I’ve made or helped make several lists of sellers over my twelve years in this alternative hairy world, and I’ve noticed a new trend. Rather than having a website, sellers are relying on Facebook more and more as their primary source for selling. I understand the impulse; it’s easy to update, it’s easy to promote, it’s highly accessible from phones/computers/tablets, and it takes no knowledge of HTML. However, I think it has limitations. (Remember, I’m no “young thing.” I’m 29 years old and can remember when the internet didn’t even have photographs because they took too long to load, so take my opinions as one of an “older” generation stance.)
A website’s design has the ability to project the style of the seller. From the background to the buttons to the color theme, the actual bones of a self-built website can express the artistic talent of a seller. Dark and spooky? Light and bright? Crazy and neon? Soft and natural? It’s just another way to get to know the seller on a deeper level. Facebook’s standardized blue and white layout inhibits this kind of expression.
A website also enables the seller to more clearly express needed and important information. Price lists, policies, shipping, color charts, etc can be more easily accessed on a website than on Facebook. In fact, as of yet, I’ve not seen one Facebook hair seller with policies about a sale on their page (please correct if I’m wrong!). Policies are a way to help the seller protect herself and for the buyer to know what to expect. Without clearly written policies, things can go awry very quickly because buyer and seller may not have a firm grasp on the responsibilities of both parties. Facebook, as far as I understand it, does not have a highly visible and easy to reach way to express such policies.
A website lets you know how organized a seller is more so than Facebook. True, not every seller builds from scratch, but still conscious decisions are made about what pages to include and how to organize information. Facebook comes with a default layout with very little customization available. Of course, even on Facebook, a degree of the seller’s organization can still be felt especially through the organization (or lack) of photo albums.
A website takes more dedication of time and skills than a Facebook page. To me, most serious sellers will have a Facebook page and website. It’s easy to open a Facebook page, load up some photographs, and start selling. But starting a webpage takes a bit more dedication, a bit more time, a bit more effort. Going that extra mile to create and maintain a website tells me that the seller is serious about their commitment to being a quality seller. That seller wants more than what Facebook’s standardized layout can offer, wants their very own space on the internet to call home.
Maybe I’m being too hard on Facebook, but I just don’t believe it should be the end all be all of selling; yet the trend seems to be going that way. Yes it is a great tool because it’s so accessible and easy to use, but I think having a website (free or paid) really tells me more about a seller than Facebook ever could. What do you think about sellers and their choice of platform? Does it matter?