Social commerce has been on the rise in recent years, with more and more businesses leveraging social media platforms to drive sales and connect with their customers. Among these platforms, Facebook stands out as one of the most popular choices due to its massive user base and extensive reach.
Facebook is one of the most widely used social media platforms in the world, with over 2.8 billion active users across diverse demographics. As a result, it's no surprise that many eCommerce businesses have turned to Facebook Shops as a potential avenue for increasing sales and reaching a wider audience.
However, despite the initial hype surrounding Facebook Shops, many brands are struggling to see any significant benefits from this feature.
In this article, we will explore the concept of Facebook Shops, how they work, and the supposed benefits they offer. We will also delve into why Facebook Shops are broken and why many brands are finding it difficult to reap the benefits of this feature.
What are Facebook shops and how do they work?
Facebook Shops is a free feature that enables businesses to set up an online store on Facebook and Instagram. The feature was launched in May 2020 and has since gained popularity among businesses looking to tap into the vast audience on the platforms.
Facebook Shops allow businesses to showcase their products and services in an easy-to-navigate online store that customers can access from their Facebook or Instagram profile.
To set up a Facebook Shop, businesses need to have a Facebook Page and an account on Commerce Manager, which is Facebook's hub for managing online sales. From there, businesses can add products to their shop, customize their store's appearance, and manage orders and payments.
When a customer visits a Facebook Shop, they can browse through products, add items to their cart, and complete their purchase without leaving Facebook or Instagram. The checkout process is integrated with Facebook's payment system, which allows customers to save their payment details for future purchases. Additionally, customers can message businesses directly from the shop with any questions they may have about a product or the buying process.
What are the said benefits of Facebook shops?
With Facebook being used extensively for personal, professional and community networking, the following are some of the benefits brands can expect from Facebook Shops:
1. Increased Visibility
Facebook Shops allow businesses to showcase their products to a wider audience. The platform has over 2.8 billion monthly active users, making it an excellent channel to increase your brand's reach.
2. Easy Setup
Setting up a Facebook Shop is relatively easy and straightforward. With the help of the Facebook Commerce Manager, businesses can create and customize their shop to align with their branding and showcase their products.
3. Seamless Shopping Experience
Facebook Shops provide a seamless shopping experience for customers. They can browse through products, add items to their cart, and complete transactions without leaving the platform. This convenience makes it more likely for customers to make a purchase.
4. Product Tagging
Facebook Shops allow businesses to tag products in their posts and stories, making it easier for customers to find and purchase items they are interested in.
5. Data Insights
The Facebook Commerce Manager provides businesses with data insights that can help them understand customer behavior and preferences. This information can be used to optimize product listings, pricing, and marketing efforts.
Despite these benefits, not all businesses have been able to see success with Facebook Shops. The platform has some limitations that can make it challenging for businesses to fully utilize its features and benefits. Let's explore some reasons why Facebook Shops might be broken.
Why are Facebook shops broken for brands?
Facebook Shops have been introduced as a way to help businesses showcase their products directly on Facebook and Instagram. However, while they may sound like a good idea in theory, they are far from perfect in practice. Here are some of the reasons why Facebook Shops are broken:
1. Harder to Meet Eligibility Criteria
One of the biggest problems with Facebook Shops is that they are harder to set up than other eCommerce channels. To be eligible to set up a Facebook Shop, businesses must meet specific requirements, including linking to a Facebook Page, using a supported platform, and adhering to Commerce Policies. This can take anywhere from several days to several weeks to get approved, which can be a frustrating experience for businesses that need to start selling right away.
2. Inability to See All Product Information
Another issue with Facebook Shops is that when you click on a product, you are unable to see all the product information, such as the product description and details. Instead, the product page only shows limited information, making it difficult for customers to make informed purchasing decisions. Our studies have also found that more than 60% of consumers choose to buy from brand sites due to the same reason.
3. Not All Content Formats are Shoppable
While Facebook Shops support several content formats, including photos, videos, and carousels, not all formats are shoppable. For example, Reels are not yet shoppable (as on Instagram), even though brands can now crosspost them on the two social media platforms. This means that businesses are missing out on a significant opportunity to drive sales from Reels content.
4. Inability to Capture Consumer Information
When businesses drive traffic to their website, they can capture valuable consumer information, such as what products customers are interested in and how they browse through the site. However, when customers shop on Facebook Shops, this data remains on the platform and is not captured by the business. This makes it challenging for businesses to retarget customers with personalized product recommendations and promotions, resulting in a significant disadvantage - in a cookieless world, this further adds to the challenges a brand faces!
5. Inability to personalize
Facebook Shops do not currently offer personalized recommendations or product suggestions based on a customer's interests or browsing history. This means that when a customer clicks on an item in a Facebook Shop, they are either likely to purchase it or leave. There is no incentive to explore other products, which can limit the potential for cross-selling or upselling. They hit a deadend right away!
6. No carry-forward context
When customers see a product on a Facebook Shop, they may be drawn in by the context in which it is presented. For example, they may see a table setting with a beautiful tea set, but when they click on the product, they are taken to a separate page with no context. This can lead to confusion and a decrease in sales, as customers may not be able to make the connection between the product they saw and the product they are now looking at.
Therefore, while Facebook Shops offer several benefits, there are still significant challenges that businesses face when using the platform. The limitations of the platform make it difficult for businesses to capture customer information, personalized recommendations, and offer a seamless shopping experience.
Also read: Social commerce revenue is underreported by 245% (study)
Why are edge storefronts better than Facebook Shops for social commerce?
Now that you know what is broken about Facebook shops for social commerce, let’s take a look at why we think eCommerce edge storefronts are the solution:
1. Everyone can set them up
Edge storefronts are like a conversion optimization app you can add to your online store and get started with. You don’t have to go through an endless list of compliance requirements around Facebook commerce, and move back and forth between Meta support and setting up an online storefront. With a solution like SimplicityDX, they can be set up for every brand in a matter of minutes by simply integrating with your online store CMS and connecting the social commerce platforms you intend to sell on - including your Facebook Shop and the landing for ad campaigns you run on the platform.
Here are some recommended reads:
- Complete guide to understanding edge storefronts and why they’re the future of eCommerce
- How to set up edge storefronts for health and wellness brands
- How to set up edge storefronts for beauty and cosmetics brands
- How to set up edge storefronts for fashion and apparel brands
2. Product pages can be detailed
Edge storefronts are similar to online stores. So instead of having to limit the amount of information you display for each product on the Facebook Shop as per the platform’s preferred layout, you get to describe the product in as much detail as you prefer.
From details about product material, ingredient, maintenance and clear, variants available, pricing, similar products, products that paid well the item being viewed, an edge storefront brings the entire eCommerce website experience to Facebook. .
3. Turn Facebook content shoppable
Instead of using the content on social media to drive traffic to an eCommerce website, edge storefront ties them together. So from expecting a consumer to move from one platform to another, edge storefronts provide the connect to shop on Facebook without having to switch sites. This means you can convert any Facebook post - image or video, into a shoppable post.
SimplicityDX pulls the content you post on Facebook to a branded site page that creates a contextual landing for online shoppers. This also helps reassure buyers that the product they see on Facebook, is the product they are about to buy.
4. Capture multiple intent and interests
Facebook posts, Facebook Shop links or ad campaigns can only lead to specific product, sale or collection pages. Imagine a Facebook post showing you an entire dining room layout and you find it while browsing through the marketplace. Something in the post captures your interest and so you click through to the brand page and then the site link provided - only to realize that they’re promoting the table mats.
If you were looking for the dining room set, you would bounce from the website. But an edge storefront uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify the key elements of the Facebook post. This lets you display all the elements - table, dining room set, table mats, napkins and more, on the page they land on, instantly being able to capture multiple intent and interests.
5. Enable personalization at scale
Traditional personalization typically includes displaying product recommendations based on what they’re looking for on a product page. But not being able to capture interest and intent as a buyer moves from the Facebook post or Facebook Shop to the brand site, can often lead to a lack of personalization.
With an eCommerce edge storefront, you get to personalize customer experiences at scale. The ability to identify and display all the products shown in a Facebook post as they click through to know more, helps them explore more of what they like. This creates a more natural shopping experience for buyers as compared to limiting their options.
6. Branded shopping experiences
Our studies have shown that despite the increase in the number of online shoppers using social media to find new brands and explore products, almost 67% of them choose to make the purchase from the branded website instead. This purchase behavior stems from the need to keep their transactional details secure - especially in times when there has been an increase in the number of Facebook accounts being hacked or compromised.
Edge storefronts bring the branded site to Facebook instead. They replicate the experience of an online store, including a branded URL that reassures buyers of their safety - even when they are not leaving Facebook at all to make the purchase.
The future of Facebook Shops: Shopping on the Edge
Despite speculation around Facebook getting phased out by more visual platforms like Instagram, TikTok and others, the social media giant continues to grow.
As per statistics, the number of monthly active users across the world as of January 2023, is approximately 2.963 billion. So despite all market assumptions and the number of other social media platforms available, there is still a majority of your target audience active on Facebook and Facebook Shopping is going nowhere.
Nor are the increasing costs of customer acquisition for eCommerce on Facebook.
That’s why we have built Edge Storefronts for eCommerce businesses selling on Facebook.
Our goal is to reverse the way social commerce works. Instead of just taking consumers from Facebook to the brand website, we want to bring the site to them and offer them a secure channel to make purchases on.
Want to know how Edge Storefronts work with Facebook social commerce?
Book a demo of SimplicityDX today.