What are the Pros and Cons of Facebook Shops?
The year 2020 has brought a great deal of struggle for small business owners. Many have had to close their doors — either temporarily or permanently — and are now looking for ways to adapt to a virtual environment. Earlier this year, Facebook introduced Facebook Shops as a way for small business owners to simplify the buying process for their online customers. With Facebook Shops, customers can now directly purchase physical products from the Facebook app rather than having to navigate their way through various search tabs.
Tagging products is one useful feature option offered in Shops that allows customers to view pricing information instantly. When a business posts a product to their Facebook page and tags it, customers can select the tag to view the name and cost of that featured product. Tagging posts also provides customers with the option of adding an item to their cart and making a purchase through Facebook Pay.
Facebook Shops can be a great tool for business owners that are seeking innovative online selling techniques. However, it’s important to ask yourself whether utilizing Facebook as a primary platform for selling products online is the right choice for your brand. Here are a few pros and cons to consider before setting up your Facebook Shop.
1. Setting up a Facebook Shop is free and easy
Facebook Shops are available to eligible businesses all over the globe, and setup is simple, fast, and free. If you are a business account owner on Facebook, you can either import existing product collections from your business’s e-commerce site, or you can create product collections through Commerce Manager. Once your shop layout is fully customized, it’s ready to be published.
2. Flexibility in the checkout process
If you’re worried about disrupting website traffic with the creation of your Shop, you have the option to redirect customers to your business’s e-commerce site to complete a purchase. By selecting the “Check Out on Another Website” option while setting up your shop, your tagged products will now direct customers to an external site of your choice.
3. Direct interaction with buyers
Facebook Shops allows your customers to contact you with questions about specific products or tracking information through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram Direct. This encourages your customers to feel confident in placing an order with your business on Shops.
4. Ease of advertising
Billions of active Facebook users scroll through their timelines daily. At the same time, nearly 6 million advertisers are attempting to catch their eyes with the right products and visuals. Advertising your products through global social networking sites can increase reach, especially when you have the opportunity to fully customize your product collection and Shop layout.
5. Simple shipping process
If you offer customers the option to checkout directly from the Facebook app, Shops allows you as the seller to use whatever shipping service you’d like, as long as it offers tracking and delivery confirmation. Details including handling time of shipments, shipping price, speed, and destination are customizable and can be edited in Commerce Manager under your Shipping Profile.
1. Requirements for selling through Facebook Shops
In order to create a personalized shopping experience for your customers through Facebook Shops, there are a few qualifications that your business must meet. You must have a business page on Facebook with a minimum of 2,000 likes and your products need to be physical. Digital services, items, or subscriptions cannot be sold through Facebook Shops.
2. There is a selling fee
Using Commerce Manager to sell products through the Facebook app does come with a small fee. Facebook deducts a selling fee of 5% per shipment on all sales over $8.00. A flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less is deducted automatically after a sale is completed.
3. Inability to add additional features
Although Facebook Shops allows you to customize your product collection and stylize your overall layout, including other features such as promotional codes or referral programs is not an option. Facebook has a global license to host your Shop, preventing you from making any real modifications or changes to the features offered by the app.
4. You exclude customers who aren’t on Facebook
This past June, Statista reported that there are 2.6 billion Facebook users around the globe. While this may sound like an overwhelmingly large number of connected users, it translates to just 33% of the global population.
Depending on your target market, (Gen Z, we’re looking at you) Facebook Shops can either help or plateau sales. It’s important to consider how your customers traditionally access information about your products and whether Facebook Shops would attract or repel your loyal customer base.
5. Negative comments
Utilizing Facebook Shops puts your business at risk for excess comments and reviews, some of which might not always be positive. Any time you advertise your products on a social media platform, you are increasing potential engagement between your customers and your brand. While positive reviews can widen your audience, negative reviews can stunt your advertising efforts and leave you with the daunting task of damage control.
Facebook Shops provide a simplified online buying and selling process for customers and small business owners. The free and easy-to-use platform provides a quick way for customers to ask questions about certain products and allows you to access a wider audience base. However, utilizing Shops can also deter loyal customers who aren’t frequent Facebook users, prevent you as a business owner from modifying certain features of your Shop, and encourage negative comments from unhappy customers.
Whether you’re considering taking advantage of the new Facebook shopping experience or looking for more reasons to avoid testing it out, it’s important to weigh out each of these pros and cons so that you make the right decision for your small business.