Will Facebook Become the New Online Shopping Mall?

Katherine Bennett - May 9, 2011

It seems that Facebook is getting in on all the action nowadays. They received more visits than Google in 2010, according to TechCrunch and they have there own movie. They may soon add being a top shopping site to their list of achievements.

Last year I wrote a blog about JCPenney launching an ecommerce store on Facebook. In a nutshell, visitors could like, share or purchase products without leaving the Facebook site. Since then, other retailers have joined JCPenney. It may not seem like a big deal, but this could be the start of a growing trend. Remember Facebook pages? Only a few companies had Facebook pages in the beginning and now many companies, big and small have them.

The second half of the shopping puzzle is consumer purchasing trends. Will people feel comfortable making purchases on Facebook for a brand name product they want? It seems that retailers think the answer is yes. Some retailers feel that consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if it comes to them rather than vice versa. According to Direct Marketing News, Jim Wright, Express’ SVP of CRM and e-commerce says, “We need to be where customers are having their experiences and sharing information. We need to take down the barriers preventing a shopping experience.”

The thought here is to not interrupt the environment of Facebook users, but rather engage them to purchase while they are in their Facebook setting, communicating with family and friends. Think about it, if someone goes to a company site on Facebook they might just browse their inventory. Instead of leaving Facebook or opening up another window or tab they could whip out their credit card and make a purchase.

In the end, revenue will decide if companies will continue to pursue and develop shopping capabilities within Facebook. There may come a time that someone says, “I’m going shopping at the Facebook mall.” The only question left to ask is Will your company be located in the Facebook mall?

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