Facebook is making waves again. This time, they’re announcing a new feature called Facebook Shops (also known as “Shops”).
This new eCommerce feature allows any business to set up an online store on both Facebook and Instagram for free, making it easier to connect with customers.
Facebook was already making the move into eCommerce with features like Marketplace and Instagram Shopping. Now they are diving even deeper into eCommerce with Shops to create a better online shopping experience on their platforms.
Even though this feature is free, businesses are going to need a lot more content to support their Facebook Shop.
There is no better time than now to launch Shops with small businesses reeling due to the economic effects of COVID-19. Not to mention that online shopping now accounts for 27% of all retail sales in the US vs 15% before the pandemic.
Facebook has already made moves to help small businesses, the biggest part of their advertising revenue, during the pandemic. They have created a $100 million grant for small businesses and introduced new stickers on Instagram geared towards supporting local businesses.
The introduction of Shops, however, might just be their biggest move to help local businesses to date.
Facebook Shops: How Does It Work?
Shops is a free eCommerce tool that any business can use to build a customizable online store fast, and one that can be accessed on both Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Shops is built with small businesses in mind. The features included allow businesses to create a personalized experience for customers who visit their store.
Here’s what businesses can customize to make their online store feel more unique:
Businesses can customize which products from their catalog they want to feature in their Shop
Businesses can add a cover image and accent colors to showcase their brand
Businesses will be able to deliver relevant product suggestions to visitors based on their profile
For example, a clothing store can show only men’s clothes for male visitors
Businesses can share shop content in stories and ads
Facebook has partnered with Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to allow businesses to use third-party platforms to manage their Shops, and the ads tied to those Shops
Businesses will be able to manage their products, inventory, orders, and fulfillment directly through their third-party platform while managing their customization and merchandising through Facebook and Instagram
For businesses that do decide to use Facebook Shops, make sure you have the content you need to power your Shop.
No one likes to see empty shelves on stores so you should expect the same for your Facebook Shop.
If you need help generating content for your Facebook Shop, Trend can help you generate powerful user-generated content (which performs better than professionally-generated content) to power your Shop.
Businesses aren’t the only ones that will see a change though.
Facebook Shops is also overhauling the eCommerce experience for consumers on their platforms.
Here’s what launched to make eCommerce easier on Facebook and Instagram for consumers:
Consumers can message Facebook Shops through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries, and more
Facebook is also planning to add support for purchasing within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct in the future
Consumers will be able to try sunglasses, makeup, and even furniture using Facebook’s augmented reality technology
Consumers can connect their loyalty programs with their Facebook account to earn rewards with businesses they love
Consumers can save, share, and even purchase products from a Facebook Shop through a business’ website or directly through Facebook if a business has checkout enabled in the US
Additional Costs for Facebook Shops, And Why It’s Better Than Selling on Amazon or eBay
Although Shops is free Facebook needs to make money somehow, right?
Facebook Shops is collecting money only from businesses that enable the “checkout” feature on their store to accept payments.
Don’t want to use the “checkout” feature? Totally fine! Customers can still checkout from your business website.
If you do decide to use the “checkout” feature, you will be charged a 5% fee.
While this is typically higher than payment processing fees, it is lower than what Amazon or eBay charges. Any checkouts that occur on Facebook will save you a few bucks if the customer goes this route instead of checking out through your Amazon or eBay store.
Additionally, Shops has been built with a different end goal than an Amazon or Target, making it an ideal choice for small businesses.
Consumers that purchase through an Amazon or Target typically visit these sites with the product they want to purchase already in mind.
The goal with Shops is to recreate the discovery of walking into a shop and buying something.
Facebook Shops vs Instagram Shopping
If you’re an avid Instagram user or a tech-savvy business owner, you might have already heard or seen the shopping features on Instagram, also known as Instagram Shopping.
So what’s the difference between Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping?
Well, think of Facebook Shops as a better version of Instagram Shopping. The features that Facebook are releasing with Shops is meant to supplement the functionality that already exists in Shopping.
Remember, Facebook Shops allows for you to create a customized online store that can be accessed on both Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram Shopping on the other hand, only allows to sell products. You can’t curate your catalog with Instagram Shopping like you can with Facebook Shops.
Additionally, Facebook will be launching Instagram Shop this summer in the US.
This will add a permanent “Shop” button on Instagram’s Explore page and allow consumers to find products directly from Instagram Explore. Consumers will be able to browse selections from their favorite brands and creators and filter by categories like beauty and home.
How to Set Up Your Facebook Shop
Right now, Facebook Shops is only available to businesses who sell with Instagram Shopping, a Facebook Page Shop or both.
To set up your Instagram Shopping, follow these instructions.
If you are eligible to set up your Facebook Shop. Here’s how you can do so according to Facebook’s website:
On a computer, click the Shop tab on your Facebook Page. If you don't see this tab, you can change your Page template to the Shopping template.
Click Go to Commerce Manager. You'll be redirected to a Sell on Facebook page in Commerce Manager. This is our commerce order management tool.
Once you get your Facebook Shop set up, you can start adding your catalog of products.
And now you’re ready to sell with Facebook Shops!
Looking for Examples for Your Facebook Shop?
Facebook has an Instagram account @shop where you can see the new Shop feature live.
Use it to get some inspiration for building your Shop.
Bonus: Search some of your favorite brands on Instagram to see how they have set up their Facebook Shops.
What’s Next for Facebook’s eCommerce Ventures?
If you thought the release of Facebook Shops was great, we have more good news.
Facebook is also planning to release a Live Shopping feature for both Facebook and Instagram to make it easier for consumers to shop for products live.
This feature will allow sellers, brands, and creators to include products at the bottom of their videos to learn more or purchase.
Sellers, brands, and creators can tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live to display their products on the live video.
The Bottom Line
Facebook Shops is an incredible feature that will offer huge support to businesses that are struggling the most due to COVID-19.
When setting up your Facebook Shop, make sure to have the content you need to set up your online store. If you don’t, consider creating content specifically for your Shop.
Need some help? Trend has a whole curated network of content creators ready to deliver what you need to make your store stand out. Book a demo now or get started and build your winning content library.