By Rieva Lesonsky
There’s a new way to sell your products online that you may not have heard of. It’s not ecommerce or even mcommerce–it’s f-commerce, or the practice of opening a “store” to sell products directly from Facebook.
According to The New York Times, Facebook stores are growing among small business owners. The Times reports that 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. Sounds great, right? Not so fast.
If you’re considering opening a Facebook store, take some things into consideration first. To begin with, setting up a Facebook store isn’t something Facebook officially endorses or promotes; the article describes the growth of Facebook stores 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 ecommerce 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.