Facebook is making moves in the e-commerce space! Earlier this week, the company announced the launch of Shops, a new way for small businesses to set up free storefronts on both Facebook and Instagram. The shops are designed to turn the social media platform into a shopping destination!
How will Facebook Shops work, you ask? Mark Zuckerberg explained the following in his Facebook post:
“When you set up your shop, it will appear on your Facebook and Instagram accounts to start and soon on Messenger and WhatsApp too…We’re also working with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics so that small businesses can easily integrate into a strong, open ecosystem of tools to help them manage their customer journey end-to-end, and it’s up to the business to decide what level of integration they want.”
Users will be able to find Facebook Shops on a business’ Facebook page or Instagram profile or discover them through Stories or ads.
Why Shops is important for your business
Facebook Shops promises to be an easy and free way for businesses to create a storefront on social media. If this feature is as simple to use, as they say, it will provide a great customer experience, causing a major shift in the online commerce space.
Facebook also just released its State of Small Business Report, which surveyed 86,000 small businesses in the US. One important finding was that 31% of small businesses have stopped operating as a result of COVID-19. Online selling has started to become more and more popular for small companies over the last few years, but the need has never been more critical. Facebook also found that:
51% of businesses report increasing online interactions with their clients.
36% of personal businesses that use online tools report that they are conducting all their sales online.
35% of businesses that have changed operations have expanded the use of digital payments.
Social distancing has made people realize how easy it is to shop from home. Once consumers are used to ordering all of their needs online, many will continue to utilize e-commerce, as opposed to going back to their regular, in-store routines.
What’s more, is that the audience is already on social media. Facebook has over 2.6 billion monthly active users! These users can browse your full collection, save products they’re interested in and place an order — either on your website or without leaving the app if you enable checkout.
The social network is also working on another great feature for small businesses – loyalty programs. Users will be able to connect their loyalty rewards, like those you’d earn at your local cafe, to their Facebook account. For businesses, the platform is exploring ways to help you create, manage, and surface a program on Shops, while the users will be able to easily track the progress of their rewards.
Last and MOST CERTAINLY not least, Zuckerburg wrote about their use of AI and augmented reality tech to create exciting digital shopping experiences:
“We’ll automatically identify and tag products in feeds so people can easily click-through to purchase when they find things they like. Small businesses will also be able to personalize their storefronts to first show products that are most relevant to you and use augmented reality to let you virtually try on things like sunglasses, lipstick or makeup to see how they might look on you before buying, or what furniture might look like in your room.”
Instagram Shop is coming this summer
In addition to Facebook Shops, Instagram will debut a new way to discover and buy products via Instagram Explore. Users will be able to browse selections from their favorite brands, filter by categories like beauty and home, and purchase everything they love in one place. Later in 2020, the company will be adding a shop tab in the navigation bar, so people can get to Instagram Shop in a single tap. With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is the place to be if you’re trying to attract a younger audience!
While it’s important for your company to have a website set up as part of your online presence/availability, as well as for those who are not as social media savvy, Facebook and Instagram are opening your brand up to an entirely new set of consumers! You will be able to get your products in front of more people than ever before, and if they’re interested in buying, they won’t even need to disrupt their social media scrolling to make a purchase.
Ready to set up Shops? Call, DM, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the best approach for your business. We would love to help you generate more sales, and create an outstanding customer experience for your shoppers!