Forrester Research just released a new report called “Will Facebook Ever Drive eCommerce?” and the folks at the Wall Street Journal have given us a sneak peek.
The report basically states that right now Facebook is not at all effective for driving eCommerce sales.
The study found that the average Facebook metrics are a 1% click-through rate and a 2% conversion rate. E-mail marketing, by comparison, has an 11% click-through rate and a 4% average conversion rate.
The reason for this is obvious. People don’t go to Facebook to shop. They primarily go to catch up with friends or play games. Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru acknowledges that people will go to a Facebook brand page and “like” it in order to get a coupon, but that’s a fleeting interest that may have no impact on future sales (except, I suppose the sale connected to the one-time coupon use.)
Mulpuru makes another interesting point that never occurred to me.
“When retailers put like buttons on their product-detail pages, are they really thinking? Your competitors can see what products are more liked than others. Are you exposing your sales information? So why would expose this information?”
Is that really a concern? I don’t deal in product sales, so perhaps it’s a bigger issue than I imagine.
The report does state that companies who sell digital goods are better suited to Facebook eCommerce but where does that leave everyone else?
Many people, and Facebook execs, would like you to believe that this slow rise in eCommerce is simply due to the newness of it all. If more businesses sell items on Facebook, then more people will think of Facebook as a place to shop. Really?
I’m with Forrester on this one. I have a hard time seeing myself shopping via Facebook. Forget Facebook coming to mind when I want to buy a DVD or a pair of shoes. It’s a “social network.” I might go there to ask my friends what they think about a brand before I buy and I might even check out that brand’s page in hopes of finding a coupon, but that’s as far as I go.
On the other hand, I’m noticing a disturbing trend whereby small companies force me to visit their Facebook page in order to get the information I need before buying. Some of this comes from Google searches, some are links from blogs where a product was mentioned, but I don’t like it. Why are people driving traffic to their Facebook pages instead of their websites? Oh, I digress.
Will Facebook become a top player in the world of eCommerce. Forrester and I say no. What do you say?