“We’re unable to help you and your business due to CORONAVIRUS COVID-19.” This remains the standard statement from all physical and digital stores cutting across various cities, countries and product lines.
But, how long can we expect the non-availability of service to hurt our economy? To better serve the business community of global e-commerce retailers and local shops, Facebook introduced its new platform- Facebook Shops (FB Shops) last week. For all those who are yet to test the platform, here’s a quick overview.
I started Facebook way back in 2007– mostly for sharing my pictures with friends and for making new friends in the circuit. Then, between 2011 and 2019, Facebook was my go-to place for finding a place to rent a place, marking myself safe from calamities, and sometimes, finding a new assignment for Marketing campaigns and digging out news. Times have changed, and so have the trends in social media. Be it Instagram advertising or WhatsApp messaging, Facebook has dramatically transformed, and in most cases, disrupted the B2C and retail commerce with interactive content and adtech features. Last week, it showcased another milestone — this time, Facebook Shops.
During COVID-19, physical stores have found themselves struggling to survive. In most countries, physical stores are either closed permanently or shut-down till the lockdown is lifted. In such a tough scenario, where physical inventory are rotting in stores or warehouses, digital retailers are raking all the moolah. To support an forge a balance between shut stores and digital commerce, Facebook announced the launch of FB Shops — a readily available seamless online shopping platform for businesses.
Facebook Shops is creating and strengthening the digital presence with app-based shopping, delivery and customer support features that inspire people “to shop and make buying and selling online easier.”
Things you can do with FB Shops
Facebook Shops is our new digital reality when it comes to shopping online. It benefits both shoppers and retailers, in addition to ensuring we all benefit from the new ab-normals arising due to social-distancing or contactless commerce norms.
Here are some of the advantages of FB Shops:
- No need to create any new Facebook or Instagram Page to promote your shop. Facebook Shop can be easily found from your existing profiles
- One-swipe product discovery using Instagram Stories
- Hundreds of Shop design templates to build your own brand
- Full-screen photos and customizable collections to engage users on Facebook and Instagram
- One-stop digital storefront to create a unified shopping experience across all Facebook apps.
Facebook Shops is a seamless platform that integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics. These platforms would provide small businesses the support they need, by offering powerful tools to help entrepreneurs start and run their businesses and move online.
It’s only a matter of weeks if not days that online shopping experiences completely move to native commerce platforms, and integrate fully with Facebook apps such as Instagram Shop, Messenger Shop, and WhatsApp Messenger.
At the time of this announcement, Chloe Cox, Social Media Lead, Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said,
“Facebook’s online shopping initiative couldn’t have come at a better time for the social media giant. Its intentions to move into e-commerce were made clear with the launch of Instagram Shopping last year – and with many consumers encouraged to do their shopping online, there is a huge market for them to tap into. What’s more, a fifth of consumers already gets their inspiration to purchase online from social media channels and buy 3.5 times a month through those platforms – figures almost certain to increase this year.”
Chloe added, “The move will be beneficial for retailers and other businesses. Social media has always been a great way to generate interest, but when customers want to convert that into a purchase, they are moved off the platform to a brand site. This introduces friction into the customer journey when you want to convert and also plays into customers’ desire for speed and convenience.”
“Equally, Facebook Shops works for the social media giant’s own business strategy. We have seen from Amazon that if you own the interface, you own the customer. If you own the customer, you own the data. And if you own the data, you own the future. Facebook’s model has always centered around advertising and through its shopping platform will help it provide a hyper-personalized experience that keeps customers on its platform for more than just social media.
“The move into social commerce for brands and retailers is a no brainer. Our research found that a fifth of digital commerce leaders believe that social commerce would be important in 10 years’ time, thus making it the number one commerce channel. Yet, whether or not this was a smooth marketing move by Facebook during a pandemic that has forced everyone online is up for debate, but the company will certainly win brownie points from small businesses and consumers alike in helping out a sector in desperate need of commerce.”