Some exciting rollouts have started to arrive from Instagram & Facebook called shops. The new feature is rolling out to business accounts that have an eCommerce store. Dive in as I go over what shops are and some of the cool features they have planned for merchants.
Hello! I hope you are doing well! I wanted to discuss some of the new ways social media is integrating with eCommerce. Specifically Facebook & Instagram. Plus give you some insights about what you can expect from some of these features.
On May 19th FB first announced a new feature for shop owners called “shops”. With the goal of helping online merchants capture more sales from their social accounts.
We still have shoppable posts which is not that old in terms of how long its been available.
With a lot of businesses rushing to move their business online. FB & IG has come up with this new feature.
Some facts about the “shops” feature:
- Free feature as of now (I’m not sure it will always be this way)
- You can sell on Instagram and FB simultaneously.
- Customers can shop without leaving the app.
So far shops work with several eCommerce partners like Shopify and WooCommerce plus 35 other eCommerce content management systems.
This is also currently available in the US. With approximately 1 million current business accounts using this feature. 1 billion people use Instagram each month.
The rollout of access to the shop feature is coming in waves. You may or may not have it yet. Facebook is supposed to send you an email when you are able to set up your shop page.
Let’s chat a bit about what happens after you enable this on your account.
Once you’ve uploaded your products and add the “view shop” button. People will see a button on your profile to shop.
Then if a customer happens to decide they like a product. They can add it to their bag to continue to browse or simply checkout.
There is also the option to add products to a “Wishlist” using the save icon.
Similar to “shoppable posts” you can tag products directly in your social posts. The feed or stories, etc.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts about this feature. Be sure to share them over on IG at the may creative.
Other features that are planned to come to shops are:
- Loyalty programs (earn rewards to encourage return visits)
- Shopping from the Explore page (so your shop can be discovered)
- Live sales on Instagram (almost like QVC)
- Customer service support for DM and Chat support
All this sounds exciting and I think its a good way to add more discoverability to your brand.
My concern is since this is FREE how much is really free? Is IG & FB going to be collecting specific data on your customer’s shopping behaviors?
Currently, about 11% of U.S social media users shop on Instagram.
This makes me think that Instagram wants to increase this number significantly because it will then make more money via advertisers.
Also, I can see some people arguing why they wouldn’t need an actual eCommerce website of their own because of this feature.
One you always want to own your own stuff. Remember this a free and you’ll be limited to what they make available to you.
Plus you don’t ever want a situation where your IG account is shutdown with no warning and there goes your customers.
I remember years ago I was starting a separate IG account for a business idea I had. I added the profile details and photo etc. I think I had about 3 photos on the account. One day when I went to log into the account to engage IG told me that I had violated some rules and that my account was closed.
I was shocked because I literally did nothing on the account except add some information. I reached out to support and went through the appeals process.
That took about 2 weeks and I had to send in a photo with my face on it. With the code that IG sent me written on paper to validate I was a real person. (rolls eyes).
I remember thinking that if I had been a larger account and relied on most of my business coming from IG. I would have been screwed because I would not be able to contact my followers.
Going through that process I learned how easy it was for IG to shut down an account with no warning. That is just a bit too risky in my opinion.
So while there are some people who may think they could solely focus on IG and FB for sales. I would advise against it, diversify, and own the important aspects of your business.
Such as the products you sell, the content you create, and how people are able to engage with your brand.