According to a recent Bloomberg article, GameStop, Gap Inc., J.C. Penney and Nordstrom have all closed their Facebook storefronts over the past year. This shouldn’t be a surprise. While Facebook may be the most visited website, with 845 million members, consumers go there to hang out, not shop. Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research, refers to this as “like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”
For brand marketers, Facebook is a great place to engage directly with consumers, build relationships and drive traffic to their ecommerce sites. But Facebook as a shopping destination? With a few notable exceptions (inherently social businesses such as music, games and entertainment), it just doesn’t make sense to invest in a Facebook storefront. But using Facebook to drive traffic to your ecommerce site is a well proven and very effective method of driving high quality traffic to the site.
A year ago, we stuck our necks out and called the Facebook commerce baby “ugly.” Despite all the hype, we advised steering clear of Facebook storefronts and focusing on ecommerce social integration via plugins (Forget Selling on Facebook (for now) – Think Social Plugins). Since our original post last year, the picture has become more complex since many consumers now have a variety of devices for socializing, researching and shopping. This fascinating infographic from the Internet Advertising Bureau shows how different devices are used for different purposes during the day.
Note how desktops are considered more secure (68%) and great for storing important information (72%). By comparison, the benefits of smartphones are ‘Keeping in touch on the move’ (95%) and ‘Socializing with others’ (78%).
While consumers will undoubtedly use a variety of devices, their preferred device for shopping is a desktop/laptop and an ecommerce site. (…)
In January, Booz & Company produced a report suggesting that stores on Facebook were set for explosive growth—a 56% CAGR over the next five years, which some commentators have hyped as 600% growth. In 2015, the report says, the market for products sold on social network sites will be worth $30bn, of which $14bn will be in the U.S.
According to some commentators, this is a ‘massive opportunity’ that ecommerce companies should jump on and get the ‘first mover advantage.’
Hmm. Many of the ecommerce heads who I’ve talked to that have Facebook stores are somewhat more cautious, referring to their stores as ‘an interesting experiment’ or ‘we’ve learned a lot and so has our Facebook shopping cart vendor.’ When asked about sales volumes, they typically report low single-digit sales.
All of this says to me that these are very early days, and while early adopters may want to plunge onto the bleeding edge, it’s frankly not right for most ecommerce companies. In fact, I’ll go further and suggest staying away for 2011, with a few exceptions.
A $14bn U.S. market may sound really big, but I wanted to see how big it is relative to forecast growth for traditional ecommerce.
By combining the data from Booz with the U.S. Commerce Dept. and mobile commerce forecasts from CODA, for the first time we can see where commerce on social networks sits relative to overall online sales.
As a percentage, in 2015, after that 600% growth, commerce on social networks will represent only 4% of all online commerce.
Mobile commerce is forecast to be three times bigger by 2015.
Here’s the data, published for the first time:
Of course, all forecasts are wrong: They’re either too high or too low. But for mainstream ecommerce it just doesn’t make a whole ton of sense right now to duplicate the ecommerce site, particularly when sales using the Facebook channel are miniscule. (…)
On average, 62% web forms are abandoned before completion – this means that organizations are losing out on a lot of potential leads, applications and quotations, which results in lost leads and ultimately lost revenues. So in this, the first of two blogs on designing web forms, we’ve pulled together a simple checklist for you to use. The next blog will look at such aspects as field order and single page vs. multi page forms, but initially, I think it’s worth recapping the basics. In order to maximize web form submissions, marketers must design their web form with the recipient in mind. This may seem obvious, but it is amazing how ‘form blind’ marketing departments can get when they are trying to capture all the information they require. Typically, the marketer passes a list of fields to be captured to the web developer and scant attention is paid to what will make the form convert. (…)
The advent of some high profile ecommerce sites on Facebook, such as 1-800-Flowers and Disney’s Toy Story 3 ticket application, have sparked a debate about whether to build duplicate ecommerce sites (or subsets) on Facebook itself. (…)