Unless you live a Facebook free life, you probably would’ve come across media recently talking about the “BIG” announcement from Mark Zuckerberg, here in after called Zuk, about Facebook Shops that are coming and are going to revolutionise our spending lives.
So, I thought I would dedicate this blog post to helping you understand a little more about what the announcement means for you and perhaps your business – that may or may not already have a website that you sell through.
First up, I have to say that this has been coming … this announcement was discussed in previous press releases where Facebook has clearly stated it intended, over the next decade, to provide us with the tools we needed and the commerce we wanted.
Zuk spruiked this little announcement with FREE mentioned several times. This will be a FREE platform, you can have a shop for FREE, and more free and more free.
But, if you dig just a little deeper, you will have seen that it’s not FREE as such.
Yes, free to have one, yes free to list your 10 or 100 products, but when you sell a product, it becomes not free.
Prices were written a commission of 5% on purchases over $8, and for those under $8, a flat fee of 40 cents.
It’s pay per performance.
BUT, it’s unclear whether that is just if they “check out” on the Facebook platform – which incidentally will only be rolled out in the US to start with.
So, to use Facebook Shops in Aus. land, you would still need another check out option – such as your Shopify or WooCommerce.
I’m not sure how they could charge a fee, when you don’t use their check out … but we’ll see!
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT TO FACEBOOK SHOPS THAT IS AVAILABLE NOW?
The biggest difference will come to us in Australia soon, but for those in the US, the biggest difference will be the ability to shop on the platform without leaving the platform.
You will be able to browse, shop and check out all on the Facebook or Instagram platform.
The more time people spend on the platforms the more money they can make from ads – it’s the perfect storm!
Other differences with Facebook Shop now vs this announcement will be the analytics, insights and reporting data that will go with it.
You’ll be able to see the behaviour of your shoppers on this platform and market accordingly, just like I hope you do with your google analytics, if you have an online store now.
By and large though, the biggest difference will be the weight they put behind them.
At the moment you are pretty much directing traffic to your Facebook Shop (and you might be listening to this and thinking, there’s already a shop on Facebook I can use…??? I did not know this!).
And yep, there is – but it’s not that common to be honest – because there’s not much in it for you.
But the announcement talked about having shops shown in the Instagram explore page, the algorithm will be suggesting your products to people who it thinks will be most likely to buy (because remember the more sales you make on their platform, the more money they make in transactions fees, and the more ads they can sell to other businesses).
Apparently there will be a shop tab that will be used to “search” for what you are looking for and all this will be sewn up in a little bow inside your commerce manager – the back end of your Facebook.
Let’s have a look at some pros and cons of this announcement – besides it not really being free as heavily marketed …
IT’S FOR SHIPPING PRODUCTS ONLY
As far as I can find out and see, it appears that this announcement is not really different to what’s offered now as far as shoppable tags and Facebook Shop goes, in so far as it needs to be a tangible product.
Which means, I cannot sell my Facebook Ads for Beginners course, or my Amplify Your Retail Sales eBook – because they are not “shippable” products – they are downloadable.
This may change. I hope this changes!
IF YOU DON’T RUN ADS OR HAVE A SMALL AD SPEND
For businesses who have a Facebook Business page that don’t run ads or have a small ad spend, will your shop work?
Given the history of the Facebook model, it would make sense that if you don’t spend a lot, traffic will be less.
Just like now really.
Organic traction is pretty much dead. And if you’re getting engagement on your page without paying $, then you my friend are doing awesome at building your community – don’t stop that.
But if you don’t spend money on ads to drive traffic to your Facebook store, then it would totally make sense that it will be up to you to drive that traffic there, just like you are driving traffic to your page now.
Tip: If you are thinking of doing a Facebook store (and I’ll give you my thoughts a little later on that), then it’s super SUPER important that you really challenge your thinking on how you are marketing now and get that engagement going now!
Really bunker down your marketing and build that engagement – you are looking to get that super fan audience.
FACEBOOK WILL REALLY PUT SOME WEIGHT BEHIND THIS ANNOUCEMENT
One thing you can be guaranteed of, is that Facebook will move heaven and high water to ensure Facebook Shops is a success.
So, if it’s for you and you are an earlier adopter, then the algorithm will be in your favour for sure.
We’ve seen it time and time again with Facebook and Instagram.
They do what they say and they back themselves all the way. Which, as a business, we should all do!
So, they will throw everything at this, when it’s time, to ensure we can’t resist doing it.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN I CAN GET THE FEATURE/S?
As far as I can see, Facebook will tell you when you can apply – it’s not a given, I’d don’t think. You apply to be approved.
You might start to see changes in your ads manager account/ commerce manager account – again it appears you’ll get a notification when it’s available for you!
THE JENN CONS
This announcement, for me and I’m going to share with you, comes with A HUGE Caveat emptor of “buyer beware”.
I am 100%, hands down, against putting all your eggs in one basket. I have heard too many stories of people losing their audience or losing their business overnight because they built their business on a platform they had no control over, for example Facebook and Instagram.
So, before I go on, I’d like to ask you one question:
If social media, all or any platforms, shut down tomorrow, can you still communicate with your audience – do you still have a community?
If no, then we have to talk. If not really, then it’s time to challenge your marketing strategies.
I am ALL for being where the buyers are – being where the people who want to do business with you are.
And that’s often on social media – but we need to make sure we have a strategy to get them offline – but that’s a different conversation for a different day.
So, if you are considering this – I want you to do so with other strategies in mind.
If you are marketing on social media, selling on social media, then what’s the back up plan for your business – what’s plan B?
How else can you convert your prospects into buyers, how else can you deepen the relationships with your customers, past and future?
Putting yourself on closed platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace etc, and possibly Facebook Shops, means you are at the mercy and the monthly membership or transaction fees of those platforms. You build your audience on them, it’s hard to move when it becomes no longer cost effective.
I’m not against this – although I am very much pro open source platforms and pro having a marketing strategy that is more than social media – which I know most totally agree with!
AND IF YOU ARE SUPER KEEN TO HOP ON BOARD
If you are super keen and think this will help grow your business to a point where only it can, here’s some things I think you should start doing now (before you’re eligible for it or before it’s rolled out)
- Get your terms and conditions, shipping and refunds policy done now – get it professionally drafted with online selling in mind and online selling on a platform you don’t have control over.
- Start with a highly engaged strategy from here on in – start building your numbers and putting a fence around your community. Become the go to person for what it is your sell, long before you start selling on Facebook
- Start your Facebook shop now and start filling up your shop with your goods and directing traffic there, doing dynamic ads via your shop and start doing shoppable tags. Let both the algorithm know you’re keen and your clients know this is where you come to shop with me and shop for those amazing products.
So, should you be excited about Facebook Shops and how it can help you and your brand – maybe.
Should you be wait until it’s available before taking your goods online – 100% no! Waiters, wait, doers do!
So what do you think about the possibility that Facebook Shops will bring? Leave me a comment, I would love to read your thoughts!
Or jump over to my Like Minded Business Owners facebook group and let’s start a conversation!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast