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Facebook Shops Launches to Support Small Businesses

The big day was May 19, 2020. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s newest feature: Facebook Shops.

At last, a free way for businesses to set up product listings! On their Facebook Page, Instagram profile, Stories, or in ads.

Really, this couldn’t have come at a better time. As we’ve all seen, small businesses continue to struggle in light of COVID-19 closures and social distancing. A new way for these businesses to market their goods and services online could quite frankly change the game.

What Will Facebook Shops Look Like?

There will be a dedicated section for your shop on Facebook where you can catalog inventory. It’s similar to Facebook Groups! You’ll be able to add a cover image and accent colors for that extra branded touch. Organizationally, users will have the option to purchase, save, or share items.

Or, select inventory may be attached to ads, posts, Instagram Live, and Instagram Stories to divert users to your shop.

Zuckerberg reassured audiences that this tool will be an easy one to use: “It’s one simple and consistent experience across [our] family of apps.”

Basically, a lifeline for brands that are masters at their craft but aren’t so tech savvy. If you’re already familiar with Facebook, using this tool may come naturally.

They’re Still Refining Checkout

Though, you won’t be able to complete the entire transaction on Facebook just yet. Users will be prompted to go to a business’s website to complete purchases. 

Facebook has launched an invitation-only beta program for Checkout. It’s currently being tested. This would make it possible to complete a transaction from start to finish on Facebook. But, they do plan to charge a selling fee. They haven’t yet disclosed how much cash this will tack on to each purchase.

This means third-party partnerships are still entirely necessary.

The Facebook Shops Team is Working Alongside –

  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • WooCommerce
  • Channel Advisor
  • CedCommerce
  • Cafe24
  • Tienda Nube 
  • Feedonomics

Businesses may use these platforms to manage their Facebook Shop as well as their Facebook Shop ads.

Shopify paints a clearer picture of how all this will work, “Facebook Shops allows Shopify merchants to control customization and merchandising inside Facebook and Instagram. Then, they’ll be able to manage their inventory, orders, and fulfillment within Shopify.”

Though, we still recommend you diversify by selling your goods or services on other competitive platforms. Like, Amazon or your own website. Basically, be everywhere if you can. 

Try-Before-You-Buy Augmented Reality 

Another Facebook feature rolled out recently: Augmented Reality (AR). Yep, the future is basically here folks! And, it means you can actually see if that blush and your skin tone are a match made with the help of Facebook AR.

Not sure which shade best complements your eyes? Now, you can use Facebook’s new augmented reality feature in Facebook Shops. Or, ask for help through a customer service inquiry within Facebook Shops. You’ll be able to message businesses through various channels, like WhatsApp or IG DM.

Final Thoughts on Facebook Shops

As usual, this will not only be a benefit to small businesses. And, it’ll be a huge moneymaker for Facebook. Naturally, an increase in ad spend is likely to follow.

Though, don’t get too excited yet. As par for the course, Facebook does plan to charge a small fee on each purchase made through Shops. But, no specific details regarding this rate have been released.

Another twist, there’s also talk of eventual loyalty programs to encourage repeat purchases. Such programs could increase customer advocacy. And, lead to greater brand awareness. So, fingers crossed.

Of course, we’re excited for Facebook to step it up with these new e-commerce features. Because, it’s sure to connect more users with small businesses. Though, we’re still unsure how many people will actually want to complete purchases directly on Facebook.

Lastly, we’ll be following along closely! As always, monitoring analytics during this beta phase. We’re excited to see what’s best for our clients’ sales in the future with or without this tool.

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