Facebook Shops Changes Everything For E-Commerce

May 22, 2020

Described as a “mobile-first” shopping experience that allows businesses to sell products straight through their Facebook page, Facebook Shops demands the attention of every marketer and every business owner.

The UI for Facebook Shops' Commerce Manager.

Any big product launch from Facebook is news-worthy, but this one is particularly bombastic. The whole e-commerce landscape just shifted. Here’s why we think Facebook Shops is a big (read: huge) deal.

Note: Facebook Shops is currently only available in the US as a fully-fledged feature. It’s going to be rolled out to more regions, pending its success in the states, over the coming months.


The Timing

As people spend more time indoors than ever before, they’re shopping online more, too. There’s never been a better global environment for Facebook Shops, and we predict its uptake will be swift and dramatic.

In the wake of COVID-19, one recent survey showed that a whopping 42% of respondents said they were shopping more online than before. Combine that with the revelation that, in Italy, there has been an increase of 70% in time spent on Facebook’s apps, and it becomes clear that Facebook has the rapt attention of its huge user base. Those users are shopping online more than ever before.

Let’s not forget: one of Facebook’s apps is Instagram. And yes, Facebook Shops means Instagram Shops, also. It also means Shops on Messenger and Shops on WhatsApp.  

An audience of billions (across two of the biggest social media networks and the two largest western chat apps) who are already increasing their online expenditure? It’s the perfect situation for Shops to make its grand entrance and immediately see a considerable amount of business. 


The Facebook Userbase & Customer Experience

Around 60 million businesses have Business Pages on Facebook. In our experience, the majority of those businesses approach Facebook as a source of free traffic to direct to their e-commerce storefront, whether their website or Amazon storefront.

Except that all just changed. Why send those users to your website or Amazon if they’re already on Facebook, and they can buy your products there? You can now sell and market on the same platform, and we’re betting we’ll see many small businesses using Facebook Shops exclusively as their e-commerce platform—and that they’ll see some great results. 

Facebook Shops' integration with Messenger.

Why? We know for a fact that users are more likely to buy when they don’t have to wait for it. Let’s take page load times as an example.

The exact number varies depending on the study, but there are direct links between the time a page takes to load and the conversion rate of that page. 

Walmart, for example, found that reducing the time their pages take to load by just one second increased conversion rates by up to 2%.

That’s one second. Imagine how much higher conversion rates will be from Facebook when your customers don’t have to load a page at all and don’t have to leave the app they’re on

Facebook Versus Amazon

You might think Amazon is simply too big and too settled to lose much to a new competitor, even one as big as Facebook, but there are some factors worth keeping in mind that point to Facebook Shops exceeding expectations.

Our confidence comes from the fact that many brands currently use Facebook as an advertising platform for their Amazon storefronts. 

The experience isn’t great—there’s no way to track conversions on Amazon (like sales) from Facebook ads because the platforms don’t share that information back and forth.

Facebook Shops' integration with WhatsApp.

Facebook Shops, on the other hand, is a native Facebook product. That means it is going to integrate seamlessly with the r of Facebook, including the Ads Manager and its reporting tools. 

All this is to say that it is going to be incredibly easy for businesses to analyze and control your advertising performance with Facebook Shops, from the top of the funnel right down to the sale. 

Considering businesses in the US spent about $9 billion on Facebook marketing in 2019, that ease-of-use could be hugely convincing in getting bigger firms to focus on Facebook’s e-commerce options instead of Amazon. 


Facebook Shops: Another Tool In The Box

Any big business that sells online is going to have to devote time to understanding Facebook Shops or risk missing out on a (potentially) highly effective avenue for sales. At the same time, we expect to see small businesses basing their entire online sales structure around the new service.

Either way, the next few months (as it rolls out across the United States and then to other regions) will determine whether Facebook Shops has made a ripple or a tidal wave. We’ll be keeping a close eye on any developments so we can interpret what they might mean for your business.

Here’s Facebook’s original announcement about the feature. Get acquainted: we think you’ll be hearing a lot more about Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, WhatsApp Shops, and Messenger Shops a lot more in the months to come.