Facebook Announces a New Shopping Feature Across Apps
Back in the day, location was an essential aspect of success in business. If you wanted to run a profitable bakery, for example, you had to move your store where people who wanted bread were most likely to be – the market or across the street in a small neighbourhood. Today, the principle remains the same, but the locations that have changed.
Rather than dress up to socialize with others at the marketplace or in private clubs, people now spend most of their time online. And on social media, in particular. That’s the idea behind Facebook’s new Shops feature, which will let you create a customizable and fully integrated online store on both Facebook and Instagram.
The ultimate goal: to meet your customers where they are.
Facebook Shops: What’s New?
Facebook Shops builds on the company’s existing, but limited ecommerce functions. You can already advertise your business and even sell certain items on Facebook and Instagram if you have a Commerce Account, but the new Shops feature will give you the possibility to customize your storefront on both platforms to match your brand.
In addition, Facebook Shops will integrate Shopify tools to help you personalize your online store, organize your products, keep track of your inventory, and more. If before, you had to take care of payments yourself, now you no longer have to worry. Facebook will introduce a check-out feature that your customers will use to make easy in-app purchases straight from your shop’s page.
According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Shops will become available to all business owners in a matter of months. If, however, you already have a Commerce Account for either Facebook or Instagram, you might be able to test out the new features in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on out for an email that lets you know your shop is ready.
How Can Facebook Shops Help Your Business?
Facebook can’t guarantee the success of your business, but it can do two things very well: 1) it can advertise your products to people who are likely to be interested in them, and 2) it can make it very easy for your customers to buy from your store while browsing on social media.
These two are reasons enough to try out the new Facebook Shops feature. But here’s a few more:
- Your business gains visibility. People spend impressive amounts of time on social media platforms on a daily basis. If you want to make your products known, advertising on these platforms is the way to go.
- Visitors can easily identify your brand. With help from Shopify, Facebook Shops gives you the option to personalize your digital storefront with unique themes and colours. This way, your loyal customers will recognize your products right away.
- You can manage your Facebook and Instagram shops in one place. Give your potential customers a unified experience over both platforms. Your two shops are synchronized so that any change you make on one platform will also go live on the other.
- Collections help customers find the right products. Organize and showcase your items into featured titles that match the look and feel of your brick-and-mortar or online store. Your customers can find your shop, choose a product, and place an order without ever leaving Facebook or Instagram.
- Your store becomes an immersive, native mobile experience. Facebook Shops is designed to make your products look good, regardless of the platform. That said, the focus is to create an immersive shopping experience with full-screen product images aimed primarily at mobile users.
Facebook Shops was just announced earlier this week, which means that more features are likely to become available by the time it is officially launched. So far, Shops is shaping up to be an excellent tool for business owners looking to advertise their online stores on multiple social media channels.
What Does Facebook Get Out of the New Shops Feature?
Facebook Shops will be made available for free to all business owners who want to give it a go, but this raises an interesting question. What does Facebook get in return? According to Zuckerberg, the company’s business model is centred on ads, which is how they hope to ultimately monetize the new Shops feature.
By giving businesses innovative tools to bring in more customers and increase their sales, Facebook hopes to improve its revenues from ads. However, it’s no secret that the social media platform has lost much of its popularity – alongside tens of thousands of users – over data privacy scandals in the past couple of years.
The free Shops feature could act as an incentive for businesses to continue to work with Facebook in spite of its recent, troublesome trajectory. Will it be enough to keep business owners and customers engaged with one another through this social media platform? Only time will tell.
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