Solving the Facebook Merchant Exodus

There seems to be a merchant exodus occurring on Facebook recently. Bloomberg's Ashely Lutz wrote recently on the troubles of Gamestop, which opened a store in April 2010 only to shutter their f-commerce initiatives six months later.

Gamestop isn't alone, however - Gap, JC Penny, and Nordstrom have also jumped ship. So what's going on here? Has the community of Internet retailers invested too hastily into f-commerce? Can it ever work?

The rise in number of social commerce platforms on the market today may be causing the problem - at least in part. A multitude of vendors fill the f-commerce landscape including Payvment, ShopIgniter and startups like Moluku, and they are all clamoring for some attention from retailers. But these offerings may just be solutions without an actual problem.

The real problem, at least as I see it, is that consumers aren't really in "buying mode" when they're on Facebook. Not that it doesn't happen, but is it happening enough to warrant the investment? In my opinion, it is but not in the way that most merchants have their ecommerce/f-commerce platforms aligned.

There are a few strategies which may just right the ship, however. Instead of porting all of your existing products into Facebook and dropping them on a tab, another way might be to use the functionality offered by many of the f-commerce platforms to showcase products and drive interest, rather than drive sales.

For example, since we know that saturating social media feeds has the opposite effect and causes brand disengagement, a better idea might simply be to use Facebook to profile individual items and make the social participation around that product the sole focus of the day.

Just one way I think to showcase products on Facebook and drive sales. Do you have some ideas? Please share them in the comments section below!