The UK’s biggest cinema chain is developing a store that will allow visitors to purchase tickets without having to leave the social networking site. It is also working on greater social integration and sharing features for its users.
Odeon already has a substantial presence on Facebook, allowing users to watch trailers, win prizes and discuss and rate films showing at the cinema. Odeon’s Facebook page also features the chain’s film-finder and cinema and time tools, although consumers are required to click through to its own site to access them.
Odeon already has ties with Facebook, after it became the first UK cinema chain to launch a ‘check-in deal’, offering customers free popcorn when they ‘checked in’ at the cinema using the Facebook location tool.
In February this year, rival chain Vue rolled out a booking app on its Facebook page, allowing users to view ticket availability for films showing at its cinemas and click through to its site to purchase tickets.
Meanwhile, Facebook has pinpointed retail as a target industry, claiming it would benefit from its ‘social by design’ thinking. Ecommerce on Facebook, dubbed ‘f-commerce’, which has attracted several US brands, is beginning to gain in popularity in the UK.
In January, online fashion retailer Asos.com became the first brand in the UK to roll out a fully transactional Facebook store. It has since been followed by fashion retailer Lyle & Scott, while French Connection has revealed plans for one.
Last week, mobile network O2 announced that it is allowing its prepaid customers to top up their accounts using a transactional app on its Facebook page.
Many smaller retailers, including Forever Unique and Laura Moore, are using Facebook as a transactional retail platform, while HMV, JD Sports and Thorntons are expanding their online presence with Facebook stores that allow users to click through to the retail sites to buy items.
While fashion brands have led the way in social commerce, Heinz recently sold 2500 bottles of its balsamic vinegar ketchup to Facebook ‘fans’, acquiring 40,000 fans in the process. Meanwhile, Heineken is planning to sell branded merchandise via the social network.