its publisher sites targeting young adult males, said the Like buttons his firm put up on April 22 have accrued "comfortably over 1 million clicks."
You can follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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