Facebook and Instagram Shops could be a game changer for small businesses and according to Mark Zuckerberg is “the biggest step we’ve taken yet to enable commerce across our family of apps”.
Facebook and Instagram Shops will allow small businesses to turn their business profiles into storefronts. They can build online stores, which will be powered by third-party services like Shopify, and sell directly across Facebook’s apps, including Facebook and Instagram. This will allow companies to turn engaged social followers into customers, quickly and seamlessly. This has been partly enabled before, with shoppable tags, but this is the closest we’ve seen Facebook get to fully fledged social commerce. Excited? Time to get up to speed.
Here are the five things you should know about Facebook Shops:
1. Zuckerberg said the shops launch would help business struck by COVID-19
Facebook’s State of Small Business Report found that that 31% of small businesses have stopped operating as a result of the coronavirus. Zuckerberg said companies were moving online to survive and this new feature could assist: “This isn’t going to make up for all of the lost business, but it can help. And for lots of small businesses during this period, this is the difference between staying afloat and going under.” Instagram’s vice president of product told TechCrunch that nearly 1 million businesses have already signed up.
2. Shops make the perfect social storefront for small businesses
Companies of any size can try out Facebook and Instagram Shops, however small businesses are best placed to benefit. They’re less likely to already have established e-commerce sites and this gives them a free and easy way to start selling online. The Shops are customisable, so businesses can make them feel on brand with their own logos and colours. Even customer service can be managed via Messenger.
3. Shops will be AI and AR enabled
Facebook appears to be pouring their AI and AR innovations into Shops. For example, part of their customisation will come from AI. Brands will be able to adapt their storefronts to show products most relevant to the visitor, personalising the experience. Shoppers will also be able to use AR to virtually try on sunglasses and makeup, and even see what furniture looks like in a space.
4. They’e even exploring loyalty programmes
Facebook is also testing ways for Shop customers to earn rewards with businesses either by connecting existing loyalty programs – or creating a dedicated one for Facebook. “You’ll be able to easily see and keep track of your points and rewards,” Facebook said in their announcement. “And we’re exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage, and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.”
5. They’ll be taking a commission
While Shops are free to create, Facebook will be taking a transaction fee. They insist this will be small and that the real money will be made by the new business opportunities this will create for Facebook in advertising, payments, and other services. They anticipate businesses will buy more ads to promote their Shops.
If you’re a small business, looking for content to bring your Facebook Shop to life, Vamp creators can help.