A week ago, Facebook announced that it would be rolling out Facebook Shops. For itself, this move will help the company to earn more revenue from advertising and foray into the e-commerce realm in a big way, challenging Amazon and eBay amongst others.
Considering the surge of online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook is on the right track. Its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, also claimed that the move will help many small businesses to launch themselves online and take advantage of the same surge.
Setting up shop is easier
Facebook Shops enables you to make your business page on Facebook or Instagram your digital storefront. With as little as a product catalogue, you can set up your online shop and start selling to customers in a few minutes. And if you already have an e-commerce integration set up, you can now also integrate it with your Facebook Shop. The company had announced that it would be partnering with Shopify, BigCommerce, Woo, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics.
Making sales easier too
Till now, the most you could do is direct interested customers towards your website or e-commerce portal. The drawback to that is customers may drop off in the jump from one app or tab to another.
For example, say you sell vintage umbrellas and a customer loves a particular piece that you shared on your Facebook page or an Instagram post or in a targeted ad. She reaches out to you on Messenger or Instagram Direct and asks how she could buy it. You would have to then send her a link to your website, or other e-commerce site where you sell vintage umbrellas.
The conversation ends when she clicks the link. Maybe she buys the umbrella, maybe the link is broken and she never makes it to the site and is not invested enough to come back and ask. Maybe she opens the link but then has to open another to make a payment and isn’t patient enough. It happens.
But it doesn’t have to anymore. With Facebook Shops, customers can get product recommendations, browse your entire catalog and make a purchase right within Messenger (or Instagram Direct or even Whatsapp). No jumping, no friction, just a smooth ride from discovery to sale. And the conversation can keep going long after the first sale too.
What’s more, you can even tag products during live videos and in Facebook and Instagram stories that people watching can just click to purchase.
Zuckerberg also promised that ads were going to get a lot more targeted than ever before, reducing the rate of drop off drastically. You’d now be selling to people who are the most likely to want your product or service, rather than a larger pool of potential customers, giving you a higher chance of converting sales.
As is Shopping and Shipping
While it’s great that you don’t have to make your customers jump from one site or platform to another, what if they want to?
Now they can pick up where they left off in the Facebook family of apps. That means that if they add something to their cart from your Instagram page but didn’t check out, they can make the purchase on Facebook Messenger at a later time too. They don’t have to go back to Instagram. This affords them a ton of flexibility…which means more sales for you.
Facebook also announced that it would be partnering with a number of logistics and shipping providers – another burden off your back!
…And Customer Support
Messenger, Instagram Direct and Whatsapp will become your go-to channels for customer support since that is where your customers will already be talking to (and buying from) you.
The best part is that all of these interactions can be completely automated by using chatbots.
If your customers need help with completing a purchase or have a special delivery request, they can reach out to you right on Messenger. Their issue can be resolved or request catered to instantly, even when your team or you are away. So you don’t have to worry about being online when your customer is, and they don’t have to wait around for a response, which is sure to score you serious brownie points in the customer satisfaction department.
In fact, even if you’re online, the chatbot will take care of routine customer support activities and flag you only when you’re really needed, giving you more time and resources to focus on building your business.
Thinking of getting a chatbot for your small business? Let’s talk!
Bonus – Loyalty Programs
Apart from automated customer support through chat, you can also migrate your loyalty programs to Messenger. A loyalty programme chatbot was a good idea even before Facebook Shops of course, – but makes even more business sense to get now that all your sales and customer support can happen from just one online interface.
As you know, the current pandemic has necessitated a pivot for many businesses. And while online shopping was already on the up, not even its biggest supporters could have predicted the massive shift towards and reliance on it as we see in the present. Facebook Shops provides small businesses a way to respond to both. In the words of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, “We hope these tools can relieve some of the pressure small businesses are facing right now and help businesses of all sizes prepare for the future.”
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text module_id=”stop” _builder_version=”3.0.105″ text_font=”Proxima Nova||||||||” text_text_color=”#000000″ header_text_align=”center” header_4_font=”Proxima Nova||||||||” header_4_font_size=”22px” header_4_text_color=”#000000″ header_4_line_height=”1.4em” background_color=”#EDF1F2″ text_orientation=”center” custom_margin=”20px|||” custom_padding=”20px|20px|20px|20px” inline_fonts=”Proxima Nova” global_module=”1294″]