There is not a single meeting, discussion, committee that does not mention the necessity to go online and try to monetize no matter what.
More, when it comes to social network or digitalization of your clients, Facebook comes always first. All the thought are on deploying a Facebook store and start selling.
Recently, I had to face recurrent demand for solutions and translate a necessary digital transformation for the insurance distribution into a Facebook experience priority.
Yet does it really work? While the concept is not new (about 4-5 years), soon after the launch, numerous reports and studies demonstrated that the thought on increasing revenue through social network was rather disappointing.
1. Quick view
a. Facebook a different way to store product?
When retailers decided to enter the F-commerce, most of them decided to simply import their online catalog and making them available for purchase in a Facebook app. The experience is nearly identical to shopping on their websites, with two major differences:
b. Facebook, the right location to sell ?
“Don’t try to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar”
There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop, share, refer, evaluate and purchase. Yet they realize that Facebook was more like a place to communicate, hang out, observe and share interest. Not Buying.
2. What about insurance:
a. Facebook store over standardize the shopping experience
In Insurance when the purchasing cycle can be complex due to documentation requirement, underwriting necessities, pricing segmentation, deploying an online store is not easy exercise.
The customer journey is longer and not straight forward as it requires explanation, highlights, comparison and regulatory disclaimers and disclosures. Facebook or online F-store providers, at present, are not built for that kind of shopping experience
The investment requirement that would be necessary to plug and play accurately within the mean of Insurance regulation would be far to high to get things right. Today, the most ambitious industry are still losing money on these efforts because development costs are and remain too high
Yet replicating a simple retailers' ecommerce sites is not the way to go about generating easily revenue via Facebook for insurance. At least for now in view of the F-store architecture what could be mentioned for insurance is:
Insurance agent should focus on making their Facebook page as a clear, systematic and consistent traffic center to generate smart leads back to their main sites.
When well managed, Facebook can drive traffic at a fraction of a cost of what it would pay on Google and other search engines.
Agents should take advantage of reaching people via the social network to target new prospect, publish news and activate all functionalities possible to irrigate their main site.
Yet they should keep their own websites,
Facebook, Yes, but!....
Shall insurer put their distribution capability into Facebook? The response is clearly yes. Yet they have to think about the approach. Creating leads, exposing itself smartly is the solution ;
Facebook should not be considered as a shopping mall or even an insurance agency boutique. All users are not thirsty for acquisition.
Insurance agent should be there where and when needed and expected. This to make a prospect, a customer. It is certainly not by being intrusive or invasive into something that remains the private environment.
Matthias de Ferrieres has more than 15 years experience in the insurance industry in Asia.