Facebook Friday App Review – north social Photo Showcase

Set up in 2006, North Social build innovative social media applications, promotions and marketing campaigns. North Social’s app library includes Facebook application sign-up forms, twitter feeds, video channels and much more, but today we’re focusing on their Photo Showcase app.

Photo Showcase is a 10 photo slideshow incorporated into your Facebook page as a custom tab. The slideshow allows you to promote events, products, artwork – pretty much anything you can display in the form of a picture. Photo Showcase’s optional “Buy Now” button also gives you the opportunity to add a link to the product on your website – instantly transforming Photo Showcase into a shop front for your business.

One downside to North Social’s apps is that they are paid for services. Packages start at $19.99 per month and rise depending on factors including the amount of fans your page has – for example, $19.99 a month will only be applicable to a fan page with 1000 fans or less.

Take a look at the Photo Showcase app in action on North Social’s Facebook page.

Facebook Friday App Review – Merchenta Social Commerce

Merchenta’s MiniStore plug-in enables retailers to extend their web stores to consumers on Facebook and other social networking sites such as Twitter. It works by integrating directly with retailers existing product feeds to dynamically display products. It requires no technical skills to set up.

Once up and running, retailers can make on the fly changes to products, offers and prices, all of which are updated in real-time. Merchenta MiniStores can also process transactions meaning consumers don’t have to leave Facebook if they wish to make a purchase.

I recently visited Pia Jewellery’s Merchenta MiniStore on their Facebook page and thought it offered a really good user experience.  Upon clicking the “Shop Pia” button you’re presented with a carousel of products to choose from (think the cover-flow function found on the iPhone and iPod touch and you’ll know exactly what I mean). Clicking on one of these products followed by the “Learn More” link takes you to a product information screen where there’s was a great zoom tool that allows you to get an even better look at your prospective purchase. Clicking the “Buy Now” button takes you directly to the product page on the ecommerce website where you can complete your transaction; it’s as easy as that. Users can also share and recommend products with their friends.

All-in-all Merchenta’s MiniStore is great a great plug-in. For retailers it’s very easy to implement and maintain. For consumers it offers a great user experience by delivering dynamic content and encouraging ‘social’ shopping. The latter is particularly important as it encourages viral promotion, which can facilitate greater brand exposure and increased sales.