As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, the economic consequences of the pandemic have been tyrannical during such times of crisis. Unemployment rates have skyrocketed as businesses are forced to shutter their doors for the sake of public health. The uncertainty is highly concerning, especially for small business owners who do not have many small coffers to sustain them.
In view of the situation, social media giant Facebook has launched a new feature called ‘Shops’ that aims to bring online millions of small businesses that have been struggling due to the ongoing pandemic.
Introducing Facebook Shops
In a live stream, CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that this new e-commerce feature would allow small businesses to set up free stores on Facebook and Instagram. In addition, in the near future, it will also allow them to sell products through Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Messenger, and tag products during live broadcasts.
Here is everything you need to know about this new e-commerce feature:
How does it work?
So far, we have been using Facebook to connect with our friends and family. However, with this new feature, we will be able to connect with brands and businesses. For instance, if you want to hire a communications agency (such as Turiya Communications LLP) to help your business establish an online presence, now you can easily look up on Facebook Shop. The social media platform will help you connect with small businesses and vice versa!
Business owners can create a dedicated “shop” section on their Facebook Page or Instagram profile and build out a catalogue of products and services that visitors can browse, save, share, and even message businesses to arrange purchases or even buy directly (in some markets).
In an interview with Financial Times, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he had accelerated plans for Shops to take advantage of the boom in online shopping during the coronavirus crisis. “If you browse a shop inside of our app or if you buy something, we will see that and we’ll be able to hopefully use that to show you better recommendations for other things that you’d be interested in the future,” he said.
This will help companies rebuild themselves even while the pandemic continues. “If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people. We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online businesses get online for the first time,” he said in his live stream.
What are the features of the Facebook Shop?
While every business, both big and small, can benefit from this, Facebook Shop is especially valuable to small businesses. That is because Shops are free, easy to create, fast, and, most importantly, they are integrated across Facebook’s family of apps. This means that once you set up your shop, it is going to be available on your Facebook Page and your Instagram profile, and accessible from stories and advertisements.
Facebook Shops are also highly customizable. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that display their brand.
Shops will also use Artificial Intelligence to provide better-personalized shopping experiences once the tool is completely rolled out. The AI systems can automatically tag and identify products in photos, without the businesses tagging on their own. Additionally, it is building augmented reality technology. Buyers of beauty products such as lipstick or make-up and home décor, for example, can have a preview of how those products will look like on them or their homes.
Facebook is also collaborating with Shopify, BigCommerce, Woo, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics to help brands bring their products into Facebook Shops. Businesses will be able to use these third-party platforms to manage their Facebook Shops, as well as any social ads related to those Shops.
In regards to addressing user queries, while shopping on Facebook Shop, you would be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct. “In the future, you’ll be able to view a business’ shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct”, the social media company said in a post.
The small businesses will also be able to create and manage loyalty programs on these shops as the social media company is trying to connect the loyalty programs of local stores to Facebook accounts.
Facebook also said it would not share the transaction details on its services without the buyer’s consent.
Is this new feature available in India?
Facebook has over 1.42 million active users in India and out of all the internet users, 27% of people purchase online. Hence, the social media giant has already enabled the shop section for Indian users.
Soon this feature will also be available on Instagram.
However, for now, Instagram will display brands on its existing shop account that already highlights the items that are available for purchase, and later in the year, it plans to add a dedicated shopping tab to its navigation bar.
Whether you are an existing company or a new entrant in the online selling business, the ultimate goal is to increase sales and generate revenue, and Facebook Shop is the perfect solution for you!
Having difficulties in setting up a shop on Facebook for your business? At Turiya Communications LLP, we can help you! While you do best at what you do, that is to run your business, let us take care of our communication needs. We will set up a shop for your business on the social media platform and ensure that your products or services sell online faster than over!
Our skilled team of social media marketers will also create, manage, and deliver top-performing social media campaigns for your business that will help you to increase your followers and drive word-of-mouth.
To learn more about us, Connect with us NOW!