The recent pandemic outbreak has affected every miniature aspect of our lives, especially our businesses. The practice of social distancing has made traditional offline businesses redundant. That, in turn, has resulted in thousands of businesses incurring mammoth losses, especially small businesses.
The World Health Organization sees social distancing as a fundamental practice until 2022. In such cases, small businesses have to take necessary actions to get used to the latest version of “normalcy.” And, this is where the convenience of digital marketing comes to play.
The latest statistics show that the number of social media usage, particularly Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp, has increased by 87%.
The rapid increase in social media usage can come as a guardian angel to many small businesses. This, in particular, applies to Facebook. Recently the social media giant launched its online store, aka Facebook shop.
So what exactly is the Facebook shop?
Why does it make sense to sell your products on the Facebook shop?
And, most importantly, how do you set up your store on Facebook?
We will help you obtain answers to all that in this article.
So, what is the Facebook shop?
Facebook shop is exactly what it sounds like. It allows users to set up their own online store on their Facebook page. So, if you’re one of those small businesses that ended up on the wrong side of the Lockdown, Facebook shop is an extremely intriguing opportunity.
Prior to the shop, Facebook released a similar feature called the marketplace back in 2016. Facebook marketplace, much like Craigslist, enabled users to sell personal belongings to each other. However, in view of the recent boom in the e-commerce industry due to COVID-19 Lockdown, Facebook has unveiled a full-fledged online store feature. It will compete directly with flagship e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, etc.
Ecommerce is one of the only few industries that has benefited from the pandemic lockdown. Vietnam has seen the highest surge, with nearly 57% increase in online shopping, followed by India (55%), and China (50%).
Why you need to start selling on Facebook Shop?
On papers, the premise of the Facebook shop sounds extremely promising.
Is it worth your consideration, and does it present a better business prospect than other existing online shops?
The simple answer?
Of course, it is too early to say that Facebook shop is downright a better option than other existing e-commerce sites. But, if you look at the future prospect and also the present lockdown scenario, Facebook shop certainly makes for a compelling option to revive your business.
There are several reasons why you should start selling products on the Facebook shop –
- Its massive user base.
- The absurd amount of time people spends on it.
According to the latest reports, Facebook has seen a significant leap in user log-ins after the implementation of COVID-19 Lockdown. In fact, studies reveal that Facebook witnessed a record high 3 Billion active users in the month of March itself.
The number was a significant jump for Facebook. Previously the average number of monthly users on the platform was only 2.6 Billion.
In addition, studies also show that users spend an average of 40 minutes on social media platforms every day. Facebook (obviously) takes up a massive chunk of that time.
So what do the above factors mean for the Facebook shop?
Simply put, it means Facebook has the numbers game advantage. Usually, when you start an online business, you would have to invest quite a substantial amount of money and resources in digital marketing to attract an audience in masses.
However, with Facebook shop, you are already swimming amongst 3 Billion potential customers. Besides, Facebook is the perfect platform to expand your business horizon within a limited time window as well.
What are the primary requirements to build a Facebook Shop?
There are three crucial factors involved in setting up the ideal Facebook shop –
- Deciding what you’re going to sell
- Knowing how to set up the store itself, and
- Driving traffic to the store
How to decide what to sell on Facebook Shop
There are two main types of products you can sell online – Niche and Commoditized products.
Niche products refer to those goods/services that are targeted towards a specific audience. Dbrand is an example of a niche website that focuses specifically on smartphone skins and cases.
Commoditized products, on the other hand, refers to goods or services that cater to a large mass of audience. These are usually essential items that are required on a daily basis. Amazon is the perfect example of a commoditized website.
Apart from that, many other websites prefer selling online a mix of both commoditized as well as niche products. This is primarily because it allows them to reach out to a broader audience and carve out their brand name at the same time.
Tyler’s is a good example of a website selling a combination of both niche and commoditized products as well.
For a startup business, it is always better to stick with offering a combination of both niches as well as Commoditized products. As mentioned above, this is the ideal method to generate good traffic and also to provide a concrete platform to show-off your proprietary products as well.
How to set up your Facebook store
Since you’re looking to start a Facebook store, we are going to assume you have a Facebook account.
However, apart from a valid account, there are some additional basic requirements you need to tick off before setting up your Facebook store –
- A Facebook business page
- Agree with Facebook’s Merchant Terms
- Sell only physical items.
- A valid tax identification number
- Link to a valid bank account
Now, let’s go to the main steps of setting up a shop on Facebook.
Step 1: Configure your business page
The first step is to locate your Facebook business page. Your business page will have a sub-shop page by default, as shown above. Click on the shop tab to get started.
Step 2: Enter your shop details
The second step involves providing all necessary information about your Facebook shop.
After clicking on to the Shop tab, a pop-up screen will appear explaining the setup procedure ahead. Click on the Get Started tab. There are a total of 6 steps involved.
- Next, you will need to enter your Business address. Once done, click the Next tab.
- After that, you will need to provide the location of your Business (State) and your State Tax registration number.
- The next step allows you to select your business category.
- Here you will need to select your business type and provide information about the business representative. Information includes Social Security number, Date of Birth, and Full name.
- The next step is a crucial stage where you select your shipping options and return policy (as shown below). You can add your choice of shipping options and make some changes to the return policy as well.
(Note: There are certain things about Facebook Shop shipping and return policy that you should be aware of –
- You must ship your item(s) within three days of order placement.
- Customers should receive items on or before ten days of order.
- Customers can cancel their order within 30 minutes of order if the item hasn’t been shipped yet.
