COVID-19 (and the subsequent lockdown) have devastated many small business owners as well as their loyal customers. From restaurants to medical practices to academic tutors, small businesses worldwide struggled to generate revenue due to stay-at-home orders. New working-from-home habits have shaped consumers to be more free-spirited as they pick up new hobbies, but reliant on social media as there’s more activity surfacing amidst quarantine.
Facebook recently launched a new feature available on both their Facebook and Instagram mobile apps, which may help small businesses during these uncertain times. Here is your guide to using Facebook Shops in your online strategy.
What are Facebook Shops?
Facebook Shops are virtual, curated marketplaces, customized by small businesses to sell products and connect with customers on the social media giant’s platform. Since Instagram is a division of Facebook, this eCommerce feature is available on both mobile apps, allowing small businesses to focus on the platform that best aligns their target market.
According to Forbes, many small businesses are closing their stores and making the switch over to online shops, thereby shifting towards a more accessible and convenient platform for business transactions. By using these new Facebook Shops in a comprehensive digital strategy, small businesses have noticed a boost in sales, despite the strict nationwide lockdown orders.
How Can Small Businesses Use Facebook Shops?
When the COVID-19 outbreak struck in early February 2020, countless businesses were already worried about the potential impact on revenue. As the pandemic continues to transform the way small businesses operate, many small business owners now realize that eCommerce features on social media platforms can help keep the business afloat.
A majority of small businesses gain attention via Instagram or Facebook, through the Sponsored features, loyal brand advocates, and/or social media influencers. Customers typically feel more confident with completing a sale when they hear positive reviews and testimonials. Additionally, consumers often discover new brands via social media and word-of-mouth marketing (like recommending a product to another friend). Facebook Shops can act as a strong point for small businesses as they can help customers through Direct Messages on Instagram and Messenger on Facebook.
Another unique benefit for consumers, both of these social media platforms offer help by creating live stream videos and promote their products, while customers use the chat feature. This allows customer service managers to hold active conversations with customers. This is helpful for those quarantining as live-streaming can be entertaining in the middle of a remote workday. Local businesses continue emphasizing their customer service efforts, like return policies, promotional sales, or discounts, currently in place due to COVID-19.
How do I Open a Facebook Shop?
Businesses can make their own Facebook Page by logging onto their Facebook Page. Next, click the Shop tab, and then select the Commerce Manager. Once redirected to a page called Sell on Facebook, you can begin filling in your business’ information. Once you’ve built your Facebook Shop, you can move on to assembling a catalog in Catalog Manager, which gives businesses various options to add and create a catalog. Finally, you can manage and track sales in the Commerce Manager and the business is ready to sell to Facebook’s 2 Billion users.
Why Should Small Businesses Use Facebook Shops?
For any small business looking to grow an online presence, using these platforms and emphasizing the convenience of Facebook Shops can bring in new customers. Facebook Shops is convenient, free, customizable, and simple. Businesses can use their social media platforms for free if they process sales through partners like Shopify or WooCommerce.
Shopify and WooCommerce work hard with brands to avoid the Facebook processing fee with their Facebook Checkout feature. Forbes also mentions that if retailers were to use this checkout feature, then business owners have to pay 5% for a processing fee. Small businesses are investing in their advertising and marketing and making sure their brand is consistent during this time. This includes free customization including changing the layout and choosing accent colors. Facebook Shops allow small business owners to brand their layout features and attract their customers into a familiar shopping experience.
Facebook Shops: Welcome to the Virtual Marketplace!
Instagram Shops and Facebook Shops improve the shop feature by allowing more functionality for businesses, along with highlighting features, like direct messages, that further connect business owners and consumers.
From live-streaming to offering diverse products online, the virtual marketplace is now open, and Facebook Shops are just the beginning of this interactive technology. Make sure to subscribe to our blog for more helpful tips, trends, and news related to digital marketing. Do you need help creating a Facebook shop for your small business? Dial (973) 346-8100 to schedule a meeting with our social media experts.