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5 Reasons Facebook Stores Were Doomed to Fail
By: Christine Geraci
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Yesterday, we learned that many brands have begun abandoning experiments with Facebook Stores, as well as the "F-commerce" concept, after they failed to meet sales expectations. 
 
I can't say I'm particularly shocked.
 
It's understandable, and kind of inevitable, that such a concept would exist. Facebook is, by far, the largest social networking platform on the planet. Any reasons why a company wouldn't want to try to sell people stuff while they socialize on Facebook?
 
Well, I can think of five possible reasons, actually:
 
People don't use Facebook to buy things. Yeah, we've got regular websites for that. We use Facebook to socialize, keep up with the latest happenings in the lives of friends and family, and share details from our own lives, no matter how pointless or silly. 
 
Most people hate hard sales pitches in the brick and mortar world — why would it be any different in the online social networking world? Think about it: Every day, people enter brick and mortar stores, fully aware that items are on display to be sold, and staff members are employed to sell those items to them. And they can STILL get testy when someone so much as asks if they need help. How on earth would a brand expect people to suddenly change in an online social environment that wasn't even set up to sell stuff in the first place?
 
Almost nobody visits a Facebook page once they like it. So, you have to keep them engaged and interested via the news feed. A lot of these Facebook stores lived on business pages themselves. Either the brand's news feed content wasn't engaging enough to compel people to visit their Facebook store, or people just don't like to use Facebook to buy things (see reason no. 1). 
 
For brands, social networking is about sharing, influencing, and recommending. Not selling. If somebody likes your product, they might recommend it to their friends. But if a person likes the product, and the brand has taken the time to answer their questions or engage them in productive conversation in a timely and pleasant manner via social media, they will definitely recommend it to their friends — whether it's on Facebook or not. People talk — very often about stuff that happens on Facebook. 
 
Social networking also about giving. Social media allows a brand to not only give away tangible items such as deals, prizes or coupons, it also allows a brand to give people an idea of what they're about. It helps brands give customers time, attention and useful information. If a brand gives away value, both tangible and intangible, that brand will build loyalty. 
 
Perhaps F-commerce just needs some fine-tuning. But professional credentials aside — as a straight-up social media user, I could have guessed the concept of Facebook Stores, at least in its current form, wasn't going to work.
 
Do you think F-commerce could ever be universally successful?


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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