Facebook Shops: A Game Changer for Small Businesses
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced the release of Facebook Shops: a new feature that will change the world of online shopping — and if you run a small business, you need to know about it.
For a few years now, it’s been possible to set up an online catalog for your shop on your Facebook page, but customers needed to visit your online store to make the purchase. With the launch of Facebook Shops, you will now be able to set up a fully-functioning online shop directly from your Facebook and Instagram pages.
In this post, we’ll discuss exactly what this feature is, what it means for your business, and how you can get started with it.
What is Facebook Shops?
The new Facebook Shops feature allows you to easily build a shop on your business’s Facebook page and Instagram account, where customers can browse, view, and select items, and check out — all directly within the app.
The feature also allows you to import your shop from other e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and others. So if you already have an online store, you don’t have to build a Facebook shop from scratch. You can simply import the existing store with a few clicks of a button.
Why Facebook Shops is a game-changer
Facebook has 2.6 billion active users as of the first quarter of 2020. 1 billion people use Instagram every month. That’s enormous market potential, and business owners know that: more than 160 million businesses all over the world are using Facebook services to build their online presence.
Facebook also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, and the idea is to create a consistent and seamless experience across all their apps. Your Facebook shop will be accessible from Instagram, and a customer who added an item to their cart on one of those apps will be able to check out from the other. Facebook plans to integrate Whatsapp soon as well.
An additional exciting feature that Facebook Shops will add in the future is “live shopping:” the ability to purchase a product during a live broadcast. A business that’s introducing a new product via Facebook Live or Instagram Live will be able to advertise their product directly on the broadcast, and viewers can tap it to purchase it right away. Along with the new “Shop” feature on the Instagram Explore page, this will make Facebook Shops more than a convenient way for customers to make a purchase — it will increase product discoverability, too.
Facebook is also planning to add augmented reality to the shops, which will allow customers to “try on” products such as makeup, clothing, or eyewear.
For more insights into Shops, check out this recent Live session from Layla Amjadi (@layla_amjadi), Product Lead for Shopping on Instagram:
How Facebook Shops can boost your business
Previously, if you had a “shop” on Facebook, all it really was was a catalog. Customers couldn’t check out directly on Facebook, so instead you needed to provide an external link to your online store. This method could be far from smooth, and with each added step you would lose more customers who would give up or change their minds.
With Facebook Shops, customers can do everything directly on Facebook or Instagram. Their credit card and shipping information will be stored so they’ll only have to enter it once. They won’t have to wait for your site to load or switch to a browser. They’ll be able to message you from within the app to ask questions about the product.
This seamless, convenient shopping experience translates to better conversion rates, higher sales, and more revenue for your business.
And did we mention that it’s free?
Facebook will not charge businesses to use Facebook Shops. If you choose to enable in-app checkout, they will take a 5% cut of the price of the item. That’s higher than typical payment processing fees, but it’s lower than the cut Amazon or eBay take.
Another financial benefit is that Facebook Ads cost less when they lead to an internal Facebook link (such as your Facebook shop) rather than an external link (such as your website). So with this feature, you can save money on advertising, too.
A couple of caveats
The new Facebook Shops feature is only available in the USA and other specific markets at the moment. Facebook will be rolling it out to other regions soon.
Also, Facebook Shops is only available to businesses selling physical products for now. If you sell digital products or a service, don’t despair. The feature might be expanded to include non-physical products and services in the future, and you can still use your Facebook Shop to showcase what you offer. And hey — maybe now is the perfect time to think about developing some branded merch!
How to set up a Facebook Shop
If you don’t have a Facebook shop yet, you’ll need to set one up. Visit your Facebook page, select the “Shop” tab, and follow the onscreen instructions. Be sure to select the native checkout option when asked which checkout method you prefer.
If no “Shop” tab appears on your page, you’ll need to either add it or change your page template to the “Shopping” template. Click “Edit Page Info” on the top right side of your page and select “Templates and Tabs” from the left-hand menu. To add a “Shop” tab, scroll down to the bottom of the page, click “Add tab,” and select “Shop.” If you prefer to change your page template, click “Edit” under Templates, and apply the “Shopping” template.
You can then add products manually, or import them from an existing store from an .XML file.
If you have a Shopify store, you probably already received an email explaining how to connect your Shopify store to Facebook. The great thing about this integration is that the stores are connected, so when you add a new product on Shopify, it’ll show up on Facebook, too.
You can also set up your shop on Instagram. Simply visit your profile page: if Facebook Shops is available in your region, you’ll see a “Shop” button below your bio. Tap it and follow the instructions to set up your shop.
Spread the word
Once you’ve set up your shop, you’ll want to let your customers know about it! You can use the Boosted app to create a cool video in just a few minutes, and use it to spread the word across Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Shops has the potential to revolutionize the world of e-commerce for both customers and businesses. The coronavirus pandemic has given us all a nudge towards further developing the potential of online shopping, and Facebook is helping move this process along.
If you sell physical products, don’t miss the boat on this one — be among the first to set up your Facebook Shop. The potential to boost your business is huge.