On May 19th 2020, in a live session Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook Shops would soon hit the Facebook suite of Apps including Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.
Zuckerberg beamed that the new feature would assist small business owners worldwide in this time of need, with a customisable solution for selling online.
Facebook Shops (Shops for short), will sit within your Facebook Page or your Instagram Profile making it easy for customers to find. In addition to this, what’s exciting is that until now unless you were a verified account you weren’t able to link your Stories to a website let alone a store. However, with Shops you will, in a sense. Although you’re not clicking off the app to your ecommerce store you will be able to link to your Shops’ by swiping up from your Instagram Stories or Ads, allowing the purchase to occur in one seamless process.
Offering a full screen immersive mobile first experience, Shops is said to load faster, leading to a streamlined user experience with better conversion rates than other mobile shopfronts.
Users will be able to save products and place an order if the business has enabled checkout – currently only available in the US (Australia still to come). Once a customer has completed their first order their information will be securely saved for the next purchase. A customer will also be able to receive shipping and delivery notifications, ask a question or receive support through Instagram DM’s, WhatsApp and Messenger. Future plans will also allow users to make a direct purchase through these Apps too.
According to Zuckerberg, the vast majority of Facebook’s advertisers are small businesses, and it also makes up the biggest part of their revenue. So, it’s a no brainer that they’ve launched into this space.
Zuckerberg’s said, “This is the biggest step we’ve taken yet to enable commerce across our family of apps.”
Shops’ is said to use some of Facebook’s already established AI tech that will further customise the users experience. For example, if you are a clothing brand selling men and women’s clothing, it will be possible to showcase products that are most relevant to the customer. Additionally, users will also be able to use AR to virtually try on things like makeup and hats before they commit to purchasing.
Facebook also plans to allow users to shop on Live in real-time with a new Live Shopping feature which will be made available across Facebook and Instagram. This is exciting for accounts who live stream product launches or product tests as businesses will be able to tag a product from your Shops’ catalogue and have it display at the bottom of the video so users can tap to learn more and/or purchase.
So lemme break it down for y’all:
What is Facebook Shops?
Facebook Shops is the app’s answer to ecommerce. It gives businesses of any size the ability to sell their products online within the Facebook and Instagram. Within Shops you have the ability to list, buy or sell online. With functionality to outline sale prices, include a variety of shipping options, customise images and build product collections.
Is Facebook Shops free to use?
Yes, for now.
In a statement on its’ Business Help Centre page Facebook states that “In an effort to reduce the economic burden of selling through our platform, Facebook will be waiving selling fees, subsidizing shipping costs, and providing purchase protection relief until 6/30/20.”
Post this however the fee structure will include a selling fee.
What is the Facebook Shops selling fee?
When you sell a product through Facebook Shops you will be charged a selling fee. When you make a sale Facebook will automatically deduct a fee from the payout. This is offered as a total of five per cent per shipment for orders over $8.01 or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments with a value of $8.00 or less.
In the Help Article Facebook further states that the selling fee:
- “Includes taxes.
- Includes the cost of payment processing.
- Applies to all checkout transactions for all product categories on Facebook and Instagram.
- Helps fund other programs for a good buying and selling experience.”
How do you set up Facebook Shops?
Facebook Shops will sit within a section called Commerce Manager. Here you will be able to customise your shop, add products and collections. A Facebook Shops’ collection is a group of products that are linked together by themes to assist customers in finding the right products. Each collection will have the ability to showcase a name, description, cover image and list between 6-30 products.
What happens if you already have a Facebook Page Shop?
Great, in fact you need one in order to migrate to Facebook Shops. You’ll be the first to be invited via email or notification to upgrade to the new Facebook Shops application, so keep an eye on your account.
I already use a Facebook partner to sell my products through Facebook Page Shop, what happens now?
Don’t worry, Facebook will continue these relationships and work with them to upgrade your Facebook Shops storefront.
In a statement from one of Facebook’s Partners, Shopify said “Facebook Shops allows Shopify merchants to get control over customization and merchandising for their storefronts inside Facebook and Instagram, while managing their products, inventory, orders, and fulfillment directly from within Shopify.”
What is Commerce Manager in Facebook Shops?
Commerce Manager is the control centre for Facebook Shops. It’s where you upload your products, manage inventory, and fulfil orders. You can view insights about your customers’ store use, assign team permissions, receive notifications on how to grow sales, view past and current orders and have access to reporting.
How do you set up a Commerce Manager account in Facebook Shops?
Apart from handing over some basic business information you need to meet eligibility requirements to use Commerce Manager including:
- You must first get approval from Instagram to sell on Instagram
- To have Facebook Shops’ products listed on Marketplace you need to use one of Facebooks partners like Shopify, and apply to use this feature – view the list of partners and apply
- You need to first have a Facebook Page Shop and be selling a physical product, and agree to Merchant & Commerce Policies
Once you have completed or met the criteria you can set up your business in Commerce Manager.
How and when do you get paid from Facebook Shops?
An order must be marked as shipped within three business days of purchase. Marking an order as shipped in Commerce Manager starts the payout process.
Facebook does not take payments for products itself through Facebook Shops, it will use payment processors for this and whilst I’ve read it could be Stripe and PayPal in Australia, I have not seen a statement from Facebook confirming this.
This aside, Facebook has stated that the owner of a store will be paid within eight to ten business days of shipping an order.
You will be shown the following in Commerce Manager per payout:
- Payout history
- Payout ID
- Expected payout date
What is the difference between Facebook Shops and Marketplace?
Unlike Facebook Marketplace in Australia where you list one item for sale with no payment or ability to ship online, Facebook Shops will allow users to create an online store of sorts within Facebook and Instagram’s platforms. Here you can manage inventory, take payment and offer shipping.
If I create a Facebook Shops account will it automatically display on Instagram?
Yes, businesses with a linked Facebook Page and Instagram Profile will be able to have a shared storefront across both Instagram and Facebook. Although, Instagram has plans to release its own Instagram Shop replacing Instagram Shopping, which will be directly linked to accounts and allow for products to be easily found in Instagram Explore.
Eventually, Instagram Shop plans to exist as a permanent button on the navigation bar, so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.
When will Facebook Shops be available in Australia?
A timeline for Australian users has not been released as yet. Stay tuned!
However, if you have an Instagram Profile Shop and/or Facebook Page Shop it will automatically convert to a Facebook Shops account. Users with this functionality already setup will be sent a notification or email when you can begin to use the new Shops feature.
Are products searchable?
Probably, but we haven’t had an official statement from Facebook yet, saying only that users will be able to “discover products”.
Facebook is definitely disrupting how things are traditionally done. First is was the entry of Facebook to begin with changing how we connect, adding in functionality along the way like tagging, liking – followed by other emotions, stickers and gifs, timelines, events, groups evolving into Marketplace, then video calling with skype, tackling text messages with Messenger, VR gaming with Facebook Horizon, video conferencing with Messenger Rooms and now it’s answer to ecommerce with Facebook Shops.
What’s next for the social media mega giant? Is a Search Engine on the horizon, probably, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s apart of the game plan… too bad they already used that name!
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