Welcome to Facebook Shops (and how to get started)

20-05-26 Just launched Facebook Shops Ft image 800x500

Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the launch of Facebook Shops in a live stream address to marketers and businesses everywhere. As Zuckerberg himself said, many small businesses have been creative in their response to these difficult times - but for some this transition has simply been “impossible.”
There are some business owners who do not have the technical skills or resources to get online and start selling. Businesses like these need more unique, SMB-friendly tools to get online. Facebook Shops are one simple, easy-to-manage (and easy-to-launch) digital store that gets businesses online fast.
Here’s what businesses will want to know and how to get started (quickly and easily).

Facebook Shops example

Source: Facebook

What are Facebook Shops?

Facebook Shops are digital storefronts where businesses can list products for free while still highlighting the images and accents that represent their brand. When users want to make a purchase, they can either be directed to the business’s website or they can make purchases natively within Facebook.
For now, shopping within Facebook is only available if the business has enabled checkout and operates in the US. But stay tuned in case these options expand.

Facebook Shops highlights:

  • Highly visual, including full-screen photos
  • Mobile-first*
  • Free to use

*A huge percentage of online shoppers these days shop on mobile, especially for Facebook and Instagram. Being “mobile-first” means that these shops are designed to look and work great on mobile.

How do you create a Facebook Shop?

To create a Facebook Shop, you’ll first need to connect your product data. You’ll also want to ensure you’re using the “Shop” template for your page. This can simply be found in the Templates and Tabs section on your page menu.
This brings us to the big question: how do you get your products to Facebook? Interestingly, this will basically be the same process that larger businesses have been using to list products online for years. It’s all about the product catalog. However, there are also a couple of new (easier) options out there for small businesses.

Good options for getting your catalogs to Facebook include:

  • Add products manually within the Catalog Manager (recommended only for smaller catalogs).
  • Connect using an ecommerce platform - like Shopify or BigCommerce - directly within Facebook Catalog Manager.
  • Send your product catalog from its current location over to Facebook. There are lots of options here. But there's one new option you should know about: Retail Connector. The Retail Connector allows businesses to connect their POS to Facebook and automate that catalog creation process.

Connecting your POS to Facebook

The Productsup platform already helps 800+ brands and retailers around the globe manage product catalogs and data - and many of them use Facebook to advertise. However, when Facebook began launching initiatives to help small and local businesses digitize fast (and stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic), we wanted to do more.
Retail Connector is a free tool for connecting your POS to Facebook, making it much easier to get started with Facebook Shops, as well as other Facebook offerings.

What’s next for Facebook Shops? Live shopping and more

Facebook seems to realize its shops are a great opportunity, and it already has plans in place to do more. In the future we can look forward to Instagram Shop (which will kick off this summer in the US), live shopping, and digital loyalty programs.
For small and local businesses who are looking for a new way to reach nearby shoppers right now, there aren’t really any drawbacks to selling with Facebook Shops. Users on Facebook and Instagram LOVE to shop, and they’re often already connected to the nearby shops they know and love. The problem of connecting products to your shops (or simply not being digitally savvy enough to understand the system) doesn’t really exist anymore. At the very least, businesses can create some awesome and on-brand storefronts.

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