The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in Facebook (6)

Thursday
May172012

Have We Seen the End of Facebook Stores?

This guest post was written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant, and contributor to The Consumer Matters.

Citing sluggish sales, a number of leading brands such as J.C. Penny, Gamestop, GAP, and Nordstrom have shut down their Facebook stores. Bloomberg News reports that contrary to the optimistic projections for Facebook’s “F-commerce” solutions for social shopping, many brands found that their stores simply did not perform well on Facebook despite generating plenty of likes and buzz.

Is this the end of Facebook stores or just a big bump in the road toward “F-commerce.”

Facebook Specializes in Social, Not Sales?

Perhaps the largest debate among marketing analysts right now is whether Facebook is better for social networking and connecting with friends than selling products.

Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, shared in the Bloomberg News article, “There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop… But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

The jury is still out here. While many Facebook users prefer to avoid shopping during their social time online, the user base of Facebook is large enough to consider whether this will always be the case for the majority of users.

Optimizing the Facebook Shopping Experience

Another concern with Facebook stores is that retailers failed to adapt their merchandise for the Facebook browsing experience. For example, some large retailers have put their catalogues on Facebook, like Express , leading to a slower browsing experience. 

If customers can just go to a retailer’s website in order to make a purchase quickly, there’s no longer any incentive to shop on Facebook. In addition, seasoned online shoppers may be used to the browsing experience on a company’s website over learning a new interface on Facebook.

Questions remain, such as whether retailers need to think of products designed especially for sale on Facebook or what number of products is ideal for selling on Facebook?

Are Other Social Networks Better for Online Shopping?

Is it possible that Facebook simply doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to provide the ideal online shopping experience compared to sites like Pinterest? While Pinterest is designed for click-throughs and browsing images of products in use, Facebook specializes more in communication and interaction.  

Maureen Mullen chief researcher at luxury think tank L2 advised brands  to do the following on Facebook: “Fans really want to hear more about products and want to interact with the brand itself… Provide users with content they never would have had access to without the advent of social media, share different perspectives and allow fans to share what they think in real-time.”  This kind of unique product viewing is not what we typically associate with Facebook anymore since it fits the niche of Pinterest perfectly.

When it comes to focusing on a product, it’s tough to beat the clean viewing experience of Pinterest.

Using Facebook to Drive Traffic

Rather than opening Facebook stores, other brands are focusing on using Facebook to drive traffic to their websites in order to close sales on their brand websites. It’s clear that Facebook is an essential online marketing tool, but how brands use their Facebook pages for sales will continue to evolve.

Maureen Mullen shared with Mashable ,“[Burberry is] using the platform to drive traffic at a fraction of the cost of what it would have to pay on Google and other search engines. In addition a significant portion of that traffic and resulting sales is likely incremental.”

Facebook is still an essential tool that links brands with higher sales and greater brand awareness, but brands still aren’t sure about using Facebook directly for sales.

Do Consumers Need More Time

As GAP, J.C. Penny, Nordstrom, and Gamestop rethink their Facebook strategies, it’s possible that these brands invested too much, too soon into Facebook stores. Customers may not have been ready to make the leap from social to shopping. 

The All Facebook blog suggests: “Consumer resistance to shopping on the social network reminds us of how people felt about shopping on the Internet back in the early-to mid-1990s. Once they became more comfortable with the technology and more confident about the security, people began buying things on the web. The same pattern might occur with Facebook commerce.”

While it’s clear that many leading brands have lost money on their Facebook store investments, we’re still in the early days of Facebook stores. It’s still quite possible that consumers will warm up to social shopping or that other brands will create an ideal Facebook shopping experience. Facebook stores aren’t finished, but we are certainly in a period of uncertainty now that the initial euphoria of F-commerce has passed. 

About the author:  Lior Levin is a consultant for a printing company that offers a variety of smartpress options, and who also consults for a neon sign store that provides customized neon signs for businesses and individuals.

