Facebook announced yesterday that they are launching Facebook Shops. That is, they are launching an online store solution as part of Facebook and Instagram. Anyone who has a Facebook Page for their organization can thus start a small online store.
The plan is that this can eventually be integrated into a larger "outside Facebook" online store such as Magento, Shopify or WooCommerce. Therefore, you can avoid having to deal with multiple trading systems if you already have an online store.
I personally think this may be a thing that may work for many, but that it will not compete with you who are actively working to promote your online store. When you do SEO for the online store it is to hit people who are actively searching for your products or solutions that your products provide. This I am sure is still a great way to increase traffic and get more buyers into your online store.
I am therefore sure that having their main online store outside Facebook will be the primary choice. Not least because you are independent of a platform that is known to just shut down advertising accounts without warning and where it has proved extremely difficult to be heard if this has happened without violating Facebook's terms.
I also think that those who find a store on Facebook will probably buy more on impulse, so therefore it sets some guidelines for what types of products will be successful there. Among other things, I think that typical impulse goods will be able to do well, but goods that require a lot more energy in the decision will still sell best on their own solutions. Partly because you don't have to be interrupted by the red "you got a new message" or "someone has written something" that appears in the upper right ...
Thus, I believe that this and the old online store solutions can exist well side by side, and also that the "Face shop" can be used well as initial sales - and then follow up customers to buy more expensive products that give more margin in the main online store . A bit like an ecom funnel.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote this post today:
Here is the whole facsimile from the post:
"I just announced that we're launching Facebook Shops today – the basic idea is that any small business can easily start a shop to sell things directly across our apps. If you visit someone's shop, you'll be able to see that small business's story, see their featured products, and buy them in our apps.
I think this particularly important right now because so many small businesses are moving online to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19. As people are being told to stay home, physical storefronts are having a hard time staying open and millions of people are losing their jobs. I've been personally working with our teams on Facebook Shops every day for the last couple of months so we could accelerate launching it to small businesses who could use tools like this now.
Facebook Shops are free and easy to create. When you set up your shop, it will appear on your Facebook and Instagram accounts to start and soon on Messenger and WhatsApp too. Shops are native and fast, which means no more app-switching to a slow mobile web browser where you have to reenter your credit card when you tap on an interesting product you see in feeds. We're also working with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics so that small businesses can easily integrate into a strong, open ecosystem of tools to help them manage their customer journey end-to-end, and it's up to the business to decide what level of integration they want.
On top of that, we’re building a bunch of features across our apps to help people discover things from small businesses that they might want to buy. We're building a dedicated shopping tab on Instagram and a destination inside Explore where you can find and buy products you might be interested in. Soon, we'll also be launching new Live shopping features across Facebook and Instagram, which will allow you to shop on Live in real-time.
Lastly, in the near future Shops will use our AI and augmented reality tech to create better shopping experiences. We'll automatically identify and tag products in feeds so people can easily click-through to purchase when they find things they like. Small businesses will also be able to personalize their storefronts to first show products that are most relevant to you and use augmented reality to let you virtually try on things like sunglasses, lipstick or makeup to see how they might look on you before buying, or what furniture might look like in your room.
This all adds up to something quite powerful. If you're running a small business or you're thinking of starting one – even from your living room – you now have a whole suite of tools available that can help you serve people. You can build out your online presence across Facebook and Instagram. You can use Messenger and WhatsApp to communicate with your customers. You can reach new customers through our ads. And now, you can also set up a full online store experience with Facebook Shops. All of these tools are open for business, even when your physical storefront can't be. Hopefully this helps relieve some of the pressure that small businesses are facing right now and helps them prepare for a more online future. I look forward to getting Shops into the world more widely."
Then you can like it or not. I'm skeptical that Facebook is trying to put our whole life in there, but also see that there are opportunities that come from this.
Personally, I believe that items people buy on impulse will do well in such stores, while goods that involve some mental energy to choose will do better in regular online stores. So using “lure offers” in the Facebook online store, and then selling them up for larger purchases in your own online store will be an interesting issue.
It is also exciting to see if they cut advertising costs for integrated online stores, versus online stores that send customers out of the Facebook sphere.
Either way, it is wise to continue to market your online store in the usual ways, and use this only as an extra leg to stand on.