Facebook has been an effective marketing tool for over a decade now. When Facebook Ads were launched in 2007, we had little idea how it would pave the future path. Facebook is, without question, the most widely used social media platform in the world.
From Advertising to Marketplace to Shops
When it comes to engagement, to say that Facebook and Google excel would be an understatement. Unlike Google, Facebook is a social media platform that users engage on a daily or even hourly basis. That is why it was only natural that Facebook makes use of their extensive reach for marketing via Facebook Ads. However, what did surprise many of its users was when they launched the Facebook Marketplace in 2016.
Facebook Ads provided businesses the ability to target and market their products and services to customers. Simultaneously, the Facebook Marketplace enables users to connect with each other to buy or sell unique items. Now that Facebook launched Facebook Shops, it is evident that both Facebook Ads and Marketplace were merely prerequisites for an eCommerce spin from Facebook.
One might assume that with the Facebook Marketplace, they were merely trying to test the waters. However, Facebook Marketplace gave valuable insight into the buying habits of the average Facebook user. Above all, it shined a light into the potential growth of eCommerce within the social media platform. Although Facebook Shops may still be in its infancy, it's more than likely that it ends up another success story.
Facebook Marketplace: The First Step Towards eCommerce
Facebook is a prominent tool that many businesses and brands rely on to market and sell their products to the target audience. Although Facebook Marketplace started as a peer-to-peer platform, it was later made to accommodate merchant selling. According to BigCommerce, "more than 800 million people globally use the Marketplace each month to browse, buy, or sell items."
The Marketplace offers a lot to its sellers and buyers and it offers an easy and convenient way to sell. It comes with the capability to filter the result by location, category, and price. Another advantage Facebook Marketplace provides you is that you don't have to download a new app or set up another account for using it. You can access it either through the Facebook app or the desktop version, which adds to its flexibility.
5 Reasons to Sell on Facebook Marketplace
"What makes Facebook Marketplace different from the rest, and why should you choose it over the rest?" This is the first question that would come to your mind if you are considering selling on Facebook Marketplace. Let's take a look at what Facebook Marketplace has to offer your business.
1. Extensive Reach
Facebook Marketplace offers the practically boundless reach provided by Facebook to increase the discovery of your brand and its products. More reach means more potential customers and as a result, more potential sales. If you can present your products well and price it right, then the Marketplace could be the best thing for your business.
2. Enhanced Customer Experience
Facebook's algorithm is one of the best in the world and can efficiently narrow down your target audience. This enables Facebook Marketplace to give your user an enhanced and much more personalized customer experience. Facebook ensures that your product is seen by the right audience, thereby increasing the possibility of a conversion.
3. Sell Almost Anything
Facebook Marketplace is versatile when it comes to the products that you can sell or buy. You can find pretty much everything on Facebook Marketplace. This includes clothes, electronics, automotive, and even real estate!
4. People and Business Capability
Facebook lets you sell on their Marketplace regardless of whether you are an individual trying to sell something or if you are a business trying to sell off their products. The greater flexibility allows both individuals as well as businesses to employ Facebook Marketplace for their needs.
5. Data Privacy
Facebook takes data security very seriously, and that's why they have made it clear that people can see only the information that you publicly share on Facebook. Facebook gives you the power to decide what information you want to share and what you don't.
3 Tips Before Selling On Facebook Marketplace
There are a few things that you should know before selling on Facebook Marketplace.
1. Facebook Marketplace eCommerce Platform Sync Restriction
Facebook Marketplace partners with several selected eCommerce platforms. This includes Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, ShipStation, and more. Make sure that Facebook Marketplace supports your eCommerce platform or inventory partner before taking your business to Facebook.
2. Time Restrictions for Shipping and Receiving Products
Facebook has set a time restriction in which the seller is supposed to ship the product. Similarly, there is also a timeframe in which the buyer receives his/her order. Facebook Marketplace demands that the product be shipped within three days of placing the order, and the buyer must receive it within seven days. This enables you to maintain a quality service for the customer using the Marketplace.
3. Frequent Communication With the Buyers
You can be sure to expect easy communication from a marketplace based on a popular social media platform like Facebook. You will have to answer the questions raised by the potential customers on your products and their delivery. The sooner you can master a communication style for your customers, the better it is for your business.
Facebook Shops for eCommerce
Facebook Shops is the latest and most ambitious step taken by Facebook in the eCommerce direction or as Mark Zuckerberg likes to call it, social commerce. Facebook Shops has enabled businesses to set up an online store that your customers can access on both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook says that they want to help small businesses adapt to the digital platform while helping people discover and shop products that they need.
The timing for launching couldn't have been much better than this because small businesses are struggling to survive right now. The physical stores are closing, and the only reliable place for them and their business to turn to is eCommerce. Although it's primarily aimed at small businesses, it will come as no surprise when every major brand out there adapts the method.
