Now Bands Can Sell Tunes & Merch Via Facebook Comments

Posted March 19

Chirpify — the e-commerce platform for Twitter and Instagram — hits the world’s largest social network today, allowing bands and brands to sell goods on Facebook via comments.

Chirpify was designed to make it really easy for users to buy and sell products across social networks, wherever their fans may be. Its conceit is pretty simple: Bands/brands tweet/Instagram/Facebook a listing to a product or giveaway and users comment to instantly buy/donate/or nab without ever leaving said social channel. Both fans and bands must have Chirpify accounts to use the service and connect those accounts to PayPal in order to complete transactions.

According to Vice President of Business Development Rory Felton, Chirpify has amassed tens of thousands of users in its one year of existence — the company doesn’t reveal exact numbers — and hopes to garner even more by expanding to Facebook, which currently has 1.06 billion monthly active users.

Chirpify’s Facebook integration has been in beta up until now, used by the likes of Adidas, the Portland Trailblazers, Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers, bands Owl City and Neon Trees, record label Victory Records and more. Felton reports that Adidas has seen particular success with Chirpify, selling out a $333 bundle of gear in minutes via Facebook.

Now, this functionality will be available to all users looking to sell goods on Facebook. All one has to do is sign up for a Chirpify account, connect to your PayPal and social accounts, and create a new listing. Once you’ve posted the product to Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram or all three), fans will be able to reply to the post with “buy,” “donate” or “gimme” and instantly nab your goods (provided they have a Chirpify account as well).

“It’s very frictionless,” says Felton. “It’s a seamless way to purchase an item from a band or artist. So you can create one listing and push it everywhere that your brand exists across the Web at one time.”

Translation: Now, your fans don’t have to visit your website in order to buy gear, or navigate away from the social network they’re currently surfing in make a purchase. Felton and Co. hope that this diminished barrier to entry will make people more willing to buy. He also hopes to expand the service to other networks like Tumblr, Pinterest and even streaming music services and YouTube in the future. “We want to be integrated across everywhere,” he says.

Felton counts Amanda Palmer and Green Day as the product’s most successful users — at least in monetary terms. Palmer used Chirpify for Twitter to sell a series of crowdsourced T-shirts and raked in $5,000, Green Day used the same tool to sell a single as well as pre-orders for their new album trio, ¡Uno!, Dos!, ¡Tré!.

When it comes to conversion rates — or how many people actually execute a purchase when they see a post — Felton says that up-and-coming musician Andy Zipf has seen the most success. “Normal e-commerce conversion rates are 3%-4%,” Feltons says. “He sees rates 10 or 20 times that.”

“You don’t need a huge number of followers if the ones you have are really engaged,” he adds, noting that Zipf uses the service with consistency and always responds to buyers to thank them for their purchases.

When it comes to the future success of the service, it remains to be seen whether the majority of people will be comfortable executing transactions via comments and interactions, actions that take very little effort and could result in costly mistakes (see that story that has been going around about a five-year-old who unknowingly spent $2,500 in a free virtual game).

However, we could see the practice getting more and more common as other companies seek to cash in on the clout of social networks. Flattr, the online tip jar, recently followed suit with its own spin on the low-impact-payment idea: Now, after connecting to Flattr, you can give users “tips” by liking, favoriting and starring their content.

We’re most interested in how services like Chirpify could be integrated in platforms like Spotify, allowing bands to garner cash and sell goods directly within that ecosystem. Such a practice is not common as of yet — although YouTube does offer something of that ilk — but seems on the horizon for some services, particularly the upcoming subscription service from Beats Electronics, code-named Daisy.

What do you think? Would you buy goods via Facebook comment?