Socially Distant Shopping, Now Brought to You with Facebook Shops

Written by: Dana Schmidt

Now more than ever, retail needs an online presence: enter, Facebook Shops – a “mobile-first shopping experience” aimed at supporting small businesses when they need it most. Last month, in response to the global pandemic, the social platform launched “Shops” to help migrate storefronts online, complete with custom branding and curated product collections. 

While the new feature is free to all users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg did note that small businesses make up the overwhelming majority of Facebook’s more than 8 million advertisers.

How did Facebook Shops come about?

In May, Facebook released the State of Small Business Report based on a survey of 86,000 owners, managers and workers in companies across the US. It uncovered a “sobering snapshot of the struggle they are facing for survival.” The ongoing global pandemic has severely limited “cash and customers,” putting livelihoods at risk. In response, Facebook made $40 million available in grants to small businesses in the United States. They also introduced a toolkit of sorts for small businesses, complete with gift card capabilities and fundraising tools.  Facebook Shops was the most recent addition to this collection of helpful resources.

Is “Facebook Shops” right for your business? 

Do you currently have an Instagram Profile Shop or Facebook Page Shop? This new feature is currently rolling out to businesses who already use these two functions before expanding. The collections you create, however, are shared across Facebook and Instagram, allowing for a seamless online shopping experience in both apps.

How much of your product catalog are you moving online?

Facebook uses “collections” to curate products. Each collection has a name, description, cover photo or video, and between 6-30 products that you select. Facebook recommends organizing collections in themes that can help customers discover your products.

What are the benefits of using Facebook Shops instead of another mobile shopping platform? 

As Facebook Shops continues its rollout, businesses will eventually be able to sell through all of the company’s owned channels, like WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct – as well as tag products during live streams.  They’re also working with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics.

It’s free…but what’s the catch?

As we’ve seen with past Facebook features, your Shop could use an ad boost to ensure you’re actually generating revenue and moving product. If you can invest a bit of your marketing budget into a paid post that drives to your Shop, you’re sure to see traffic.

And if you don’t know how to do that, don’t worry! Chat with our experts for guidance and tips.

Are there other online solutions for small businesses?

As more and more business owners turn to virtual solutions to increase sales, digital platforms are rapidly evolving to meet needs. Take Instagram Shopping, for instance. With over 200 million users visiting business profiles each day – and 60% of people reporting that they discover new products on Instagram – it seems like a no-brainer. Given the current climate, Instagram is churning out helpful content on their blog to get new businesses up and running. You can read more about the integration of Instagram Stories into the shopping experience on Slice’s own blog here. Facebook Messenger has also enabled transactions directly in conversations; building a presence on Messenger allows people to browse your products and services, and purchase them all without clicking away.

Ready to get started? Reach out to our team of social media experts and we can help! 

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