Everyone is joining the ecommerce game. Facebook is following suit behind Pinterest by testing new Facebook stores, which let companies set up ecommerce shops within their current Facebook pages.
Facebook made previous attempts to enter the ecommerce space but has seen relatively little success. Last year they introduced a Buy button similar to Pinterest’s Buyable Pins. In both cases they keep users on the social media site as they make purchases instead of directing them back to the ecommerce site like a typical ad.
Facebook’s latest development appears to be different in that it allows retailers to introduce a store to their Facebook pages, giving customers a way to browse through multiple products. Previously, the Buy button was only attached to ads that showed up in users’ Newsfeeds and only gave them access to the product displayed in the ad.
The opportunity to sell through Facebook is intriguing given that it offers direct and seamless access to over 1 billion active users. However, as with any marketing medium, it’s important to think about how people use the social media network and let that drive your marketing tactics.
Unfortunately, people don’t use Facebook as an outlet for shopping inspiration like they do with Pinterest. Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research, put it best when she said, “Selling on Facebook is like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re are hanging out with their friends at the bar.” Facebook is a place users turn to interact with their friends, share interesting articles with their network, and post updates about their lives; they are not there to shop.
Despite this assessment, Facebook seems determined to claw their way into the ecommerce space, but only time will tell if this will be yet another flop in their social commerce saga.