Did you catch the Glee reference in that title!? Great! Now, let’s get down to some business. In 2009, Shu Kim and Khanh Pham launched the beta version of Shustir, an e-commerce website that is quickly becoming known as “Facebook for small businesses.”
Over 29 million small businesses don’t have websites, and this fact has driven Shustir to offer the capability of a website and online storefront to these many lesser-known, smaller-budgeted businesses.
Shustir also allows businesses the capability of a blog, intuitive Twitter and Facebook posting, and LinkedIn profiles. Shoppers can haggle over goods and services directly with the store, and businesses can be promoted to a featured seller position that also garners higher placement on search results within the site. (Etsy, is that you?) Shustir also breaks businesses up into categories to help make your searches a bit easier, and shoppers are encouraged to become fans of businesses they like. Sound familiar?
Shustir isn’t free - a mere $25 doesn’t seem like much for a complete e-commerce website, but Shustir has competition. Since Shustir’s 2009 launch, Facebook has added features that let it compete with Shustir, and they are no small competitor. My fear for Shustir is that the social giant is quickly out-pacing them in traffic, functionality, and price.
Before I had even heard of Shustir, I installed e-commerce capabilities directly onto the Facebook business pages of two clients. The installation program and the entire Facebook platform are free, and Facebook also syncs up to other accounts to provide updates. Facebook storefronts, like Shustir, feature categories and can be searched for with the same search bar you’d use to find new friends, too.
In a 2010 Inc. magazine article, Jon Chait of Dace Ventures noted that Shustir’s 18,000 accounts were an impressive feat for a start-up, but that the monthly fees were too low to produce a sizable revenue. Personally, given the choice between suggesting that a client pay $25 a month to Shustir or pay nothing for the same features and even more capabilities on Facebook, you can probably guess which one I’d pitch.
In my opinion, Shustir was a great idea at it’s core, but the current execution lacks in finesse, capability and unfortunately, price. Show me more, Shustir! While I haven’t given up on it yet, I’d love to see increased functionality across the multi-faceted board of Shustir that just blows everyone away.