When Facebook started rolling out their plan to put online stores on their platform in November, 2010, many believed that “F-Commerce” was the next big thing. It was heralded as a competitor for Amazon, a socialized shopping experience that allowed consumers to go to Facebook to find all of their favorite brands and buy products directly from the social network.
The concept was flawed from the start and the cracks are starting to show as Gamestop joins a growing list of retailers who tried F-Commerce, only to abort quickly. Their Facebook store lasted 6 months, longer than many others like Gap, J.C. Penney’s, Nordstrom, and Delta Airlines. People simply don’t want to buy from Facebook storefronts.
“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” said Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”
It comes down to mentality. People treat the internet much the same as they treat real life. When we’re at work, we have a professional mentality. When we’re hanging out with friends at a bar, we have a different mentality. When we are out doing chores, the mentality changes once again. The same is true on the internet. We are task-oriented on the internet much the same as we are in real life.
Putting a Gap storefront on Facebook is like putting a Gap store in a bowling alley. When we go to Facebook or a bowling alley, we’re there to enjoy ourselves, to interact with friends and family. We aren’t there to shop.
When we go to Amazon or eBay, we have a purchase in mind. We might even have our credit card handy as we’re browsing merchandise and comparing products.
Nobody pulls out their credit card before going to Facebook.
As the model fails, others are working just fine prior to the company going public. With 4th quarter sales topping $1 billion last year, who needs storefronts?
Hunch CEO Chris Dixon summed it up nicely in a Tweet: