It's no secret: Small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a recent survey of nearly 86,000 small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners, managers and workers, 31% percent reported that their SMB is no longer operating. And companies that are still operational are trying to adapt by moving online — expanding their use of digital payment methods, as well as offering home or curbside delivery.
Fifty-six percent of businesses taking advantage of online tools stated that they’re generating at least half of their sales digitally. However, they’re still struggling financially, primarily when it comes to paying workers' salaries and wages, and covering bills.
In May 2020, Facebook launched Facebook Shops to help small businesses and empower them to connect with their customers online. Here's an overview of what it is and how it works.
What are Facebook Shops, and How Do They Work?
Facebook Shops allow businesses to start selling online with ease. Businesses can use this new feature to set up a store on Facebook and start selling their products online within a single day.
Businesses can also customize the look of their Facebook Shop: They can use a cover image and accent colors that align with their brand, upload their products and start selling straight away.
Customers can discover a particular brand’s Facebook Shop through the brand’s Facebook page or Instagram profile, as well as through stories and ads. They can then browse, save or purchase products that are available in the brand’s Facebook shop. A user can also comment on and share products with their Facebook friends.
If the brand is using Facebook Checkout, customers can purchase products without leaving Facebook. They're able to save their payment credentials, allowing for easier checkout across Facebook’s family of apps, too. This reduces checkout friction and creates a faster and more convenient shopping experience, which, in turn, results in improved conversion rates and increased sales for businesses.
Brands can also opt to direct shoppers to their website to complete their purchase.
Soon, you could see more features. Think: loyalty programs and in-stream product tagging. The social media giant also plans on taking advantage of artificial intelligence to create personalized shopping experiences on the platform.
Why Should You Use Facebook Shops?
There are a couple reasons why businesses should consider opening a Facebook Shop, even if they already sell online through their own store website.
- First, creating a Facebook Shop makes it easier for the 2.7 billion Facebook users to discover your products, helping you get your brand in front of more people for free.
- Second, it enables you to tag products in all your Facebook posts, which will help you generate more product page visits and significantly improve click-through rate. Facebook is also planning to implement a feature that will use machine learning to do this automatically for you.
By enabling users to comment on and share products from your Facebook Shops page, a Facebook Shop will also help you generate more social proof for your brand and products. This, in turn, will help you convert more shoppers into customers.
How Much Does it Cost to Use Facebook Shops?
It’s currently free to set up a Facebook Shop.
You’ll need to pay a 5% transaction fee if you decide to use Facebook Checkout. However, according to Mark Zuckerberg, the idea behind Facebook Shops is to get businesses to spend more money on Facebook advertising, rather than make money off transaction fees.
“Our business model here is ads, so rather than charge businesses for Shops, we know that if Shops are valuable for businesses they’re going to, in general, want to bid more for ads,” Zuckerberg said. “We’ll eventually make money that way.” (Mark Zuckerberg, CNBC)
This means that Facebook might consider reducing the transaction fee in the future to be in line with what other popular payment processors, such as what Stripe and PayPal are charging (i.e., 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction).
How Can You Start Using Facebook Shops?
Shopify users that already have access to Instagram product tags will automatically gain access to Facebook Shops. Others will have to wait a bit longer to try out Facebook’s new ecommerce solution.
If you’ve been granted access to Facebook Shops, simply go to your Facebook page and then visit the Shop tab to get started. If you can’t see the Shop tab, go to Settings > Templates and Tabs > Add a Tab and then select Shop.
You’ll then need to choose a checkout option (in-app or off-site) and select the currency you’d like to use for displaying product prices.
The next step will involve adding products to your Facebook Shop. You can do this manually using the Shop tab or by taking advantage of the Catalog Manager to create a product catalog automatically.
If you’re on Shopify, the process is even simpler. Just install the new Facebook channel and sync your products automatically.
Visit your Shopify dashboard, go to Sales channels and then click the "+" symbol next to the Facebook section.
Then, click on Connect Account and grant Shopify the necessary permissions.
Finally, select the Facebook page you’d like to use.
You’ll then need to wait for approval from Facebook.
Note: You don’t have to make your entire product catalog available through Facebook Shops. You can choose which products shoppers will be able to purchase through your Facebook Shops page by going to Products > All products, checking the products you’d like to make available and then choosing Make products available from the Actions drop-down menu.
You can repeat the same process with your product collections as well.
Start Using Facebook Shops Today
Facebook Shops is a great way to move your business online or generate more sales for your existing online business.
Facebook has created a native shopping experience that significantly reduces checkout friction and helps businesses sell more easily to Facebook’s large user base. Facebook Shops can help you improve brand awareness, generate social proof and drive more sales for your business.