For small businesses, Facebook has always been a reliable partner. It started as a way to connect with consumers and build a presence in front of a target audience. Now, it has plenty of uses including a place to build customer reviews, offer live chat customer service, advertise with paid ads, hold competitions and contests, and so much more. 2020 is about to add another to this list as the platform introduces Facebook Shops.
Announced back in May, Facebook revealed that Shops would be a place for consumers to enjoy shopping on Facebook. At the same time, it said that small businesses would have a place to reach out to consumers with products that they love.
So far, we’ve had a particularly difficult year. While some small businesses have been forced into reducing their opening hours, others have had to close their doors completely. For many, the key to survival in 2020 has been to open an online store. Facebook has picked up on this, and now it wants to help small businesses with this transition to the online world.
With the addition of Facebook Shops, businesses can build an online store on a platform they already use. As a free tool, businesses can choose featured products from the catalog, select a cover image, adjust the design of the storefront to match the branding, and entice Facebook users to come and explore its service.
Once set up, prospective consumers will have an opportunity to peruse your store on both Facebook and Instagram (another reason to choose this solution). Along with reaching your store through these platforms, consumers can also come across the store through ads and stories.
Will this feature become a success? Well, from the consumer’s perspective, it certainly makes shopping on Facebook easier. They can look through catalogs, save products they like, and place an order. As long as you have enabled checkout on the platform, your customers can place an order without leaving the Facebook app. Otherwise, they will need to click through to your website.
Another advantage of using this feature is that customers will have access to help whenever they need it. Just like asking an assistant in a physical store, consumers can communicate with a business through Messenger, Instagram Direct, or WhatsApp. According to Facebook, customers will order through these systems in the future too.
As a small business, you have been presented with an opportunity to connect with consumers and make shopping easier for them. This is a dream, right? Making it easier for a consumer to purchase from you, but how do you use the feature to your advantage? We have some advice!
When setting up your Facebook Shop, you’ll see options to customize your store with all sorts of imagery and color options. Therefore, it’s possible to customize it in a way that meets your brand identity. As you know, consistency is important in the world of marketing. Just because this is a new platform doesn’t mean you should stray away from what you have worked so hard to build elsewhere. By using different colors and images that you wouldn’t normally choose for your website, you run the risk of alienating your target market. Instead, choose colors, images, and a design that feels familiar to your audience.
When designing, you should also take your time in looking through the different options. You can choose the layout depending on what you need as well as visuals and other brand elements. For example, some will choose a layout that displays the newest collections at the very top. Alternatively, you might prefer a featured collection at the forefront.
This new feature is all about meeting consumers where they congregate, and we believe a part of this is making it easier for them to spend money and purchase from the brand. Recently, Facebook reported that checkout will soon come to Instagram. With this, they can look through a catalog and make purchases without having to ever leave the app. If you aren’t using checkout features on Facebook and Instagram, there’s a risk of falling behind your competition because you’re relying on consumers’ willingness to click through to your website.
One benefit of selling through Facebook this year is that the company has waived selling fees for the rest of 2020. Given the state of the economy recently, Facebook wants to reduce the cost of selling online for small businesses.
If you’ve used videos to show off products in the past, you aren’t alone - this has been a popular tactic for many years. However, the platform has moved forward again recently with the introduction of Facebook Shops. Live videos are a great way to generate exposure and excitement around a product, and now we can tag products before the video starts. After doing this, they will appear across the bottom of the screen where viewers can tap to learn more.
At the moment, this feature is in the testing phase. If successful, it will soon be available to all businesses. When this happens, we highly recommend tagging your products in a live video because it takes advantage of the interest of viewers. Getting viewers is just the start; make the most of their interest by offering a CTA with product tags.
It’s not surprising anymore that a significant number of purchases each year come from mobile devices. As mobile phones improve in their functionality and security, consumers are happier to spend their money and order from the comfort of their own sofa. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to optimize your Facebook Shops store for mobile users.
For example, we love it when a store uses full-screen images. As long as the photo isn’t overly cluttered, it can really help to sell an item and show off a brand. At the same time, don’t make descriptions too long. Describe the collection or product without filling a full mobile screen with text. The longer the text, the more likely the consumer is to tap away.
When running a store on this platform, one of the most important steps is accessing the Commerce Manager to assess performance. Just like running ads on Google or Facebook, data guides us in our mission and informs us of what is and isn’t working. In the Commerce Manager, you’ll see what contributes to success, what takes away from success, and how you can improve moving forward.
With a Commerce Manager, it’s possible to get insights for not only the products but the whole store. If you sell directly on the platform, you’ll see different metrics compared to a business that doesn’t sell directly. Get started with the following:
Setting up a shop on Facebook is great, but performance will only improve if you work to understand the analytics and act on the insights provided.
There’s nothing worse than a storefront that never changes, so Facebook aims to keep things fresh with collections. If ever you have a promotion, create a collection with all the sale items, and encourage visitors to browse this collection. Also, you could launch a seasonal collection or a collection of brand-new products. Either way, it keeps the shop exciting because consumers feel as though they could stumble across something new every time they visit.
We said that your shop will be linked to your Instagram account, and this means that consumers can swipe upwards on any story and reach your store. Therefore, it makes sense to use Instagram Stories more than ever. Show off products, use customer-generated content, and encourage people to swipe up and look at products in the store.
Facebook has openly said of its mission to connect loyalty programs to Facebook Shops, and this is something to explore in the future. If you can reward customers for spending their money with you, this is another motivator to choose you over the competitors. They can keep track of rewards and points, spend with you, and everybody benefits. As a small business, you could soon have the ability to create and manage a loyalty program on Facebook Shops, and this is something to utilize.
If you can connect a messaging app, use Instagram stories, take advantage of collections, and follow these other strategies, there’s no reason why your company can’t enjoy Facebook Shops as it expands!
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