This is cross-posted on Filmmaker Magazine. After seeing that Warner Bros was streaming The Dark Knight and soon thereafter Harry Potter films though Facebook, I thought it was genius. More information is shared on Facebook. It’s a great way to close the window between discovery and consumption. In addition, on Facebook, you can get very meaningful analytics, not to mention the monetization aspect. In part 1 of this 2 part interview I talk to David Raycroft, co-founder and Vice-President of Product and Operations of Milyoni, the company that made it all happen. He talks about one of their solutions, iFanStore that allows the easy set up of a storefront on Facebook that integrates with your fan page. In part 2 he talks about their Video on Demand (streaming solution).
Selling on Facebook
MM: From what I can see you have 2 offerings: The iFanStore and Video on Demand. Can you describe in as much detail as possible, the process of having an iFanStore created through Milyoni?
There is a requirements gathering process. It is important to understand the number of products that will be carried, where they will be fulfilled from, and specific business objectives. This helps define the project scope and help determine pricing and time to implement.
Depending on the results of the requirements gathering process it can take anywhere between 7 days and 7 weeks to implement a storefront. The biggest factors are existing systems and fulfillment operations. The more complex the existing environment the longer an implementation will take.
MM: Is there a minimum number of Facebook fans/products you think a person should have before considering an iFanStore? For instance if a filmmaker has just 1 DVD to offer, does it make sense?
We have customers that range in size from a few thousand fans to 10s of millions of fans. It is really more about the community that has been built and how engaged they are. A great example of a film maker that has created a strong community and uses our solution to promote his film is Matt Farnsworth and his horror film “The Orphan Killer”. When we started working with him, he had less than 50,000 likes and now has over 80,000. He sells DVDs, Blu-Rays and a couple of Tee Shirts. You can check out his store at http://apps.facebook.com/orphankiller/
That being said, we do recommend that you have well north of 10,000 fans to create the kind of community that can drive transactional revenue.
MM: Once the iFanStore is up is there anything a ‘proprietor’ can do to encourage people to make purchases? Is there anything you have seen work fairly well for users of the iFanStore?
Putting up a store in Facebook is just the first step. To really be successful it is important to engage with the community and connect your content to a commerce opportunity. We have a set of Social Merchandising Tools that create a seamless link between your fans and your store.
We also provide a set of “merchandising manners” that are the best practices we have found to increase fan interaction and drive impulse purchases. The most important thing is to interact with the community and create a passionate response, our tools simply create a frictionless way to turn that engagement into sales.
MM: What is the iFanStore business model? (ie. Is there a flat fee? Does Milyoni take a percentage of purchases?)
We are a Software as a Service solution. Our business model includes a monthly service charge with a per transaction fee.
MM: How much does it cost to set up an iFanStore?
The cost of an iFanStore depends on a number of variables. The final price is based on the complexity of the fulfillment integration and the features you want to enable. We need to understand the business and technical environment to provide accurate pricing.
MM: Do iFanStores work on mobile devices?
Our stores are compatible on all mobile browsers. We will be optimizing for smaller screens by mid 2011.
MM: Finally, what do you provide in terms of analytics to Milyoni customers?
We provide a unique mix of visitor, viewer and consumer data. We have robust reporting on demographic and transactional activity and a wide range of graphical views. We are the only solution that combines profile data, ecommerce data and social engagement data.
Check out part 2 of the interview where David discusses Milyoni’s Video on Demand solution.