The evolution of Facebook has seen it go from a social network to a full-blown marketplace, to the extent that people have started using the term F-commerce (F here is for Facebook). Of course, somewhere along the way it also managed to sabotage its users' data, but let's not go there.
The common perception about F-Commerce is that because almost everyone uses their Facebook whenever possible, they are more likely to come across businesses and make a purchase. So is the idea of instant selling really that simple? In this article, we will talk about the concept of F-commerce and explain why on its own, a Facebook Store might not be the right way to start your Online Business.
We have the Facebook marketplace where users can browse products by category, price and/or location that have been put up for sale. This puts users in direct contact with the seller. An important thing of note here is, Facebook does not facilitate payment or delivery details and it will also not verify the products that are for sale. It merely acts as the middleman, the broker, the intermediary between you and your customer.
To help its users take advantage of their friends and connections, Facebook introduced the Facebook Store. This comes integrated with many features including product catalogue, theme customizations and sales campaign among others.
Let's look at the Pros and Cons.
Fewer Clicks: Customers can shop without leaving the social media platform. Fewer clicks are an important factor in increasing sales.
Direct Interaction: Facebook allows the consumers to directly contact the sellers. This way, the consumers can clear any doubts they might have regarding the product.
Customization: Give your store personality by adding images and videos.
Traffic: Facebook has a lot of organic traffic on their platforms that you can tap into to drive sales.
Targeted ads: Create differentl Facebook Ad campaigns, set each one with a different target audience, experiment. Remove the low-performing ones or improve them.
Payment and Shipping: Less payment/shipping options, most likely without any setup available for external options, and none for custom contracts which provide better deals to large sellers/shippers.
Short Attention Spans: The one thing above all else that determines F-commerce success is engagement. If you are not regularly posting content, users are going to forget about you. It’s as simple as that!
Direct Interaction: Sometimes also considered a benefit, one can argue that direct online contact with all their consumers can be too much pressure since the workload can increase exponentially.
Safety and Ownership: Accounts can be hacked, banned, suspended or even taken down which is a risk for your business if you rely on sales solely from social platforms. Also, the customers technically ‘belong’ to the social media platforms, not your business.
Integrations and Customization: Till now, there can be no customizations for the business apart from the theme if they need an extra checkout field for example. Plus, no integrations with other useful e-commerce platforms, like MailChimp for newsletters.
Lack of Branding: No branding There’s an opportunity to create a unique customer experience on your own site. A great platform for telling your brand story and build customer loyalty.
Support and Automation: No direct/reliable customer support to help you (only analytics). Plus, there is less flexibilty to integrate software for automation on your store.
Slow mobile experience: We all know that Facebook app is extremely heavy and takes a while to load properly. If you consider that increasing number of users are buying items online through mobile devices, this is one thing where the consumers can change their minds and leave your store that very moment.
Unstable Feed: Any future update Facebook makes regarding their feed for users will undoubtedly affect the visibility of your page posts, your products, and will limit your chances for interaction with new and existing customers. Also, just because someone clicked Like on your page does not guarantee that they will see your updates on their news feed.
Ads and Costs: There is a difficulty for small businesses when it comes to Facebook advertising. You pay either by a cost per click (CPC) minimum $.01 or cost per impressions (CPM) minimum $.02. However, Facebook recommends bidding higher than that when you are creating the ad. This is because, If other advertisers bid more, their ads are more likely to be shown.
Using Facebook with Jumpseller
Considering all the cons pointed above, it is best to start your online business with an e-commerce platform with full Facebook integration. This way you can enjoy all the benefits of F-commerce while covering the cons as well. The drag and drop technology on e-commerce platforms means you can bootstrap and build your own website yourself with little to no coding knowledge.
Once you create an Online Store with Jumpseller, you can then use the Facebook App to create a high-quality Business Page on Facebook and import your products catalog from your Jumpseller Store. Visitors on your Facebook page can add products directly to the cart on your own floor and be redirected to the checkout page, making the buy process for your Facebook audience very simple. This approach allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds, i.e F-commerce and E-commerce.