F-Commerce gets an 'F'

Bloomberg is reporting that Gamestop, JCPenney, and Nordstrom have all closed their Facebook stores.  That's not the best timing with Facebook's IPO just over the horizon, but I don't think this should really be news to astute retailers.  Duplicating an e-commerce store within Facebook doesn't really offer a different experience, and Facebook users are used to punching out to the Web for all sorts of things.  By simply putting a store on Facebook, retailers have missed the point of F-commerce.

In my mind at least, F-commerce should be more about the social aspects of shopping leading up to a purchase, not the actual purchase itself.  You're not going to get much more convenient than today's Web stores, so efforts should not be focused there.  Instead, focus on ways to move the water-cooler conversations about products to Facebook where its easier to influence people into acting on those conversations.

If you've ever seen me talk about the topic, I usually show a slide depicting three approaches to F-commerce.  There's the "tab store", which is how 1-800-Flowers first approached Facebook.  Then there's the "wall store," which is best represented by JCPenney and ASOS in the UK.  And finally there's the "newsfeed store," which has been successful for stores like The Limited.  The newsfeed store highlights a couple products or promotions within the newsfeed, alongside the conversations with all your friends.  It capitalizes on the social aspects of Facebook, and doesn't try to duplicate an entire Web store.

My friend Wade Gerten, CEO of 8th Bridge, said of stores within Facebook, “it was basically just another place to shop for all the stuff already available on the retailer websites.  I give so-called F-commerce an ‘F.’”

I want to be clear that I'm not criticizing these retailers for their efforts.  They did exactly what innovative leaders should be doing: experiment, and if it doesn't work then cut the cord quickly.  Now that lessons have been learned, its time to move on and capitalize on the knowledge gained.

Retailers should continue to use Facebook to communicate with consumers and drive them to stores and e-commerce.  As always, the best results come from managing all the channels together in a unified way, leveraging the best aspects of each without needless duplication.

Comments:

I come from the F-commerce industry, and these are my thoughts about it:

Bloomberg decided to show only a few failed attempts of F-commerce, and didn't provide even one brand that succeed in F-commerce, and there are a lot.

Just take Heinz last campaign for example: 4 weeks, 2127 sales – 1 sale per 8 fans – and a 200% (32,810) increase in Facebook ‘Likes’. The numbers speak for themselves.

We at StoreYa (http://www.StoreYa.com), see an enormous traction, there's an amazing daily growth of merchants, creating their own Facebook shops. There's no doubt that F-commerce is the next step in the eCommerce evolution, but it will take some time.
F-commerce platforms like us, create a new channel of revenues for the merchants!

Duplicating your eCommerce store to Facebook will not do the trick..You must provide the merchants with engagement tools, such as: Fans-firsts, Fans exclusive deals & discounts, and even gamification, these features add an important added value to the social shopping experience.

Posted by Mia Perry on February 23, 2012 at 08:52 AM CST #

Mia, I totally agree with your last point. There has to be a social aspect to the store or it won't work. Thanks for commenting.

Posted by David on February 23, 2012 at 08:56 AM CST #

Businesses should not try to duplicate their ecommerce sites on Facebook instead they should offer exclusive products & prices to show they appreciate their fans. There has been a lot of talk lately regarding Gamestop, JCPenney, and Nordstrom closing their Facebook stores because they didn't see any ROI but VendorShop (www.vendorshopsocial.com) has seen many small businesses making a success with their Facebook shop such as Wine Market & Chile Monster. The reasons they are successful is because they engage with their fans & make them feel special and part of a community and provide fan only pricing.

Posted by guest on February 27, 2012 at 05:28 AM CST #

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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