Your Facebook Brand Page Is Not A Retail Destination

It’s no secret that many retailers had hoped the Facebook platform would deliver sales. Ultimately, retailers and Facebook want e-commerce to succeed but in order for that to happen a few things must take place first.

Retail on Facebook cannot be treated like a traditional e-commerce experience. Facebook is as much a discovery platform as it is a social platform. Given this, e-commerce experiences need to be setup in such a way that retailers can take advantage of discovery-driven behavior.

We browse our Newsfeed in the hopes of finding something entertaining or interesting. JC Penny’s, GameStop and Nordstrom’s have all opened and closed their Facebook storefronts. This should surprise no one. These Facebook commerce experiences attempt to mirror their existing e-commerce sites – which for the most part are good,  if not better than the ill-fated 520 pixel- wide attempts on their Facebook pages.

There are two inherent problems with retail on Facebook. The first being that Facebook has not provided retailers any substantive e-commerce functionality. Third party companies understandably – given the void – provide some commerce functionality on Facebook, but this is a task where Facebook must take the lead. Facebook commerce represents a potential revenue stream that could become as vital as advertising. Given the desire by major retailers to participate and the obvious benefits to Facebook’s bottom line, Facebook needs to show some leadership and innovation in the space.

The second problem is Facebook is by no means a mature platform. Though Facebook’s growth is beginning to slow – as would be expected when a platform hits nearly 1 billion users – the platform and user behavior is still evolving. Give Facebook and its users time to understand and get comfortable with just how commercial exchanges will take place on the platform. When this happens retailers can fairly expect results.

However, it’s still early and retailers are treating their Facebook pages as though it’s their website and it’s not. is a destination, Nordstrom’s on Facebook is a discovery and the purchase of a Nordstrom’s product on Facebook will be an impulsive act.

If you have a retail experience on your Facebook page ask yourself a few questions and decide if retail on Facebook is right for you:

  • Does the experience accurately reflect your brand (visually and experientially)?
  • Are you getting a return on your investment?
  • Could your Facebook commerce resources, be reallocated for a bigger return elsewhere?
  • What is the goal (beyond selling things) for integrating commerce with social