What is Facebook Shop?
Facebook recently announced the launch of ‘Facebook Shops.’ Described as a ‘new shopping experience,’ Facebook hopes to make it easier for businesses to launch and promote their brand and products.
It is part of a suite of e-commerce-enabling changes being rolled out on Facebook and Instagram, and Facebook’s launch of Facebook Shops is in some way their start to being a competitor of big e-commerce giants like Amazon & eBay.
So what is new?
For the brand owner, it allows you to create the full brand and website experience within Facebook, including catalogues, information pages and imagery to reflect the experience on the website. This is a major step up from the product only shopping experience available to date. Customers can purchase directly from your Facebook page without going to the website (currently only rolled out in the US).
Mark Zuckerberg sees this as a direct response to Covid-19 and the economic repercussions on small businesses.
Facebook Shops initial rollout is tailored to small businesses and local brands.
So how do I set it up?
According to Facebook, “Shops let you choose which of your items you want to feature, merchandise with product collections and tell your brand story with customisable fonts and colours. In Facebook Shops, you’ll be able to connect with customers through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to answer questions, offer support and more.”
It is designed to have an easy and free set up, giving the opportunity for businesses of all sizes to set up and utilise Facebook Shops.
When you open up a Facebook Shop page you will be greeted by what can be described as a ‘digital shopfront.’ Customers will have access to view the businesses story, the ability to scroll through the catalogue as well as the ability to buy the product. Facebook hopes this provides businesses with the ability to sell their products easily.
A major difference is that ‘Facebook Shops’ will help users avoid going to the business’ website to purchase products. So small businesses will have more of a chance to ‘let the products do the talking.’
Shops is hoping to provide a more cohesive shopping experience. Your business Facebook page will link literally and visually to Instagram. Users will be able to shop and view products without ever leaving the interface of either social media.
The best part about this is you can use Whatsapp, Instagram Direct or Facebook Messenger as a means to provide customer support which means you no longer need to worry about creating or subscribing to another platform to provide customer support. You can connect with users on these platforms for delivery confirmations, order confirmations, support, delivery tracking etc.
Currently, the rollout is being tested on current businesses who sell with Instagram Shopping, a Facebook Page Shop or both.
Shops will be integrated across both Facebook and Instagram. Once your business is set up on Facebook, it will automatically set up on Instagram.
Facebook is offering Facebook Shop business owners support through its partners such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics.
If your business already uses these website CMSs it will be a very quick process to import and integrate products and content into Facebook Shops.
TechCrunch mentions that Facebook’s vice president of ads Dan Levy said “that while the company will charge “small fees” on each purchase, the real monetization will come from driving more advertising. (Shops can also be featured in ads and stories.) What will differ is how consumers discover the shops, whether it’s via the Facebook Marketplace or a product tagged in a photo on Instagram.”
Some future developments include Instagram Shop allowing users to buy products directly from the Explore page. The shopping experience may also be eventually accessed through the various ‘Live’ features already on the apps. Businesses, creators or influencers will be able to tag the products from the Shops in their live videos before starting and the products will be shown at the bottom of the live video screen and people watching it will be able to get more information about the products and purchase it.
Facebook also hopes to make things even more cohesive by integrating loyalty programmes across all interfaces.
However, these updates will take more time to come, maybe it will take some months before it is available for everyone.
This will also then move into Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Much like the integration into Instagram, ‘Shops’ plans to be one shop across numerous apps.
So what does Facebook gain from this?
Facebook is not charging a fee or taking a cut of sales from companies that use the new Shops feature unless they use Facebook’s “Checkout” feature. Through “Checkout”, they pay 5 per cent, which is higher than typical payment processing fees but lower than Amazon or eBay charges.
While currently Facebook Shops is only tailored to small-businesses, It is difficult to ignore the potential advantages for bigger brands. The power of an integrated online social media presence means your brand will potentially tap into an audience you didn’t have before.