You can now shop on Facebook! The social media giant recently announced that it will be rolling out Facebook Shops across its Facebook and Instagram platforms in the US to allow businesses to create fully functional digital storefronts. By expanding its eCommerce capabilities into social commerce, Facebook is giving businesses an opportunity to make online shopping a seamless experience while also strengthening their digital presence. 

What is it and why is this such a big deal?

The beauty of these storefronts is that users can now click on an ad, perhaps try on items using AI technology and purchase these products all without leaving the Facebook and Instagram pages of those businesses. Customer support and engagement will also be available using another of Facebook’s arms: Whatsapp (and Messenger), thereby providing a frictionless customer experience. 

Just in case you aren’t clued in, we’ll now be calling this social commerce: the merging of eComm with social networking features. The advent of social commerce and rollout of Facebook Shops alike has far-reaching implications for many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). For social media users, Shops is providing another way of interacting with the brands they know and trust – this is especially true as some of us are still confined to the four walls of our homes and are relying on online shopping as the global pandemic ravages on. 

For US businesses, this rollout elevates your already existing online stores and Facebook pages thus biting into an underserved mobile-first shopping experience. Setting up Shops is free and customizable to a certain extent, you can create an authentic look and feel that is representative of your brand. It should be noted that this Shops feature is worlds apart from using Facebook Marketplace that was launched in early 2016, though this was Facebook’s first foray into social commerce. 

Shops is discoverable through a business’s existing Facebook or Instagram page, as well as through stories and any ongoing ads thus creating a low barrier to entry for many businesses. How exciting is this! SMBs will now be able to engage existing customers and attract new audiences using this platform. To encourage repeat purchasing, there’s also the possibility of creating or connecting your existing loyalty program and allowing Facebook Shops customers to collect rewards as they would in your store.

Facebook has partnered with third-party eComm giants such as Shopify, Tiendo Nube and WooCommerce to assist small businesses to grow and build their brands on the social networking site. By partnering with these online shopping platforms, Facebook has made the transition a lot easier for businesses that are established with these platforms.

Along with small business grants and ad credits being rolled out to many SMBs courtesy of Facebook, Shops is giving you another shot in the arm to drum up business during this coronavirus crisis. 

So, what does this mean for you?

We encourage interested eCommerce businesses to reconfigure their social media strategies to include Facebook Shops when it becomes available to you. Updating your Facebook business page, revitalizing any images or videos available and ensuring you have a full purchase funnel should be a priority right now. Your business page should not just be about brand awareness and visibility, but a full user experience that sets you apart from competitors. Facebook is more than just a communication tool nowadays, its a fully-fledged advertising machine that should be a part of your marketing arsenal.

For tips on how to capitalize on your social media presence and create a hyper-personalized experience for all, give us a buzz. We’re just a phone call away.