Facebook Shops: a review of the new e-commerce feature

Find out what Facebook Shops is and how it works

Facebook shops

Facebook Shops: a review of the new e-commerce feature. Source: fb.com

Shopping on Facebook is not a new concept. Brand profiles, local buy-and-sell groups, the dedicated marketplace, checkout option — they all serve the same purpose. Shopping while you’re checking the daily news feed is convenient and easy.

At the same time, there’s no limit to the perfection of the shopping and selling experience. Therefore, Facebook has introduced the new “Facebook Shops” feature.

What’s “Facebook Shops” for?

As you know, Facebook users are already able to create business pages to advertise their products and services. They can also sell items on Facebook Marketplace. However, it’s not very convenient to use separate interfaces for presenting a brand and selling its products.

SEE ALSO: A complete guide to Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Shops will enable linking an inventory catalog to a full-fledged digital storefront. The media shops will be customized with cover images, color schemes, and other visual elements to present the brand spirit.

Moreover, most retailers pursue Instagram sales as well. Hence, the company has finally synchronized its two networks with regards to shopping. Instagram shops will be rolled out very soon.

Since Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, the two apps were overlapping. A person could link their accounts on two networks so that the Instagram updates automatically appear in Facebook stories.

Facebook shops

Instagram updates automatically appear in Facebook stories. Source: fb.com

Moreover, page admins, editors and anyone logged into the Instagram business account linked to a Facebook page could sync business contact information, such as email address, phone number, and business address, between Facebook and Instagram. Updates made on one app appear on the other app.

However, all these interconnections didn’t work well enough for online sales. Therefore, Facebook Shops are now aimed to give businesses the ability to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram.

Small business owners would be the main user category to benefit from the introduction. Many of them won’t be able to reopen in bricks-and-mortar locations after the national lock-downs. A strong online presence will be a life-saver for such retailers.

Availability of Facebook Shops

As usually, the roll-out starts from the US. It’s going to be the most empowering addition there too since American businesses have already got their checkout option enabled.

This way, when users find Facebook Shops on a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile or discover them through stories or ads, they can immediately place an order without leaving the app if the checkout works there. In other countries, they will have to be redirected to the business’ website to finalize the purchase.

The feature is going to reach a global scale. However, the terms of its spread are yet unknown. According to Facebook,

We will start with eligible businesses who use Instagram Profile Shops and will expand access over the next few months. Eligible businesses will receive an email when their shop is ready to start customizing.

How it works

Facebook shops

Facebook Shops will be supported by third-party software. Source: fb.com

Shops will be supported by third-party software like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics.

The business social pages will get a link to a new ‘Shop Builder’ platform, an extension of the existing Facebook Page tools. From the Shop Builder, they will be able to upload their product listings one-by-one or connect to their existing eCommerce provider.

Creating a Facebook Shop is free. It’s also not harder than creating a virtual profile.

The customers will be able to look through the item collection, save products to the wishlist, and place orders.

Customer support will be available via WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct. Later on, it will be possible to view a business’ shop and make purchases right within a chat in those same messenger services.

According to the master plan, businesses will also be able to implement customer loyalty programs in the future.

Privacy policies

Facebook shops

Users’ activity in Facebook Shops will not be shared with their friends. Source: fb.com

Shopping is one’s private business, so users’ activity in Facebook Shops will not be shared with their friends, displayed in their profile or feed unless they choose to share it.

Some people may be concerned about the details revealed to shop owners via Facebook Insights. However, the company claims that

When you browse a business’s shop, we share aggregated insights with the business about shop performance and traffic, but we don’t share information that personally identifies you, such as your name or email address that can be used by itself to identify or contact you, unless you give us permission to do so.

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