Facebook stores, popularly called as ‘Facebook Shops’ have become quite a favorite for new entrepreneurs, looking to swiftly reach a wide audience with minimal or zero costs. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that a lot of veteran businesses are also using the platform. While a Facebook Store is a great way to find audience and sell your product and services, it is by no means a viable replacement or an excuse to dispense with an E-Commerce platform dedicated towards achieving higher sales and holistic growth.
A Facebook Store can help you land customers among the millions of Facebook users, but it does very little for introducing your product and service, especially when the market is already abound with competitors. Infact, many e-commerce business houses feel that a Facebook Store can backfire by dividing the users attention. In other words, you can more easily lose the golden window where you introduce your product/services and establish first impressions which lead to customer loyalty and company credibility.
Don’t get us wrong! Facebook Shop is a good platform and today, houses more than 50 million small and medium business pages who rely on Facebook Stores to drive leads.
However, a Facebook Store cannot be the whole of your business strategy if you are looking to create a Name, Brand and ensure Consistent Growth overtime. It is only one of the many means to achieving leads, sales and profit.
Therefore, if you have a bigger vision for your venture, then it is not an ideal strategy to assume that you can forgo having a dedicated website for your business. There are various reasons for same, some based in business wisdom while others are simply common sense.
A dedicated E-commerce website allows you the freedom to control your entire media brand. This translates into a number of benefits. For instance, you can build your brand on your own terms and conditions. The more control you have over your brand building processes, the better stories you can tell to your clients. This is of immense importance because the stories you tell play a significant part in assuring client loyalty.
Facebook on the other hand is a third party website. You have to follow the Company’s terms, rules & regulation. These are also subject to revision continually. While all this is still acceptable, we must remember that Facebook is quintessentially a social website, not a commerce website. This means that people interact and share their intimate opinions and your Brand inevitably becomes an advocate of the ongoing narratives, even the controversial ones. While this is already bad enough for your brand name, many business houses have also suffered deletion or suspension of their accounts. This means overnight annihilation of your customer base. For any prudent business-man, this alone is caveat enough to have a solid and definite e-commerce website, instead of simply relying on a Facebook Store.
Multiple Streams of Revenue
A business website allows you to sell ad space & do sponsorship advertisement which can significantly aid in generating more revenue. You can set your own prices and manage ad inventory. This also directly impacts your visibility, while ensuring that it is not just your sales that are generating revenue.
A Facebook Store however doesn’t provide you with the advantage of selling ad space. No doubt setting up the store is relatively easier and cheaper than a website, but a deeper cost-benefit analysis points towards having a dedicated E-commerce website.
Statistics and Data-Metrics
With a business website, you can keep your statistics secret — an acutely important fact, yet easily ignored by businesses. Statistics reveal important insights and no one but only you can track all the information like the number of page views, hits or unique visitors.
A Facebook Shop page, on the other hand is visible to everyone, including your competitors. Every little stat and information, be it your fan-base, comments, what they like about your product/service, what they don’t like, what innovations they expect or want etc. is out in the open.
This data is gold and can significantly aid your competitor on many levels. Not only this, competitors often indulge in Mal-practices to trick you into perceiving a higher fan base than you have. Such false data is counter-productive and harmful as it can easily turn your best decisions into the worst ones. Worse of all, It easily exposes your business strategy.
An E-commerce website is your best marketing agent. Facebook Stores across Facebook look, feel and appear the same. But you can design your websiteaccording to your Brand Vision, Branding Goals, allowing for a unique user experience that can become a successful mascot of your brand. Your website evolves according to your business goals which means it need not be stagnant like a Facebook Store.
A Facebook page on the other hand allows you to add only Logo. You have a minor advantage as you are free to decide how information should appear on the page. You can also get to know about any update but only after it starts showing up on your Facebook page.
THE GOOGLE ADVANTAGE
Only a dedicated website ensures the advantage of having a higher visibility on Google search. This enables you to manage your content, use keywords and phrases that your potential customers may be looking for on Google search. Needless to say, this advantage is non-negotiable to ensure scalability of your business. Visibility on Goggle Search brings in crucial user behavior data, something that a Facebook Store doesn’t allow.
A Facebook page can be found via a Google search but it doesn’t provide you the same visibility advantages and SEO control as that of a website. While a Facebook Store is great to leverage user interaction and facilitate engagement, it is still only supplementary to your E-commerce website.
Less Information, Lesser Conversion
Your E-commerce website is the face of your business on web. It is what your potential customers interact with to gain information. An E-commerce website brings in more targeted audience and organic traffic. It also exposes them to other services and products which you are offering. A website significantly raises your E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness) quotient.
A Facebook page allows for some but complete information to be displayed that your audience might be looking for. This means not many conversions will follow. Also, useful information about your business is not readily available on the page. You may have your phone number, address, and even a help page. Many users would want to find little more about who you are & what your company’s vision is, especially if you provide services.
NUMBER OF USERS
An E-commerce website not only marks your Internet presence but also makes your business accessible to a huge audience pool and potential customers, giving you the opportunity to interact with a wider range of people and sell your product or services.
The number of Facebook users is 2.27 billion around the world, whereas, the total number of internet users are around 4 billion. So, that clearly limits your reach. The number of business houses to customer ratio also widens, which means more concentrated competition to handle.
Facebook Store or any other social media store basically allows you to stack up your products and services on their platform and put them on display. It is a productive means to achieve sales. But, we must be cautious in judging its complete utility. We tend to over-estimate its value because it’s free. What if they close down one day? You will have no right to complain. Remember, you are a user of that platform, not a shareholder or owner. They are not liable to provide an answer. Eventually, you are going to lose a large number of customers and can be out of business over-night.
You can use social media to drive all traffic to your website, as many successful e-commerce platforms do. You can then keep the list of customers and leads to communicate with them when required.
It sounds more logical to invest in something of your own than to build a business on someone else’s platform. That is why we highly recommend to every business owner to invest in a website, which ensures a robust digital presence, essential for growing your business online.
In case you need any help to design your E-commerce website, feel free to contact us here.