A Bloomberg story yesterday tells the story of a number of large retailers, from Gamestop to J. C. Penney, quietly backing away from their Facebook retail strategy. Not abandoning Facebook entirely mind you, but altering their strategy of trying to sell product through a Facebook storefront.
Customers had no incentive to shop at Gamestop’s Facebook store rather than the company’s regular website because purchasing online is already convenient, said Ashley Sheetz, who is the Grapevine, Texas-based company’s vice president of marketing and strategy.
“We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly,” Sheetz said in a telephone interview. “For us, it’s been a way we communicate with customers on deals, not a place to sell.”
The point of the author, it seems to me, is that Facebook does not work for retailers. I disagree. While Facebook may not work for retailers as a place to conduct customer transactions, it is still a powerful place for retailers and brands to connect with customers. Consider this from the article:
“…many companies continue to devote advertising dollars to the social network. Facebook’s sales surged 55 percent to $1.13 billion in the fourth quarter. The company aims to use e-commerce more as a way of getting users to stay longer than as a way to boost revenue, said Krista Garcia, an analyst at EMarketer Inc. in New York.”
Retailers can effectively use Facebook to grow mindshare with customers and benefit from customers evangelizing over a medium they enjoy. Just because they aren’t ringing the register at the same tine does not mean that Facebook is a place that retailers can ignore.
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