Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on February 28th, 2012

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Online sales are up, so why are Facebook stores closing?

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Facebook storefronts are shutting down as of late. Major retailers like Gap, Nordstrom, GameStop and JC Penney to name a few have shut down their Facebook stores. Shutting them down when the latest Forrester Research report is showing that Americans spent upwards of $200 Billion dollars online last year and predicts that online sales will account for 9% of sales by 2016. Reports indicate that 53% of Americans purchased something online last year. Why then are Facebook stores shutting down?

When you think of Facebook, what initially comes to mind? Friends, social media, networking, privacy issues, security concerns, perhaps brand pages? Is it the first place you would think of to shop? It isn't for me, but maybe for some. People go on Facebook to socialize, network or waste time.

When Facebook announced the stores, some people cheered. Businesses that want to appear advanced in technology but not spend the money to do it, loved it. Some businesses could finally sell online without paying a developer to build them an e-commerce site or spend the money on a boxed solution. Many of these retailers used Facebook as their website as well. These folks thought they could make more money or expand without spending money. Well, you get what you pay for is a great old saying.

With Facebook stores, just like with Facebook brand pages, you have to live by Facebook's rules. One day you could go to your store and find it shut down. Facebook can tell you want you can or cannot have your own store, simply because it's in their house. Bottom line, you don't own your own store.

What I will never understand is this. People use Facebook for brand pages and now stores. They invest in marketing materials, whether they be fliers, postcards, commercials, newspaper/TV/radio ads, spending good money on advertising. To do what, direct someone where? To Facebook, first and foremost, then to their store or brand page. Well, guess what, that potential client can have every intention of going to your page but get distracted on a friend's announcement that Little Suzy took her first steps. How does that help your business? Is that a good use of your marketing budget? Boosting Facebooks traffic & showcasing Little Suzy?

In lieu of creating a Facebook store, you have little to no control over why not investigate the actual costs and advantages to having an e-commerce site built for you. Just because Facebook offers it and it's easy, doesn't mean its the best route. What happens when Facebook is down tomorrow, there go your sales. When you decided to have your own business or open your own store, wasn't it because you wanted to be your own boss and function by your own rules. So, why then have your store on Facebook where you have to play by their rules? It is your business, consider all your options and take into consideration that major retailers are closing their stores and deciding to instead stick with their own stores on their own domains.

What about you, have you shopped via a Facebook store or do you just go right to the retailer or one of their merchants? If online sales are increasing, why do you think the Facebook stores are closing?