Wednesday
Mar232011

A Cartoon History of Social Networking

Monday
Jan242011

5 ways social media will change your marketing plan

First published in iMedia Connection

Article Highlights:

  • Campaign ideas will be deconstructed into smaller, more digestible messages
  • Applications will continue to adapt to user behavior, leading to hyper-personalization
  • User-generated content will influence marketing strategy

Reputation and relationship management skills are foundational to architecting an effective customer development strategy for both B2B and B2C enterprises; this will be acutely true in 2011. No longer just the responsibility of a community manager, social communication will be integrated into service and support experiences, product, point of sale, and commerce solutions. Because official spokespeople are no longer the sole purveyors of your company's message, social channels can be counted on to accelerate and amplify the conversation between customers and brands. Look for the following trends to drive changes to integrated marketing plans in the year ahead... read more here

Sunday
Jan022011

Favorite Tweets Of The Holiday Weekend

@kenradio Why Bing "Likes" Facebook, Facebook should give Microsoft an edge against search rival Google -

@bgershon Ad Execs Gaze Into 2011 Crystal Ball - Great overview.... 

Social Media in 2011: Expect a Big Dose of STFU from my pal @

Great article from @ to start the new year, Design Thinking and the courage to do things 

RT@quirkyinc The NY Times Pogies celebrates product features which are "clever twists that make life just a little bit better" 

Saturday
Dec122009

Facebook Friends, Sort Of

RT@peterpham Shldnt be this hard RT @joshelman: I think I got FB privacy set up right. I used 4 test accts to check from friend, fr of fr,nonfriend, etc.

All of us Facebook users by now have wrestled with the idea of who to "friend" and ignore, and now that the new privacy settings are live, it appears we are all doing it again. Although most of us have adapted to the notion that we had only two choices - confirm or ignore - we now have to adjust our thinking back to the idea that there are levels of friendship.

On the surface, privacy settings are an obvious evolution for Facebook, and these tools address a big concern that has potentially blocked some consumers from joining the juggernaut of social networks or adding more people to their networks. But for the more than 65 million of us existing users, users who have debated the 'confirm' or 'ignore' question with every invitation, it presents a bit of a quandary. With so many combinations of settings when there were so few before, will it be easy for me to remember who has access to what information anymore? Life was so simple when I knew if you were a friend or someone to ignore. The relationship between my content stream and my friends was clean. You saw it or you didn't.  But now there are tiers of disclosure. And that means more settings.

If you know me at all, you know I am a huge proponent of giving consumers control and choice. But adding tools like this seem to "complexify" what was a pretty simple, binary communication experience - we're friends, and we share.

I recently connected with my older brother on Facebook, who became my second family member to join my network. Both live and work in different cities, not where I live or where we grew up. And I don't know either of their friends at all. Their "friends of friends" network looks a lot like the category now called "everyone" to me, and so that distinction seems especially insufficient for publishing personal posts.  In turn, the things I communicate to my family about my day to day has changed dramatically over the years, especially since I moved away from home. The current privacy groupings fail to help address the special kinds of communications families share.

 

 

Sunday
Nov222009

Hey, You, Get Off Of My Cloud

 Published: on Technorati.com November 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm

I don't know about you, but I feel like practicing good password-hygiene is getting harder and harder these days. The more places I have accounts, and the more ways I might want to connect to my stuff, and my stuff with my friends, the more unique passwords I need to have to keep my personal things secure.I have been told as a consumer I should have a unique user name and password combination for each service just in case a hacker gets one of them, he or she doesn't have access to my all my data.

I have also been cautious about allowing the linking of my identities across the various social networks, photo sharing sites, financial accounts and memberships I access. Every time Twitter or Facebook ask me if I wish to allow a new application to access my information, I feel my security lax.

But is my stuff where I really think it is? What's moving around between sites that "shake hands" isn't always clear to me, and I'm supposed to be a tech savvy buyer. Sure, there are privacy policies posted and I check the box on the page that says I've read them. But I'm going to admit right here and now that I haven't had the time or inclination to read them all. Lawyers often don't make entertaining writers. And some times, I'm in too much of a hurry buying that belated birthday gift that I don't even read the fine print about the return policy or back-order. So do I know who really has control of my content? Click here to read the rest of the post on Technorati.com.