Benefits of Selling on Facebook Shops
1. Social Commerce
Social commerce is possibly the next big thing in eCommerce. The fact that Facebook has chosen to invest in it, only underlines the point. Consistent audience growth and authentic engagement are some of the factors aiding its growth. It is easy to set up and operate- making it the ideal choice for small businesses that are just starting on their online venture.
2. Easy Communication
Facebook Shops being a social commerce platform, enables you to socialize with your customers. Unlike any other eCommerce model that we are currently using, your interaction with the customers is consistent and fluidic. Customers can ask questions and even place an order with superior communication capabilities.
3. Catalog and Organize Products
One of the attractive factors about Facebook Shops, is that you don't need an existing product catalog to set up your Facebook shop. Facebook also allows you to feature an unlimited number of products on it. Organizing your products is also a breeze as Facebook Shops will enable you to group products into "collections."
How to Set Up Your Facebook Shop?
Setting up a Facebook Shop for your business is free and simple. As stated above, you can pick the products that you want to feature from your catalog. Furthermore, you can even customize the shop to showcase your brand using the cover image and accent colors. However, before you can do any of this, you first need to set up your Facebook Shop. "How?" you may be wondering.
The first thing you need to do is to enable or add a "Shop" tab on the left side of your Facebook Page. To do that, you need to go to settings. Once you are on the settings page, you'll see a "Template and tabs" section on the left-hand side, as shown in the image below. Once you click on it, you need to scroll all the way down where you will see a "Add tab."
Clicking on “Add tab” opens a pop-up. From there, you will see "Shop" listed. Now, click on the "Add tab" button corresponding to the “Shop” tab. That is all it takes to add your shop on Facebook. You can also move the “Shop” tab's position on your page up and down quickly by a mere click and drag. It is recommended that you move it along the top levels of your menu.
Now that you've installed Facebook Shop, you need to set up the rest of your store. First, you have to click on the newly added "Shop" tab on the menu. A series of pop ups will appear one after the other. In the first one, you will have to agree to the terms and conditions. However, the next pop-up is an important one, as it's where you get to choose your checkout method.
For the checkout process, Facebook provides you with two different options.
1. Message to buy
2. Checkout on another website
The most convenient way for the users and for you would be to complete the checkout on your business' website. Most people don't want to wait around for your reply, in fact, many of them would prefer not having to interact with the seller directly. This is why an eCommerce presence is essential for the growth of your business.
However, small businesses go on without an online presence and do not stand a chance. Aside from this, the method is ideal for users looking for very specific product requirements. They can interact with the seller and ensure that the product is suitable for their needs. Then, the final pop-up appears in which you can select the currency for the shop.
The next step is to add a comprehensive description as to what you want to sell. This is not a step that you should overlook. Make sure that you provide a detailed description of the product that shows your prospects of why they need it and why they have to buy it from you. Having done that, you can finally move onto adding your products.
How to Add Products to Your Facebook Shop?
There are two different methods to add your products to Facebook Shop.
1. Using Catalog Manager
If you already have an eCommerce presence, then you would need to bulk-upload many products. In this case, you can make use of Catalog Manager, Facebook's inventory platform, to upload your product catalog. To connect the catalog to your Shop page, all you have to do is the following.
- Go to “Catalog Manager”
- “Create a Catalog” or “Select an Existing Catalog”
If you haven't already set up the Page Shop for your business, then you can set it up from the catalog manager. In case you have already set up the Page Shop, then the products in your catalog are automatically added to the shop.
The catalog manager lets you have as many product catalogs as you want; however, you can connect only one of the catalogs to your shop at a time. Then again, Facebook also gives you the option to switch to a different catalog whenever you want. The "Manage your catalog" button on the Facebook Shop lets you access the connected catalog. The button automatically appears once you've set up the catalog.
Additionally, in Facebook Shops, a product will be displayed as “Out of Stock” when the product's inventory is zero. You must keep track of your inventory regularly as the product will appear “Out of Stock” even if you have set its availability as "In Stock".
2. Using Shop Tab on Your Page
Adding products to your Facebook Shop via the "Shop" tab will take you more time and effort than connecting the catalog manager. You will have to add your products individually and provide their details along with it. Although this may seem like a lot of work, for a business without an eCommerce presence, this is the most convenient option to list and sell products online.
This is what adding your product to the Facebook Shop looks like. You can add photos, videos, product name, price, description, and even have an arrangement to show whether the item is in stock or not. The "Options" menu allows you to add sizes and colors, further boosting the shop's functionality. You can add as many products as you want using this method. Once you've added multiple products, Facebook offers you the ability to group similar products and showcase them as a collection, name them, and categorize them.
