You’ve heard of e-commerce and maybe m-commerce (mobile commerce) but have you heard of F-commerce? That’s the term that’s sprung up describing small businesses opening storefronts on Facebook. The New York Times recently took a look at this small but growing trend.
According to the Times, while Facebook stores haven’t panned out for major retailers, many of whom have closed their F-stores, small business owners—especially those with fewer than 10 employees and under $100,000 in sales—are finding success. One small business owner cited in the article says opening a Facebook store more than tripled her orders from what she was getting via her website alone.
But should you consider opening a Facebook store? Although this trend sounds tempting, I have some concerns. First, setting up a store isn’t something Facebook officially endorses or promotes; the article describes their growth as “haphazard,” and Facebook wouldn’t discuss them with the Times.
Facebook is a great way to promote your small business and its website. But is it a place you want to set up shop? The company is known for making sudden changes to its features, tools and privacy policies. What happens if such a change drastically cut traffic to your Facebook store or wiped it out altogether?
As a small business, you can’t afford to put all your eggs in someone else’s basket. That’s why if you’re planning to sell products online (or even if you’re not), you need a small business website.
These days, customers turn first to the Internet to find products and services, even when they’re heading out the door to physically shop. If your store, restaurant or service business doesn’t have a website, they’re not going to find you—it’s that simple.
Setting up a website doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Even creating an e-commerce site is much simpler than it used to be, with a wide range of “one-stop” options for creating a site that does everything customers need.
Once you’ve got your site up and running, it’s smart to make social media part of your marketing strategy. But don’t base your whole business on someone else’s website.
Need help getting your own website up and running, or fine-tuning it for better results? The experts at SCORE can help. Visit the SCORE website to get matched with a mentor and get free counseling 24/7, as well as to learn about SCORE series such as the E-Business Now seminars that can turn you from Web newbie to Web pro in just a few sessions.