From May 19th Facebook started to roll out a new feature, Facebook Shops. This is an in-platform, mobile-first shopping experience designed to make online shopping seamless.
Facebook Shops is designed for e-commerce businesses selling physical products, who want a quick route to market and start selling with comparatively little setup.
As you’d expect, it is relatively simple to set up Facebook Shop within your Business Manager. You are able upload products individually or bulk upload through an XML file via their catalogue functionality. Your Facebook Shop is also customisable to ensure that you are keeping things on brand.
Once your Facebook Shop is set up you will have a button on your Business Page where customers can click and shop directly through the Facebook Platform.
Once a customer has clicked on this link they will be taken to an in-platform shop where they are able to browse collections, save items to wish lists, add to cart and purchase all within the Facebook platform.
When it comes to customer service, potential customers are also able to direct any questions they might have within Facebook Shops, either via a link to the business’ WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
People will be able to find your Facebook Shop via your business’ Facebook Page, Instagram Page, stories and ads. Being able to link your Facebook Shop directly to ads is pretty exciting as this would create a much more cohesive shopping experience.
This could also alleviate issues with poor landing pages where you’re struggling with resource to make fast improvements. I will be watching the results of ads linking to Facebook Shops closely!
So where’s the catch? Facebook suggests that Facebook Shops has been set up in a bid to “help small business that are struggling”. This is an interesting take as in Facebook’s introduction blogs there is no mention of their fee structure, in fact it took quite a few searches to find out exactly what the fee structure is for Facebook Shop. The fee is 5% which while similar to platforms like Etsy is still high especially for small businesses with small margins.
While Facebook Shops is an exciting new feature, I have to admit there a few more upcoming additions to Facebook’s remit that I find far more tantalising.
Instagram Shops is launching this Summer starting in the US. Instagram Shops will be a way to discover and purchase products through Instagram Explore (watch out Pinterest, Instagram is coming for you). More and more Instagram has moved away from a platform where you keep up to date with friends and more towards a place to keep up with trends.
There will also be a Live Shopping Feature added where people are able to buy products in real time from Instagram Lives. This feels like it has been a long time coming with influencers using Instagram Live more frequently especially throughout lockdown and the process of linking products has been always been quite clunky with links being added afterwards or in a separate post.
There are lots of exciting new things happening within Facebook and Instagram and while there are always teething issues with new features it will be interesting to see over the coming months how these new features perform.
How do you feel about Facebook Shops? Will it take off?