Facebook Shops: The Future of Social Commerce
Facebook rolled out Shops last month, allowing businesses to easily create an online store for free, turning business profiles into storefronts. The launch of Shops was brought forward to take advantage of the increase in online retail, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as online sales are now so important for most companies. This development is great for businesses who may be struggling, providing a free route to their customers, and it's a feature that makes Facebook a better place to look for what you need.
For established businesses and new D2C companies, Facebook Shops allow businesses to increase their brand visibility and sales. This isn’t Facebook’s first attempt to help businesses out during the pandemic either, as they recently offered USD$1m in ad credits and cash grants to help small businesses; you can find out more on our blog here.
What does this mean for businesses?
It’s not an exaggeration to say online shopping has exploded during the pandemic. Facebook Shops is a huge opportunity for businesses to reach their customers for free by setting up Shops on both Facebook and Instagram; and the technology is pretty simple to use. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and customise the look and feel of their shop to showcase their brand. The Shop feature is initially available for Facebook and Instagram accounts, and will eventually roll out to Messenger and WhatsApp, too. Instagram Shop will also have a permanent button added on the navigation bar later this year.
This means that any seller, regardless of size or budget, can connect with their customers online. In a time where most businesses have had to quickly move online, a seamless purchasing experience is vital to capitalise on the immediate consumer intent. Facebook have highlighted that this is an initiative to support smaller businesses, “COVID isn’t just a health emergency, it’s also the biggest economic shock we’ve felt in our lifetime,” and although they admit this tool won’t necessarily undo all of the economic damage caused by COVID, they are hoping to help businesses of all sizes build the infrastructure that they need to keep trading.
Overall, this new feature gives businesses a new opportunity to reach potential customers and provide a compelling and interesting shopping experience.
The benefit for Facebook
Facebook Shops certainly has benefits for Facebook, too. The feature encourages business to move to a model that incorporates ads and means that potentially businesses will be investing more on the platform. Businesses will have a greater incentive to advertise their Shops through paid ads, particularly as e-commerce is seamlessly integrated into their page. Facebook will also be able to collect transaction data which will further improve Facebook’s algorithm serving ads.
As well as capital gain, an advantage for Facebook is that they can further prove the significance of campaign performance through paid ads. Often great campaigns are executed on the platform; however, this is not the only part of the consumer journey and conversion rates are affected when users leave the platform.
Ultimately, Facebook’s goal is to reduce reliance on third parties and keep users and data within their platform.
The growth of social commerce
Facebook Shops’ goal is to facilitate more direct-to-consumer commerce through a mobile-first shopping experience. The move to social commerce could be seen to challenge the likes of Amazon, eBay and Etsy, where Facebook will be used for product discovery as the platform evolves to a digital window-shopping experience for users to browse. With this in mind, there is now a great opportunity for direct to consumer businesses to reach their customers more effectively over the coming months – check out our direct to consumer services here if you need help.
Social commerce can be a far more streamlined process compared to e-commerce, especially when consumers can benefit from features such as chatbot checkouts, as well as being able to purchase without leaving the platform. Therefore, this development, brought forward because of the pandemic, will certainly help companies to sell directly to consumers – and arguably have made social media campaigns central to commercial success online.
If you have any questions regarding Facebook and Instagram Shops, or if you would like to discuss how we could help you boost your sales through direct to consumer, please get in touch below!