When we think of Facebook, we think of a social media that helps us keep in touch with friends or get to know new people. But, as it turns out, more and more small business owners are turning to Facebook as a platform to help them generate income via sales, instead of the traditional notion of using social media for marketing purposes.
According to Payvment, a social commerece platform provider, there are over 100,000 sellers on Facebook. A recent survey, which was published by eMarketer, and was conducted by Payvment among its small business costumes - revealed that 37% of them use Facebook as their sole sales channel.
What makes Facebook commerce favorable among small business owner is the fact that you don’t need to leave the website in order to make a transaction and also the simplicity in setting up and maintaining your own storefront. With nearly a billion users worldwide, that’s one big marketplace to tap into.
However, there are drawbacks. Many of the social media users still express hesitation when it comes to making purchases on social networks, with the main concern being the buyer’s privacy and site safety. Despite these concerns, small business owners still find it beneficial to open a store on Facebook because of the low cost involved as opposed to the potential client pull (of over 850 million people).
The harsh reality right now is that Facebook sales volumes are low, single digits low. Major brands that have opened Facebook stores in 2011 closed them in the beginning of 2012. Other deterrents are the limited merchandise that can be offered on Facebook due to its nature and the fact that Facebook is actually the “Gatekeeper” that stands between the business and the costumers. The existence of a “Third wheel” in the business-costumer relationship is what caused some sellers to leave eBay as well.
Facebook still has a long way to go as a main commerce options for business, but we are now merely getting another glimpse at the enormous potential social media sites can offer. And while many business still use their own websites (eBay, Amazon, etc’) as a selling platform, with a few tweaks and maybe new branding – Facebook can be synonymous to sales as well. It’s still in its early stages, and as we all know – even Rome wasn’t built in a day.