Apparently, Facebook doesn’t always have the Midas touch. Or perhaps brands have yet to discover the social networking recipe to transmute lead into gold. In the never-ending quest to utilize social networks to drive direct product sales to brands, Facebook’s E-commerce efforts so far have been more potential than actual.
Gamestop, J.C. Penny, Gap and Nordstrom are some of the brands that have opened e-commerce stores on Facebook in the last 12 months, only to shutter the initiative soon afterwards.
Facebook has strived to become a top shopping destination for its millions of daily users to further entrench itself as one of the premier online destinations for users as well as put a dent in Amazon’s and PayPal’s chokehold on online transactions. Unfortunately, F-commerce (Facebook’s e-commerce) has discovered that the world of successful business transactions is harder than originally anticipated.
Banana Republic and Old Navy, both opened and discontinued F-commerce storefronts in 2011 citing the fact that their customers preferred shopping on their own respective websites. Apparently, people prefer to share wishlists and discuss purchases rather than buy anything on the Facebook site.
Facebook has not commented on the matter.
This being Facebook’s first (and failed) effort at e-commerce will likely cause the social media giant and its partners to revisit their strategy and draw the conclusion that they simply cannot replicate brands’ respective online experiences on F-Commerce, rather craft something distinct and unique that leverages Facebook’s many strengths.
Despite the storefronts shutting down, brands continue to spend dollars on digital advertising with Facebook, so don’t cry for Mark Zuckerburg and his $100 billion valuation. We wouldn’t count out Facebook as an e-commerce player just yet. If Zuckerberg’s successful in his goal to make Facebook the social graph that touches all of ours lives, people will be buying stuff as they play games and talk with their friends.
In the meantime, Pinterest continues to look like the next evolution in social commerce. Read our deep dive in Pinterest here.
Sources: Financial Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, Warc.com, San Francisco Gate