At the end of March 2020, Facebook had a reported 1.7 billion daily active users and 2.6 billion monthly active users. The average user spends 38 minutes a day on the site, a number that has likely grown in the last two months with people spending an unprecedented amount of time at home on their devices.
All that user attention makes it the perfect time for the social media giant to make a major play in the eCommerce space, and that’s exactly what Facebook did this month with the introduction of Facebook Shops. The news comes just days after the launch of Shopify’s native shopping platform, the Shop app.
According to Facebook, Shops will “give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying.” For small businesses, it will offer a quick and easy path to selling online while helping more people discover their products.
So should your business get set up on Facebook Shops? To help you decide, here are some of the highlights you need to know about this exciting new eCommerce channel.
A Facebook Shop can integrate with your existing website or be fully self-contained
With countless small businesses forced to close their brick-and-mortar locations in the wake of coronavirus, many are struggling to get online sales up and running. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, one in three U.S. businesses still don’t have a website, instead relying on other channels like Facebook or Instagram as their primary means of connecting with customers online.
If you’re one of these businesses, Facebook Shops will let you easily create an online sales channel from directly within the platform, with customization options to match your branding. If you already have a website, integration options will let you choose products to showcase from your existing catalog. Facebook Shops can be fully integrated with Shopify right out of the box.
You’ll be able to tag products in Facebook Live videos
Facebook Live is a great place for users to discover new products (think beauty influencers showing off a lipstick or DIYers showcasing the materials they used), but until now, there hasn’t been a great way to seamlessly connect the live experience with a shopping component.
With Facebook Shops, merchants will be able to tag products during live videos, prompting a display at the bottom of the screen where users can easily complete checkout without having to leave the app.
Instagram will get in on the action this summer
The highly visual, lifestyle-centric platform is perhaps even more suited to product sales than Facebook itself. It will begin rolling out Shop capabilities in the coming months, with a new Shop tab that helps users discover products they’ll love (and helps brands get discovered) and easy in-app shopping capabilities.
It will be integrated with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
The modern digital customer may be fiercely independent, but when they need support, they want it right away. Facebook Shops will enable users to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, track deliveries and more. Future updates will allow transactions to occur from directly within a chat message.
You can use it to run your loyalty program
Loyalty programs are a great way to help customers feel valued and keep them coming back, but if there’s any element of hassle to your loyalty program, customers won’t use it. Facebook Shops aims to make loyalty programs easier to run by linking them to the customer’s Facebook account. This way there’s no more keeping track of logins, hunting down old rewards emails or digging around in a wallet for a physical loyalty card.
It presents multiple ways to reach new customers
One of the most exciting things about Facebook Shops for merchants is that it brings a slew of new ways to get eyes on your products. Customers can find Facebook Shops through a business’ Facebook Page, Instagram profile, via stories or through the coming-soon Discover tab.
Facebook hasn’t talked much about ads yet, but you can bet this will also mean new ways to spend your ad dollars and further expand your reach among targeted audiences. We’re excited to dig in and begin testing the new channel.
Shops will begin rolling out first to businesses that are already using Instagram shopping and Facebook Page Shop and will be available to all merchants in the near future.
Build a cohesive multi-channel marketing strategy
If it feels like there’s always another new channel or app to stay on top of, you’re not wrong. The eCommerce landscape is evolving faster than ever before, and staying at the forefront takes a strategic, coordinated approach.
From optimizing your digital storefront to building a multi-channel marketing plan that includes emerging platforms like Facebook Shops, we can help you grow your sales in a way that’s both profitable and sustainable. Schedule your free consultation with our team today.