- You can only receive domestic orders. In brief, no international shipping.)
- The final step involves agreeing to the Merchant terms and policy. This step, however, depends on your location and account type.
Step 3: Payment configuration
This section of the setup may vary according to your geographical location.
For example, if you are located in the US, the common procedure is to link your Facebook account with your bank account.
However, for other countries, Facebook requires you to configure payments via PayPal or Stripe. In fact, for European users, this section of the setup is not required at all.
The steps mentioned below are applicable only for US-based users.
A small payment module pop-up (as seen above) will appear at this point. Click to Set Up Payment tab to proceed.
Next, you will be required to enter your Tax details.
Note: you cannot make any changes to the details later. So make sure you enter the information accurately.
The final step is to link your shop to your bank account for online payments.
Step 4: Add items to your Facebook store
To get your Facebook shop on the track, simply click to the “Add product” tab. Once you proceed further, you will be greeted with a product description form.
As you can see, the form is pretty straightforward. You can add photos/videos of your product, assign the desired price tag, and add a description of your choice.
The only thing you have to keep in mind is to keep the visibility as “Public.”
Once completed, your product will go live on your shop page. The “check out on website” button will direct the users to your main shopping page.
In addition, you can also create product collections by clicking the “add collection” button.
The “Publishing Tool” option on the top bar also allows you to edit or add new products.
Step 5: Manage Your Orders
The order management tool is another exclusive feature for the US market. To manage your orders, go to the Publishing Tool option and search for the pending order link.
In addition, you can also set up your Facebook shop with Shopify and BigCommerce as well.
How do you drive traffic to your Facebook shop?
The next big question is how to drive traffic to your shop. After all, an online store without traffic is insignificant.
“You can’t just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed, you have to create traffic.”-Joel Anderson, Walmart CEO
Luckily, there are several ways that can boost the traffic of your Facebook shop.
1. Facebook Ads
Ads continue to remain one of the best means of driving traffic. Facebook ads, in particular, are one of the most effective means to help your online shop generate good traffic initially. This is largely due to its immense user base.
Studies show that 75% of consumers visit Facebook before making any purchase to seek advice from friends/families. So, in addition to the already existing impressive number of users, Facebook ads allow you to target those vulnerable audiences as well.
Oatly’s Facebook Ad is a good example of incorporating good copywriting along with good ads.
2. Referral marketing
Word-to-mouth referral is probably the most guaranteed way to generate quality traffic to your Facebook shop.
As Andy Crestodina (Co-founder of Orbit Media Studios) correctly puts it, “when you say it, it’s marketing, when your customer says it, its social proof.”
A recent study conducted by Nielsen revealed that 92% of people trust referrals (word to mouth recommendations) over any other type of product advertising.
In another study, The New York Times revealed that about 65% of all new purchases come from referrals.
All these go on to show how crucial of a role referral marketing plays in driving your shop traffic and ultimately generating sales as well.
3. Use Influencer marketing
In the case of both the aforementioned types of marketing, your reach is relatively limited to a certain group of friends/families. Of course, they are effective, but you might have to wait for quite a significant time before experiencing ideal results.
However, with influencer marketing, you can obtain instant attention of millions of potential customers. Influencer marketing also makes your product come across as reliable and genuine as well.
Recent studies show that 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations before making any purchase.
Influencer marketing is especially effective for attracting teen consumers. 70% of teen audiences trust influencer recommendations more than any other source, including mainstream celebrities and friends/families.
Studies also show that 6 out of every 10 teens turn to influencer advice before making any purchase.
4. Use SEO to Increase Your Store’s Discoverability
If you want to stick with the basics and generate organic traffic, optimizing your shop to obtain a good SEO score is the best approach. The process of SEO may take time to show results. But, once it does, it can skyrocket your store’s reputation and generate quality traffic.
In fact, 51% of the website traffic comes from organic search results alone.
SEO refers to the process of optimizing certain areas of your store to boost its Search Engine result ranking. In brief, a good SEO will ensure your store appears on top of the search result page.
Some of the important components of SEO include –
- Improving your product design
- Keyword research and implementation
- Improving meta tags
- Creating quality contents
- Creating quality backlinks
In brief, SEO is about executing the fundamental aspects and improving the elements of brand identity with optimum efficiency.
- Social media platforms, especially Facebook, is witnessing substantial growth due to COVID-19 Lockdown. This practically ensures good traffic for Facebook shops.
- There are several internal terms and conditions, especially during shipping and payment that you need to be wary of.
- Selling a combination of commoditized and niche products are usually best for startup businesses.
- Incorporate various marketing techniques to drive traffic to your store.
- Make sure to integrate your marketing ads with unique copywriting to attract instant attention of your audience.
- Word to mouth (referral marketing) is the most trusted source for generating traffic.
- Influencer marketing is specifically ideal for attracting millennials.
- SEO is the ideal method to generate organic traffic and is also the best solution for long-term success.
The Facebook shop could potentially be the new e-commerce hotspot in 2020. Facebook shop allows you to exploit the benefit of the rapid growth of both social media platforms and e-commerce service during the pandemic Lockdown.
For online businesses that are incurring mammoth losses, Facebook Shop should be a no-brainer.
We hope you found the article helpful.
If you have any additional queries, please post it in the comment section below. We will do our best to answer the same.
About the Author
Alex is the Digital Marketing Manager at Reliablesoft, a digital marketing agency offering SEO and digital marketing services since 2002. Connect with him on Twitter @reliablesoftnet.