Four major retailers have closed their storefronts on Facebook over the past year.
Bloomberg said the Gap, J.C. Penny, Nordstrom and Gamestop all opened and closed stores on Facebook because fans haven’t bought anything.
Fans of these brands have preferred shopping on the retailers’ websites over doing so on Facebook, where people prefer to share wishlists and discuss purchases rather than buy anything on the site.
That made it impossible to recoup a return on investment in the tab software providing storefront capabilities.
Forrester Research Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told Bloomberg:
There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop. But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.
Facebook would not comment on the matter when we asked.
A spokesperson for the Gap told Bloomberg that the retailer would continue to evaluate whether to reinstate Facebook commerce in the future.
Marketers refrain that social commerce may reach $5 billion by 2015, but perhaps the push for Facebook commerce is too much, too soon.
Consumer resistance to shopping on the social network reminds us of how people felt about shopping on the Internet back in the early-to mid-1990s.
Once they became more comfortable with the technology and more confident about the security, people began buying things on the web. The same pattern might occur with Facebook commerce.
That leaves the folks peddling Facebook commerce software with the task of helping educate people about how social shopping works and why it’s safe.
One of the sources Bloomberg quoted, Wade Gerten, chief executive officer of 8th Bridge, responded to the article in a Forbes post, saying:
The best way to monetize social media is to empower people to promote products to their friends not for brands to spam you on Facebook. Online shopping experiences are better when they’re social.
Readers, what strategies do you think Facebook storefronts ought to use to entice people to buy things on the social network?
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.