Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Shops back in May this year, touting the revamped feature as a solution for businesses to strengthen their digital presence whilst making buying and selling online easier. But are they a smart move for your small business?
What Are Facebook Shops?
Facebook Shops are designed to be a mobile shopping experience, making it easy for Facebook’s billions of worldwide users to find, browse, and buy your products in the same app they use every day. Sound familiar? This revamped feature brings Facebook in-line with Instagram’s existing shopping features. Shops lets you choose which of your items you want to display and allow you to tell your brand story through custom colour and font choices. Shops are available on your Facebook Page and your Instagram profile (and accessible from stories and ads).
Why Use Facebook Shops?
Facebook Shops are free to create, and retailers can import existing product catalogues from their Shopify, WooCommerce or BigCommerce sites, among others. To ensure customer service, shoppers needing assistance will be able to contact your business through Messenger to ask questions, get support, track deliveries, and more. Currently in Australian and New Zealand, transactions need to be processed offsite on the retailers’ existing eCommerce platform. A Facebook Checkout feature, which incurs a 5% processing fee, is currently available in the US, but no word yet on if or when this will be available to local businesses.
To set up Facebook Shops you’ll need to:
1. Open a Facebook Commerce Manager Account: Just follow along the steps – Facebook does a great job of guiding you through the process!
2. Create a Collection: In Facebook Shops, your products are grouped into ‘collections’. For each collection, you’ll need to specify a name, description and a cover image. You can add multiple collections for your shop.
3. Customise Your Store: Personalise your stores’ layout and style to make it look like it belongs to your brand.
4. Publish Your Shop: When you’re happy with everything, click publish. Facebook will take about 24 hours to review and approve your Shop.
Do Facebook Shops Benefit Small Businesses?
Facebook would certainly like us to think so.
“Businesses of all sizes have been forced to change their models and adapt to selling online. We’ve seen this and worked hard to fast track new products to give businesses a better way of connecting with consumers and helping businesses who don’t have an online presence to drive sales online.”
Naomi Shepherd, Director, Facebook Australia
Facebook Shops provide an opportunity for small businesses through to large brands to make their products easily viewable when audiences are consuming their organic social content or being served ads. With Shops shaping up to be another ‘must’ for every ecommerce business, one might wonder about the potential future impact of making your business too dependent on Facebook. eMarketer’s Andrew Lipsman was initially skeptical about Facebook’s intentions here, saying in the Behind The Numbers podcast that “Clearly this is an effort for Facebook to build their advertising revenue, to keep specialty retailers advertising.” Yes, there’s a good chance Facebook Shops are a tool to evolve Facebook into a leader in the ecommerce space and collect even more valuable data on user habits and behaviours.
But if you know your ideal customers are on Facebook – and with 79% of the Australian population active on the platform each month, there’s a good chance they are – what have you got to lose? If your business is looking to make the shift into ecommerce, Facebook Shops could be a good solution for you. Additionally, 72% of holiday shoppers say they will shop more online this season. Give your business an advantage by enabling them to purchase what they want, where they want, and when they want by experimenting with new commerce channels like Facebook Shops.
If you’ve already tried Facebook Shops for your small business, let us know how it’s going in the comments!