Major retailers pulling Facebook stores

Posted by Mark Raby

In a world that is usually full of glitz and glamor, Facebook has its failures as well.

Perhaps one of the most noteworthy is the lack of success of "Facebook stores," dedicated storefronts that exist entirely on the social networking platform and allow users to make purchases without leaving the comfort of the site.

It seemed like a win-win idea. Users who were already engaged with a brand like JC Penney on Facebook could make an impulse buy while browsing the store's Facebook page. But the entire idea has been unsuccessful.

Bloomberg has a story about the failure of Facebook stores today, and it reports that Gap, JC Penney, and Nordstrom have all completely shut down their Facebook stores. It isn't just clothing stores either. Gamestop, which you would think would have pretty much the perfect target market for a Facebook store, has also shuttered its e-commerce platform on Facebook.

It's appropriate that this emerging market has been referred to as f-commerce, since it is scoring a grade of "F" among retailers. In the Bloomberg article, a Forrester Research analyst compared the idea to trying to sell merchandise to patrons at a bar.

Facebook is a place where people hang out; they don't go there to shop. It underscores a bigger problem that even though Facebook is the most visited website in the world, it doesn't drive a lot of commerce. Revenue comes mainly from advertising, though the social gaming segment is really starting to make a dent.

But this proves one thing - if it isn't a social experience, if it isn't something you can do with your friends, it won't work on Facebook, regardless of how many millions of people might be logged on.