Small business owners can now host their e-commerce efforts on Facebook through its recently launched Facebook Shops, which the social media giant began rolling out on May 19, 2020. It’s not an entirely new product; instead, it’s a renaming and enhancement of its existing Facebook Page Shops offering. Learn how it works and whether it makes sense for your business.
What is Facebook Shops?
Facebook Shops is a full-fledged e-commerce solution. While it lacks some features of more advanced third-party e-commerce platforms, it lets customers to buy from businesses on Facebook without leaving the platform.
Although Facebook Shops is only an incremental improvement over Facebook Page Shops, it goes a big step beyond the Marketplace and Instagram selling tools. Marketplace is more like a classified advertising platform for individuals than an actual business storefront.
And Instagram Shopping requires businesses to post about their offerings to give customers a chance to purchase them.
Facebook Shops Features
There is no charge to set up a Facebook Shop. The company collects a fee of 5% of the value of each shipment after the store is set up. The fee is only charged on sales when customers use Facebook’s Commerce Manager tool to complete the sale, however. Businesses that already have online stores and complete their transactions through a third-party e-commerce platform won’t be charged fees.
Several e-commerce software vendors have introduced integrations to simplify the setup process. Going through the third-party platforms lets online sellers use their more full-featured tool sets. This improved integration and third-party platform support is one of the differences between Facebook Page Shops and Facebook Shops.
Facebook has been moving into e-commerce for years. Facebook Shops is the next step after Facebook Page Shops and Instagram Selling. Next up are expected abilities to purchase within WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct. Facebook also plans to roll out Instagram Shop in summer 2020.
Using Facebook Shops
Some of the businesses that had Facebook Page Shops were automatically converted to the new Shops offering. Those that weren’t automatically converted can set up their Facebook Shops from their Facebook Business page.
Businesses can offer an unlimited number of products organized into categories or collections on their Facebook Shops. The product descriptions can include photos and other details.
Shoppers can communicate with sellers through the Facebook page, so they don’t have to leave the platform to ask questions. They can also communicate with sellers through Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Products listed in Facebook Shops stores also appear in Facebook Marketplace. Shops owners will get some data about customers and sales from the Facebook Shops tools.
Facebook Shops Limits
To set up a Facebook Shops, a business only needs a Facebook Business page. During the initial rollout, however, only businesses that already have Facebook Page Shops or are signed up for Instagram Shopping will be able to set up Facebook Shops. Businesses can sign up now for Facebook Page Shops to be earlier to the Facebook Shops game.
Also, not all Facebook Page Shop or Instagram Shopping businesses will be able to create Facebook Shops stores, at least at first. These businesses will receive an email from Facebook alerting them to the availability of Facebook Shops for their business.
One of the limitations of Facebook Shops is that it is only for selling physical products. That means no digital downloads or services can be sold through a Facebook Shops storefront.
Facebook Shops businesses also have to agree to the Facebook merchant terms. The commerce policies, which are part of the merchant terms, prohibit selling alcohol, animals, firearms and prescription drugs among other items.
Other restrictions prohibit shipments outside the business’ home country, so international sales aren’t allowed through Facebook Ships. Other than these requirements, a business only needs a bank account and a federal tax ID number.
The Bottom Line
As the largest social media community, Facebook is a marketplace where any business serious about e-commerce will almost certainly want a presence. Other marketplaces, such as Amazon, will continue to be important as well. The simplicity and in-platform convenience of Facebook Shops make it likely that many businesses with no previous online selling experience, such as those forced to move into online selling because of pandemic-related closure, will choose Facebook Shops as their initial pathway into e-commerce.
Tips for Using Facebook Shops
Many financial advisors specialize in working with business owners. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors who will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Creating a marketing plan from nothing can be daunting, but it’s not impossible. There are several inexpensive and simple tips can help build a customer base, and help retain returning customers as well.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/SolStock, ©iStock.com/bombuscreative, ©iStock.com/solidcolours
The post Does Facebook Shops Make Sense for Your Business? appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.