On Tuesday, Shopify announced a big-league partnership with Facebook to help merchants sell directly on the social network. The newly rolled out ‘Facebook Shops’ will allow companies to sell products via a quick set-up and clean interface. By marrying its platform and commerce competencies with Facebook’s massive reach, Shopify, that powers more than a million businesses, has taken a giant leap towards the inevitable future of ecommerce.
The partnership is especially significant for the thousands of small businesses on Shopify that rely on ecommerce to reach their customers. In fact, the move is especially well-timed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic reducing storefront traffic to almost nil. Facebook Shops extends a crucial lifeline to small ecommerce stores in the current unfortunate climate, allowing them to offer customers a multi-channel shopping experience.
Facebook Shops is a newly launched free tool for merchants to create a customized virtual storefront on both Facebook and Instagram. It is designed to help merchants craft a smooth and consistent shopping experience as most of them find consumers taking to online and mobile shopping. Retailers can feature products from their catalogs, add accent colors, and use a cover image in line with their branding philosophy while designing their online storefront.
Sure, this social networking platform awards high visibility to countless people while seamlessly connecting them. But, hiding in plain sight is Facebook’s ever-rising potential for e-commerce, encouraged by thousands of informal groups already buying and selling through various on-site pages. Therefore, it was about time Facebook officially extended its reach from only getting together long-lost friends to introducing ecommerce brands to consumers.
Shopify’s partnership with Facebook goes back to 2015; it was one of the social media giant’s first commerce partners backing a mobile-first shopping experience. With Facebook Shops’ seamless integration with Shopify, merchants can run their business from one place while selling on multiple channels. This means any retailer, big or small, can bring in their A-Game online to their target market.
Merchants get complete control over customizing and merchandising for their storefronts, as they manage orders, inventory, and products directly from Shopify. Customers can discover and browse through products on Facebook Shops, and complete the checkout on a merchant’s Shopify store.
Merchants operating on Shopify will be the first to get access to Facebook Shops. Therefore, such businesses can quickly customize mobile shopping experiences for their prospects. What’s more, Shopify has already launched a unified Facebook channel, thus allowing merchants to automatically connect to Facebook’s entire family of apps in one place. This means brands can automatically connect their Shopify store to Facebook in one place, even as the customers’ shopping experience remains native to an app.
In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “Shopify offers tools that entrepreneurs need to start and run their businesses, and they’re helping a lot of companies move online. We’re excited to work with them to help small businesses prepare for the future”.
Merchants can set up their Facebook store by installing Shopify’s new Facebook channel today. This channel can power all sales and marketing activities across Facebook’s suite of apps. Potential customers can find Shops for desired brands on their Facebook or Instagram profile, or through ads and stories. Once they reach a Shop page, they can browse the entire collection, mark favorites, pay instantly, or save a cart full of must-haves for later.
Facebook Shops also features a chat option if customers need assistance with their purchase, much like at a physical store. They can reach out to a business for size-related clarifications, tracking deliveries, and much more through Instagram Direct or WhatsApp Messenger.
Facebook shops are built solid to ensure customer privacy. Therefore, your friends and other retailers cannot see your account activity unless you want to make your experiences public. For instance, say you purchased a product from a Shop. Facebook will only share aggregate figures with the business about their shop’s performance and traffic. The platform will not reveal your identity, shopping, or referral history.
It indeed is! Facebook Shops went online in the United States on 19 May 2020. Plans for rolling out ‘Instagram Shops’ are already underway. The official date for a worldwide release for both said platforms is unknown yet, but an announcement of this nature will soon follow.
Basic Requirements for Setting up a Facebook Shop
If you are a retailer eager to set up a virtual store here, you need to meet the following requirements:
· You need to have a valid email ID for customers who want to get in touch with you.
After fulfilling the mandatory requirements listed above, you need to:
Facebook Shops integrated with Shopify come at an opportune time, given the present difficulties faced by several businesses, unable to sell offline. This tool will certainly help online stores mark their presence on a larger canvas and offer customers a seamless shopping and discovery experience. Over the next months, Facebook Shops will be available for businesses across the globe. Shopify merchants must prepare for this weighty opportunity by setting up Shopify’s Facebook channel and customizing their online storefront at the earliest.