Due to the uncertainties of the coronavirus, consumer shopping behavior continues to pivot from in- store experiences to digital ones, with both large and small retail businesses struggling to stay afloat. Many businesses have had to adapt their business models rapidly and shift to an almost all-digital selling mode.
Facebook’s timely new rollout – Facebook Shops – seeks to simplify these challenges by creating a seamless in-app storefront for ease of selling.
What does this mean?
Whether a business already conducts e-commerce or not, the release of Shops will allow eligible businesses with a Facebook or Instagram account to create an immersive digital shopping experience. The shops will be easily discoverable through social profiles, stories or ads, giving consumers the ability to browse, save items or place an order – without ever leaving the app!
Shops is also highly customizable; businesses will leverage Facebook Product Catalogs and/or e-commerce partner integrations like Shopify or WooCommerce (optional) to select featured products and adjust the overall look of their store. Facebook will also be testing out live shopping and loyalty programs to enhance Shops in the future.
What should marketers be doing?
Retail brands should consider integrating Shops immediately. Currently, availability of Shops is dependent on your existing setup. To qualify for Shops, businesses must meet the following criteria:
- The Facebook and/or Instagram business account must be using Product Catalogs – either natively through Facebook or through a partner like Shopify
- They must already be selling via Instagram Shopping, a Facebook Page Shop or both
For the initial push, Facebook is gradually and selectively releasing Shops to businesses that meet the above qualifications. If deemed eligible, the business will receive an email or notification from Facebook and they’ll also be converted to a shop automatically.
If the automatic conversion occurs, retailers would be wise to double check their inventory catalog for accuracy. Additionally, you’ll want to navigate to Commerce Manager within Facebook Business Manager to ensure the shop is connected correctly, and also customize the look and feel of the shop.
If your business is not already set up for Shops, there are several things you can do to take advantage of Facebook’s digital storefront as it continues to roll out. First, organize your inventory and build a Product Catalog – items in the catalog will be shown in your digital storefront and you can edit them anytime. You can create a catalog from scratch through Facebook’s Catalog Manager, or if you already use an e-commerce partner, you can connect your existing catalog to Facebook where your products will automatically sync to your store.
Once your Product Catalog is ready, set up your Shops storefront through Facebook’s Commerce Manager. You’ll have the option to create an account directly through Facebook or with your existing e-commerce partner platform; be sure to choose the option that aligns with your Product Catalog implementation (Facebook vs. E-commerce Partner).
As with any new release, expect some hiccups as Facebook continuously works to improve Shops. But you can really set yourself up for success by implementing early and preparing to adapt as enhancements are rolled out over time.
Considering Facebook Shops or other digital options for your retail business, but unsure where to start? We can help.