Petco and Others Marry Facebook to the Funnel

Maybe social media and direct marketing aren’t just dating anymore. If recent days are any indication, they may be officially tying the knot someday soon after an adorable conversion rate or two enter the picture.

Petco announced yesterday it is offering a heavy dose of its product catalog on Facebook. Viewers can click the “Petco Store” link at the top of the retailer’s pages and then add items to a wish list. Such products would then appear on their friends’ newsfeeds. Viewers can also click a”visit store” button just below the item before going to its product page at and having the option of adding it to the shopping cart there.

Natalie Malaszenko, director of e-commerce for Petco, San Diego, said the features will allow her team to track conversion rates back to specific SKUs at Facebook, providing them with clearer statistics to gauge the social media site’s effectiveness as a direct sales generator. They will also provide information about what products are the most appealing to the audience there.

Malaszenko singled out the wish list as a feature she thinks will prove to be popular among Petco’s Facebook fans. It appears on the left-hand border of the site, she said, and is akin to a user’s “own mini-application on the fan page.”

About the overall initiative, she said: “It allows customers to have a conversation about our products and do it in a place that’s public. And it allows us better insight into what our customers are doing.”

For the effort, the company is using the application, “Facebook Merchant Store,” developed by The New York-based shopping engine has also signed up, Guitar Center,, and a slew of smaller brands to the application in recent months.

Meanwhile, it was announced on Wednesday that Eric Woolfson, co-founder of classic rock group The Alan Parsons Project, has begun marketing his 10-song solo release, “Eric Woolfson Sings The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was,” via a platform at Facebook that was recently developed by the Boston-based firm Nimbit. A “buy” button allows viewers to begin the process of purchasing individual digital tracks after one click — instead of clicking through to a general homepage or

Woolfson’s move comes on the heels of other music brands at Facebook sidestepping the major e-retailers and using the digital download purchase services of iLike, which premiered its application on Aug. 14.

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