Sorry, Facebook Stores Still Aren't Working

Facebook commerce hasn’t been a blow-out success so far. Several brands like Gap and JC Penney have shut down their Facebook commerce experiments.

To find out more, we spoke with Shopcade founder & CEO Nathalie Gaveau. Shopcade’s three-word pitch is “Pinterest for shopping.” Two things made Gaveau interesting to talk to with regard to Facebook commerce: her previous startup, PriceMinister, is bigger than eBay in France and sold for $250 million last year, so she knows a thing or two about e-commerce; and her new startup Shopcade actually started out as a Facebook app, and recently expanded to the web. 

She confirmed that Facebook stores generally aren’t doing well so far. The reason? Facebook “is like a bar, not a store.”

She is still bullish on Facebook commerce on the long term: “What we can see from early data is that recommendations and user actions drive transactions. Friends’ recommendations are driving higher conversion rates. It’s what everybody says, but we see it in the data.” So Facebook commerce is broader than just stores on Facebook, and if and when Facebook drives purchase recommendations that’s a big commerce opportunity.

The problem with Facebook stores, Gaveau says, is that “you can have the same content elsewhere.” The experience on Facebook stores isn’t differentiated from other e-commerce sites. 

This is a point similarly made by agency Hill Holiday: one brand that has had success with Facebook commerce is Diane von Furstenberg, because the brand puts together special offers for Facebook: not just discounts, but special goods that aren’t available elsewhere. Because of this, fans engage and buy.

And the market is still young: As Gaveau notes, there is no big pure social commerce player to this day. Some companies are integrating social and doing it well, but there is no standalone social commerce platform that is everyone’s “go to” just yet (but she believes this will happen and she wants Shopcade to become this)

So it seems like there’s hope for Facebook commerce yet, and social commerce in general. But don’t hope for commerce to be a big revenue generator for Facebook soon.

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