Facebook’s organic platform and advertising powerhouse has long been a go-to for SMBs around the world. To date, it’s estimated that over 100 Million small and medium-sized businesses are leveraging the social media platform (most of them unpaid) to promote their goods and services.
The launch of Facebook Shops– a “semi-free” eCommerce platform for SMBs came late last month. It has been positioned by Zuckerberg as a remedy for the countless losses that small businesses have suffered due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. As many take this time to rethink their business models and perhaps focus more heavily on eCommerce and strengthening their online presence, this olive branch from Zuckerberg is welcome news.
What we Know About Facebook Shops So Far
Setup is Free and Easy
As long as your small business has an existing Facebook account, the setup process for Facebook Shops should be a breeze. Using both social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram), business owners can choose the products they want to feature, or upload collections with up to 30 items, then customizing the shopping experience with branded fonts and colours.
The shops will live on companies’ existing Facebook/Instagram business pages, making it easy to monitor eCommerce activity in an intuitive way that fits in with the company’s current tools. In the coming months, Zuckerberg and his team will also be making it easier for customers to shop on Instagram, by adding a “shop” tab and other useful shopping features.
Since Facebook Shops is the result of a partnership between FB and Shopify, those SMBs with a Shopify storefront will benefit from seamless integration between their eCommerce website and their Facebook shop.
Of course, what caught everyone’s attention, is that this initial setup is entirely free.
The Platform is Mobile-First and User Friendly
Following major eCommerce trends, the all-new Facebook Shops is designed to be mobile-first. Once live, customers will be able to browse, save items, add them to a cart and complete a purchase, all without leaving the app.
Facebook has carefully considered customer service and communication too, allowing customers to chat directly with store owners or sales representatives via Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.
Facebook Shops will Take a Small Commission
While Facebook admits that the main draw of designing their platform to be free-of-charge was the potential for collecting more advertising dollars from SMBs, the company will be taking a small commission off the sale of each item. This is why we deemed the platform “semi-free.”
There Will be Options for eCommerce Integration
Although the project is Shopify’s baby as much as it is Facebook’s, both partners understand that providing options for eCommerce integration is a must in order to make it as accessible to small businesses as possible. So far, Facebook has partnered with a number of platforms and solutions, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, and several others.
According to Zuckerberg, “this is the biggest step that we’ve [Facebook has] taken yet to enable commerce across our family of apps” and “Now with Shops, we’re adding a new way for small businesses to set up shop and sell things directly online.”
Need help growing your eCommerce presence or getting started on Facebook Shops? Our dedicated team of eCommerce experts is here for you. Get in touch with us today.