When it comes to major retailers over in the US, Facebook hasn't been a particularly useful tool in expanding sales.
F-commerce, as e-commerce over Facebook is often known, has however proved a much more attractive proposition for small to medium-sized businesses, according to an article over on The Next Web (TNW).
TNW notes that large retailers such as Gap and Gamestop have abandoned their Facebook store presence, after only six months in operation. Why? Largely due to the fact that the same experience is available on the retailer's main website - nothing really differentiated it on Facebook.
There's also the fact that customers tend to trust the main website rather than a Facebook arm (just think of the security and privacy blasting the social network regularly receives).
However, according to a report from e-commerce software supplier Ecwid (who deal in F-commerce, surprise, surprise), smaller businesses have plenty to gain from building a Facebook storefront.
Ecwid's study encompassed data from 140,000 storefronts, most belonging to SMBs, and it found that 15% of total revenue was generated by F-commerce. That figure has increased 40% over the course of 2011, presumably with room to grow further.
The key, it would seem, is to take the time to develop a Facebook presence to be something different from the main business site (indeed, there are Facebook-only stores now, 40% of respondents to another F-commerce survey indicated).
Then it's also necessary to give people what they want - namely exclusive discounts and offers for loyal Facebook fans. In other words, a compelling reason to join, and a compelling reason to shop on the social network.