In May 2020, Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of Facebook Shops. Since abandoning the development of a stand alone Instagram shopping app in 2018, Facebook has been developing what they claim will be ‘a top tier shopping destination’. The Coronavirus pandemic has created a surge in online shopping and in reaction Facebook have brought forward the development of their Facebook Shops platform. So, is it something businesses should be embracing as part of their social media strategy?
What exactly is a Facebook Shop?
It’s a customisable digital store front that allows businesses to choose which products to sell, organise them by product collections and also align the Shop appearance with their brand by being able to change fonts and colours.
Initially, shoppers will complete transactions on a business ecommerce website. However, Facebook are enhancing the checkout functionality so that users will be able to complete their orders, in full, via Facebook or Instagram. At the moment Facebook Shops are being rolled out to US business users with existing Facebook marketplaces, with Instagram expected to follow later in the summer. There are already plans to enable Shops across Facebook’s messaging apps; Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct.
Can’t you buy on Facebook already?
Not quite. Business pages can create a marketplace on their page (which sits under the shop tab) where products can be added and grouped by collections. When users click on a product they’re then faced with a call to action to complete the checkout on a linked website. Aside from the product images and business details changing, all Facebook marketplaces look the same.
Ok, what’s the catch?
Whilst Facebook are pitching Facebook Shops as a digital storefront for business, the devil is in the detail: it may be free to setup, but each purchase will carry a hefty 5% commission charge.
Many businesses already struggle to setup their Facebook marketplace and Instagram shopping tabs, so it’s anticipated Facebook Shops setup and configuration may also be pretty tricky.
User journey through Facebook Shops interface and checkout pages will be controlled entirely by Facebook. For businesses and brands where the UX journey is key to a successful sale, this could be problematical. It also remains to be seen how much data will available to businesses to review abandoned basket rates.