Facebook is irrefutably the king of social media. With more than 2-billion monthly users and over 1-million daily active users, the social network represents a frequently evolving marketing and communication platform for both new and well-established businesses. The recent announcement of Facebook Shops is shaking up the platform once again with a brand-new feature that has garnered much attention in the eCommerce world.
Facebook Shops is the company's newest way to connect consumers with the brands they love, in a seamless digital experience. The social media giant also hopes its newest offering can help businesses currently struggling due to the pandemic, providing them the tools to reach a larger audience and increase sales.
Facebook Shops connect users to businesses directly, allowing them to shop right from their favorite social media platforms via the businesses' Facebook pages or Instagram profiles. This new feature enables users to browse, share, and purchase products from their favorite brands without having to leave their Facebook App.
The Facebook Shop is customizable, allowing businesses to create an authentic brand experience. Customers can also reach out directly to businesses via WhatsApp, Instagram direct messaging, and Facebook Messenger while they shop.
Creating a shop will be free of charge to businesses. Instead, Facebook will take a fee for sales made on the platform– 40 cents on sales under $8 and 5% for sales over $8.
Facebook is still testing out additional features, including the ability for businesses to create and manage a loyalty program and the ability to tag products during Facebook Live sessions.
Facebook will be working alongside other eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Channeladvisor, and BigCommerce. Setting up a Facebook Shop will strengthen the rest of your business's eCommerce platforms as you can now sync your product catalog and manage your sales and inventory on the same platform. In a nutshell, Facebook Shop will get bigger and better.
For many new and established businesses, this is an amazing opportunity. Facebook is basically offering to provide all the tools you need that typically require an investment, for free. Here are some specific resources that a business would typically have to pay for themselves which Facebook is providing:
So, to use the new feature to your advantage, use as many of these free tools as possible in the most effective ways to leverage them as best as you can. Also, use a good social media strategy to help keep your target market engaged and take advantage of Facebook's cheap and effective ads.
In addition to the above resources, Facebook Shop provides sellers with the following benefits.
Don't you hate it when a Facebook post redirects you to an external website? Well, you are not alone. Your potential online customers share the same feelings. A potential customer is more likely to rethink their buying decision when they have to go to an external website to complete a purchase. With a Facebook Shop, on the other hand, they can make a purchase right there and then, and go back to viewing their newsfeed.
Most people are on Facebook, with the average Facebook user spending nearly an hour on the platform daily. If a Facebook user comes across your product and likes it but doesn't plan on buying right away, they can save it for later and purchase when they're ready. Also, if they know someone who was looking for it or who may like it, they can easily share it with them.
Today's consumer craves a personalized shopping experience. Facebook Shops allow customers to interact with you directly during their shopping experience. This not only enhances your response speed, but also allows you to convince the potential buyer to click the checkout button.
For instance, if you sell hair products and a customer reaches you through WhatsApp to ask whether a particular one suits their hair type, you can also recommend more products suited for their hair. By the end of that conversation, such a buyer is more likely to feel connected to your brand and purchase more products, knowing they received a personalized recommendation.
While Facebook Shop benefits run a wide gamut, it does have a few downsides to it. With that said, Facebook Shop is still a pretty new feature. It's not even available internationally yet. Add in the fact that a majority of Facebook users don't perceive Facebook as an eCommerce platform, and it'll take some time before you convince potential buyers to make direct purchases on the app.
Also, you don't just set up shop and sit. You have to develop your Facebook Shop to make it feel authentic and work on increasing your visibility by continually sharing and changing your products. This requires a time investment and additional resources if you cannot do it yourself.
Headless commerce–or separating the front-end content and the back-end eCommerce to provide more versatility and a more seamless experience for the user–is becoming more in demand and even necessary to draw in and retain customers. Facebook Shops is exactly the kind of headless commerce model that will likely be standard soon. The more headless options there are, the more platforms will need to adapt to compete.
Allowing more direct-to-customer businesses to thrive, Facebook could give Amazon some much-needed competition. It's very possible that once they need to compete, for sellers and buyers, free-market conditions will lead to better products and prices.
Facebook's new offering could change the entire eCommerce landscape and have advantages for all involved. Facebook Shop is a great feature for businesses looking to expand their reach with little investment. The benefits outweigh the disadvantages, and it's a feature worth trying. This new selling platform is an opportunity for brands to increase reach, traffic and lead conversion, and consequently, sales.