Tuesday, February 21, 2012

F-Commerce gets an F from Bloomberg

A professional acquaintance brought this article to my attention on LinkedIn.  It caught my attention because I'm wrapping the first phase of creating an e-commerce site for a Dunwoody business.

Whenever I meet with a new customer they inevitably ask about how necessary social media is for their sales.  My answer is always the same:  a lot of it depends on my customer.  Do they want to be involved with Facebook, Twitter, et al?  Or are they not going to spend any time on it if it's set up?  If you're not going to commit time and effort to your social media promotion, then it's not the place for you.  If you do make that commitment, then it's extremely powerful for getting attention and generating buzz for your product or service.  I've said this numerous times right here on this blog that social media is not the be-all and end-all of advertising.  At the first Dunwoody Business Expo, we learned that having a Facebook page is not a guarantee of success and not having one is not a guarantee of failure.  A key point is, whatever advertising you do for your business, commit to it and be involved with it to make it successful.  Another key point is, wherever you advertise, no social media will replace the custom stand-alone website.

Here's the proof from Bloomberg online this past Friday:  Retailers Shut Facebook Storefonts Amid Apathy

The original premise was:  everyone's on Facebook, so your customers are on Facebook, that means you can get them to shop on Facebook.  Right?

Apparently not.

Some of the quotes in the article sum up the limitations Facebook has when it comes to commercial enterprises.

“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said in a telephone interview. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.” 

Customers had no incentive to shop at Gamestop (GEM)’s Facebook store rather than the company’s regular website because purchasing online is already convenient, said Ashley Sheetz, who is the Grapevine, Texas-based company’s vice president of marketing and strategy. 

“We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly,” Sheetz said in a telephone interview. “For us, it’s been a way we communicate with customers on deals, not a place to sell.” 

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