Thursday, February 23, 2012

Don't declare the death of F-Commerce just yet


News that several major retailers have recently shut down their Facebook stores has led to a lot of predictions about the death of f-Commerce (the term used for eCommerce on the World's biggest social networking platform and therefore the most visited website).
See this article on Bloomberg for a touch of hype generation (and link baiting... dammit):

One Forrester Researcher was also quoted as stating:
“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop. But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

People please...... before we go around proclaiming the end of social commerce, can we please get a bit of perspective here?

Yes, it is true that some big US retailers such as Gap and Nordstrom have closed their Facebook retail channels. But it is still very early days for f-Commerce and a lot of companies are still finding their feet with this stuff. Its currently the same as web-based selling was back 10 or so years ago.
Back then customer confidence was low and the methods and tools & best-practice are still being learnt.

It is also true that users have a big security issue with using their credit cards via Social Networks:
And even less trust Facebook stores to prevent fraud.

However the race hasn't been run yet. Given the speed of change in both the eCommerce and Social Networking space, I wouldn't declare the death of f-Commerce straight away. In fact Gap have stated: “We will continue to evaluate if this is something we want to bring back in the future”

My suggestion is therefore to ask yourself one simple question 
"does your Facebook store make a decent ROI without cannibalising other sales channels?". 
And if the answer is "Yes"...  then I suggest you keep it going.

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