Major improvements to our Facebook app: 4 great new features

Nov 24, 2011 by Qetzal, Product Manager
Posted Nov 24, 2011 by Qetzal, Product Manager

Major improvements to our Facebook app: 4 great new features Facebook is great place to communicate with your existing and potential customers. With more than 800 million active users that spend 23% of their online time on social networks almost every business now has a Facebook page or is planning to create one.

Today we’re happy to announce a new major version of our Facebook shopping cart with some new, very useful, and highly anticipated features added.

Browse your products right inside your Facebook tab

Some background of this change — We released our free e-commerce Facebook app about a year and a half ago. At that time Facebook didn’t allow the use of HTML in the page tabs. Only Facebook’s technologies called FBML and FBJS could be used there. These technologies are quite limited and it wasn’t possible to provide a great shopping experience using them. Moreover, FBML tabs didn’t support secure browsing via HTTPS and their speed was far from perfect.

At Ecwid, we care about speed and security. For this reason, it wasn’t a good idea to show the store in the FBML tab. This is why we decided to show just 4 random products with the big “Open our Store” button. Those products and button were linked to the main app canvas, which is still inside Facebook, but allows to use standard HTML and JavaScript and is much narrower than a tab. Your customers were still able to see the products in your store on the “Products” tab of your page, but at the same time they were able to checkout and place order in the secure and fast environment of our app’s main canvas. It was a good workaround, but your users had to click a button to browse your products and that wasn’t cool.

Facebook now has improved its platform and added this missed feature, making it possible to use standard HTML/JavaScript right inside your Facebook tab. So our app has been updated as well!

Now your customers can view and browse your products and categories immediately after opening the store tab of your Facebook page. No more extra clicks! Just open the tab and begin browsing your full-featured Ecwid store. You can view an example at the following URL: www.facebook.com/ecwid?sk=app_251458316228

If a customers tries to open a page, that requires a wider layout, then he will be redirected to the same page in a main Facebook app canvas. As a result, your customers can start to browse your products immediately after opening your ‘Products’ tab but will still have a great shopping experience and advantage of the wide app canvas.

All new users of our Facebook app have this feature enabled by default. Existing users can enable it in the app settings.

Straight forward installation process

We’ve improved the installation process greatly. Now our Facebook app has an awesome welcome page, which highlights the app’s key features. This page is shown to a first-time visitor, who hasn’t added Ecwid to their page yet. Also you can always open this page at apps.facebook.com/ecwid-shop/welcome

Moreover, the app guides you through the installation process step by step. This improvement will make the installation of our Facebook shopping cart as easy as pie.

Manage your pages

All your pages that have Ecwid installed are now displayed in one place. So if you manage many Facebook pages this feature will make your life much easier. You can open any of your pages in one place and have access to their settings.

Easy and free way to create custom Facebook tabs

Some Facebook page Owners want to create custom Facebook tabs to display their content on Facebook pages. These tabs are great to show promotions, your company description, welcome messages and other things that you may feel are important to your Facebook visitors.

For example check our “Testimonials” tab: www.facebook.com/ecwid?sk=app_207940915916695

There is no easy and free way to create a custom tab. You need to create your own Facebook application yourself, code it, host it and purchase an SSL certificate (recent Facebook requirement for all apps). Or you can use a one of many existing apps to create a custom tab. Usually such apps are free and show a pesky “Powered by” link, that doesn’t look professional.

We here at Ecwid want our users to have a hassle-free experience and not be worried about such issues. That’s why we’ve added the feature that allows every user of our free Facebook app to add a tab with custom HTML code to his/her page for free. No pesky “powered by” links inside the tab, No coding necessary, no additional hosting and avoiding unnecessary spending.

There is one more thing. This feature has the “Fan Gate” option included. Fan Gate is where visitors who open your page see one form of content and when they “like” it, the content changes to something different and just for fans. For example non-fans can see a message such as “Like us to access a 10% off coupon” and when they like your page, the coupon code appears there.

This is an awesome feature for deals, discounts, gifts, contests and exclusive content. It will encourage Facebook users to “Like” your page which will increase the number of your page’s fans and get more sales! : -)

We’re already working on new features and updates for the next major Ecwid version. Stay tuned and subscribe to our blog, Facebook page and Twitter for updates and news.