If you’ve leveraged the power of social media to drive sales to your ecommerce business, you will be excited to hear this news. Facebook’s unrolling of “Facebook Shops” opens up wide doors of opportunity to go beyond just advertising, and straight into conducting commerce on the premier social media site.
If you haven’t bothered to engage with social media to drum up business for your business, now is a good time to start. Trends indicate the shift in retailing toward online sales is a real deal, made more robust in this unplanned and uncertain time of restricted public movement due to a global pandemic. Analysts predict that once the situation evens out and stores reopen, a significant portion of commerce will continue to occur over the internet. Put simply, the barriers that made many hesitate in the days before Covid-19 are all but shattered.
Enter Facebook, always in search of ways to capitalize on any marketing trend. Their advertising revenues—gained from more than 8 million businesses—have been astronomical, and that in turn has led them to jump in with both feet, offering up a first-line sales platform for ecommerce vendors like you.
This new, cost-free feature allows businesses to set up product listings on their Facebook page, Instagram profile, and in stories or in ads. Future plans include direct sales through chat features of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram Direct. Facebook owns all of these entities.
This isn’t their first try. Facebook in 2009 attempted a version of Facebook Shops. It bombed. But the subsequent 11 years have sealed their creds with exponential growth, virtual dominance, and a more mature approach to the rigors of balancing content with commerce. Experts agree they are much better positioned now.
Beyond merely listing products, Facebook Shops accommodates uploaded catalogs, making them accessible throughout the company’s various apps. Sellers may tag products during livestream events, making it simple for customers to click and buy.
Sales completion will still fall on the vendor, except for a select group of merchants invited to process transactions through Facebook. A selling fee will apply, and the cost will be disclosed following beta-testing.
Much of the narrative is driven by a need to avoid commercial disruption through the Covid pandemic. Facebook dedicated $100 million toward helping small businesses adjust. And they aren’t alone. Etsy, a growing platform catering to customized products, has seen an explosion in sales after crafty sewers responded to a demand for face masks, churning out millions of the now-necessary accessory, and a somewhat-related doubling of its revenues over the last three years.
All of this spells good fortune for ecommerce merchants struggling to gain market share, provided customers gain confidence with the social media giant. After fighting criticisms of privacy breaches, they will need to demonstrate that they can be trusted with payment information down the road.
Find more information on Facebook shops here.