Facebook Shops Payment Setup
The next big step when it comes to setting up your Facebook Shop is to set up payment. If you are running your business in the US, then Facebook gives you the capability to sell your products directly on your page. This means unlike companies in other countries, your customers can buy products without having to leave the Page Shop.
Facebook also provides the option to integrate eCommerce platforms, which is a big plus for Facebook Shops. The best part is that many major eCommerce platforms are already tied up with Facebook. The major players in this include Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, ShipStation, and more. This means online stores running on any of these eCommerce platforms can connect their existing online store with Facebook.
How to Enhance Your Reach Through Advanced Marketing Methods?
Facebook began its journey to Social Commerce through Facebook Ads. With the rise of Facebook Shops, marketing through Facebook takes a significant turn. Facebook is one of the most effective and most sought after mediums for marketing by countless businesses worldwide. Facebook lets you target the right audience for your product, and with over 2.6 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2020, it is perhaps the most effective medium for marketing today.
Facebook offers some of the best marketing strategies and methods.
This is one of the favored marketing methods preferred by users. Facebook lets you share pictures of your products and then tag the products in the photo. There are a few reasons why users prefer this form of advertising. One of these is that the user gets a better idea of how the product will look like in real life.
Many leading companies like Converse use pictures of the products like shoes and bags worn by people. Not only are they more attractive, but they also appeal to the consumer's interest. You can tag up to 30 different products and links on your Facebook post using this feature. The tags allow the users to shop through these tags, making it even more convenient.
Facebook Catalog for Promo and Ads
We have already discussed how to set up your catalog for Facebook Shops. What we haven't discussed is how you can use the catalog for promotion and advertising your products. Once you've set up the catalog, Facebook enables you to target users using very specific product ads. The best part is that the targeting is based on the analysis of the user's browsing behavior. This ensures that the ads reach the target audience and not some random person.
Diagnostic Ad Campaigns
Facebook Shops come with a "diagnostic" tab, accessed through Ads Manager under the catalog section. Facebook offers you two options for your ad campaign, the generic ads and dynamic ads. The generic ads are the typical ads that you may be familiar with, and it is used for any specific products in your catalog.
Whereas dynamic ads target people who have visited your website in the past and show them the product they viewed on your site. This serves as a reminder and nudges the potential consumers who needed that extra push to make the purchase.
4 Ways Facebook Shops Can Revolutionize eCommerce
1. Headless Commerce Approach
Facebook Shops is partnered with some of the major eCommerce platforms to make Social Commerce a reality. Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, and Cedcommerce are some of the major players who are partnering with Facebook, and the list is likely to grow. In effect, we can say that the relationship between the eCommerce platform and Facebook is Headless Commerce.
Headless Commerce makes your eCommerce store accessible across all devices by separating the eCommerce application's frontend and backend. The data on your eCommerce stores, such as product descriptions, prices, images, and even videos, can be used on your Facebook Shop. Similarly, you could also do it in the opposite way, where we use the data from Facebook Shop to set up an eCommerce store.
2. Superior Analysis and Automation
Facebook has over 2.6 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2020. The superior reach of Facebook also gives it access to excellent analytic capabilities. Facebook Ads are effective because they have one of the best analytics capabilities, including behavior analysis. Furthermore, Facebook also offers many automation capabilities that can make your job easier, saving you both time and effort.
3. C2C Commerce Capability
Facebook Shop is probably the easiest way to sell online. It is so easy that anyone can easily implement it without any technical knowledge. This means that anyone can sell online using Facebook Shop, and at a time when sites like Etsy are bringing in an enormous profit, Facebook Shop could become an effective alternative. All the factors further lead to a Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) business model.
4. DTC Compatibility
Facebook Shops is the ideal platform for small businesses. It is easy to set up, doesn't require a developer, and interacts directly with the customers. All of these factors contribute to creating an ideal Direct To Customer (DTC) store. Unlike marketplaces where you have to compete with a dozen other competitors to come up on top of the list, Facebook Shops lets you build an entire store. Checkout methods like "Message to buy" further increases your interaction with the users. If implemented correctly, your Facebook Shop could be the first step towards a successful eCommerce journey.
Facebook for shopping has taken the first major step towards Social Commerce with the launch of Facebook Shops. Although still in its infancy, Social Commerce is bound to change and revolutionize eCommerce. Facebook's journey towards eCommerce has not been incidental, it is a well-calculated process, and it is more than likely that they'll succeed in this.
The huge scope of Social Commerce is enough to understand that Facebook Shop is going to be yet another success story. When a social media giant like Facebook is heavily investing in Social Commerce, it is evident that it holds an immense potential for growth. However, what we remain to see is its effect on the eCommerce world and how big of an impact it can make on our daily life.