As the old Rolling Stones song goes, you can't always get what you want. However Facebook and retailers across the web will soon let you at least tell your friends what you want. Maybe they'll get it for you.
Facebook and eBay have unveiled a partnership that signals the new "social verbs" announced at F8 last month are likely almost here. GSI Commerce, owned by eBay, and its 180 major clients will be able to implement "Want" and "Own" buttons. Client names include American Eagle Outfitters, Dick's Sporting Goods, Calvin Klein, and Bath & Body Works. And the online auction giant says the 100,000 retailers worldwide on its Magento e-commerce platform will also have access to the social buttons.
Johnna Hoff, eBay spokesperson, described the buttons' word-of-mouth potential in an email to ClickZ News. "Once the new 'Want' and 'Own' buttons do go live in Magento retailers' shopping experiences, customers who click them can expect to see the activity show up in their Facebook activity," she said. "Their friends will then be able to see the items they want, or even already own, and can check out the items for themselves."
What 'Want' and 'Own' Data Means to Marketers
On the data portability front, according to a source close to the situation, if viewers log into a retailer site using Facebook, their Want and/or Own click data will be available to both the social site and the merchant. Facebook's algorithmic ad-targeting system will take the data into consideration as brands buy display units. The retailer can use the data to target offers on its site, the source said, but it cannot be used for retargeting or transferred to third parties.
It's the same kind of data distribution that's been available to retailers that have integrated Facebook's social buttons such as Like and Recommend in the past. And Want and Own will not be the only social verbs appearing in the tradition of the Like and Recommend buttons. Others that will start populating Facebook pages and the Internet in general include Reading, Watching, and Listening. At the same time, the Want and Own buttons should inform merchants with purchase intent like never before.
The Sharper Image Already Likes A Want Button
Greg Links is VP of sales for Wanttt.com, a company that has helped 230 retailers implement a non-Facebook-related Want button on their sites in recent months. The Sharper Image is one, and, according to the Detroit-based firm, the retailer saw "Wanters" convert 5 times more than non-Wanters in a recent test. Wanters also had average order sizes that were 25 percent higher, Links said.
"It opens up a new realm of possibilities around shopper intent," he said. "Want [buttons] gives consumers the ability to more accurately declare what their intent is."
After the new Open Graph goes live, Links and his team will work through the Facebook API to implement the buttons in conjunction with the social site. The VP claimed that Wanttt.com owns a trademark on the Want button, and said all retailers and publishes will have to go through his company to use one.
Yet when asked if other Facebook developers - or even Facebook itself - might take issue with that claim, he said, "I don't want it to sound like we are already digging down into the trenches."
One nifty retail feature his company offers its clients around the Want button: If a visitor hits it for an out-of-stock item, the Wanttt.com system can send an automated email to the consumer when the product is available.
The Facebook Want button for retailers, Links said, represents "a step forward for social commerce."
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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.