Social media is not only an insanely popular pastime for about half of the world’s population but also an invaluable tool for businesses big and small: it allows companies to keep in touch with their potential customers, promote their products and services, boost their sales through promotions and raffles, not to mention ads that can be targeted with surgical precision.
Simply being on social media doesn’t cut it today, though - not for a large number of businesses with a limited online presence, not at a time when retail is going through such a tough time. To help them, and other businesses, find their way online and promote their products and services more efficiently, Facebook has launched a brand new tool.
Facebook’s “Shops” goes beyond simply listing an item for sale - Marketplace was already doing that. Instead, it taps into the most-used eCommerce platforms to turn a Facebook page into an online store.
“Facebook Shops makes it easier for a business to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram”, the blue giant’s announcement reads. Businesses can load products from their existing catalogs - powered by Shopify, Cafe24, BigCommerce, Freedonomics, and some other popular platforms - and customize their look and feel with a cover image and accent colors of their choice.
Using the service itself is free, so any seller of any size and budget will be able to use it. The shops themselves will be accessible from the businesses’ Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, as well as their Stories.
Merchants will not only be able to upload their products to their Facebook Shops but also to promote them through Facebook Ads, keep in touch with their customers through Messenger, and even offer a built-in checkout (in the US only, for now).
Helping rebuild the economy
Many businesses were relying almost exclusively on their real-life presence before the pandemic, and it was more than enough for them. But the situation changed dramatically around the world, making it impossible for many small merchants to function normally - some of them had no option but to go online. And the situation doesn’t seem to improve. Initiatives like Facebook Shops may just what the world needs to reopen.
“If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people,” Mark Zuckerberg said during a video call, cited by The Verge. “We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online businesses get online for the first time.”
Facebook Shops will improve the overall eCommerce experience by saving the buyers’ payment credentials in a single place that they will be able to use across the entire Facebook and Instagram ecosystem.
Facebook Shops was launched in mid-May, in the US at first, and slowly rolling out worldwide.