Facebook Launches New Shops Feature

Big news in the Facebook-world this week with the announcement of an ‘updated’ Shops tool (and probably of MAJOR interest if you’re selling items online to support your cause).

But before you get too excited, the Shops tool is being released gradually and isn’t currently available to everyone. So, if you haven’t got a notification/email letting you know you can try it out, then you will have to wait!

Even so, it’s definitely worth being across the latest.

Please, Tell Me More

The updated Shops tool is free and allows you to upload your product catalogues direct to your Facebook page or Instagram profile for ANYONE to buy. Yes, that means you can pull in an existing catalogue without the need to start from scratch (a particular pain point of the old tool).

Once you’re live, shoppers can easily find your ‘products’ and complete a purchase via your social channels or through a clickable ad linked to a Shop inside Facebook.

The idea behind the new-look-and-feel Facebook Shops is to create a better user experience, but the reality is the tool is designed to keep people on Facebook and Instagram instead of being redirected to a third-party website to complete a sale.

I Have Access Now

If you do have access to Facebook Shops NOW and you’re keen to try it out, there are a few cool things to be aware of:

  1. ‘Live’ shopping is a THING. Viewers can buy your products during a Facebook Live!
  2. There’s scope to add loyalty programs (if you’ve got one set up).
  3. Shoppers can use augmented reality functionality and PREVIEW the product on them or in their own home (great for anyone selling home décor or jewellery items!).

Is there a Cost?

Dan Levy, Facebook’s vice president of ads, has confirmed it will charge “small fees” on each purchase. So, while the tool is FREE, we’ll need to see what the real cost to organisations are as uptake happens.

What’s Coming?

From next month, we’re expecting to see Instagram Shop launch. Here ‘grammers will be able to use the ‘Explore’ feature to browse and purchase items IN THE ONE SPOT.

As for Facebook Shops, we’re told the next step will be for it to integrate with other Apps in the family including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram Direct with the long-term hope shoppers will be able to make their purchases this way.

Tip: If e-Commerce is in your org’s growth plans, then keep watch because Facebook is scoping opportunities to work with online shopping partners like Shopify to explore ways people start and grow their own Facebook Shops as a money-making small business.

Will it Catch On?

Only time will tell if businesses and shoppers give the ‘updated’ Facebook Shops the thumbs up. What do you think?

Watch Mark Zuckerberg’s product announcement video here:

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