You use it to connect with old friends, share funny memes, and, more professionally, advertise your business. Now Facebook’s offering a brand new tool for your brand that may be a secret weapon when it comes to increasing your ecommerce sales: Facebook Shops.
Announced in May 2020, the Facebook Shops feature provides a seamless online shopping experience for social media users. It’s one of the newest channels to enter the ecommerce shopping fray alongside giants like Amazon and Walmart, but it's already promising game-changing capabilities for brands in the future.
So what exactly is Facebook Shops and should you consider it for your business? Here’s what you should know.
Facebook Shops is a mobile-first shopping experience that allows brands to create a free, customizable online store directly on Facebook (similar to a storefront on Amazon). Through Facebook Shops, brands can tell their brand story, feature their products on Facebook, and merchandise them in product collections that customers can browse like a virtual shelf before purchasing. Essentially it’s a new marketplace where consumers can buy products from within the Facebook platform, never leaving Facebook.
Facebook Shops are linked with Facebook business pages so consumers can see products right on a brand’s profile and, if they follow that brand, right in their feed. With Facebook Shops, brands can tag products in their posts and make those posts shoppable so that consumers go right into checkout just by clicking on them. Customers also have the option to checkout on brand websites through this function.
One of the most exciting things about Facebook Shops is that it links both Facebook and Instagram so brands have a single online store between the two apps, streamlining the shopping experience even further. Facebook says live shopping features and loyalty programs are in the pipeline for Facebook Shops, too.
Rather than going through a chat bot to reach your customer service team, shoppers on Facebook Shops interact with your brand just like they’d interact with an old friend from high school on the site. Customers message brands directly through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct to get support, track shipments, and ask questions, effectively cutting out the back-and-forth middle manning that can happen on sites like Amazon.
In addition to chatting with customer service representatives through messaging functions, Facebook says customers will have the option to make purchases right in chat boxes in the future.
It would be easy to overlook Facebook Shops as just one more channel to manage, but there are very good reasons to explore it as an option for your brand.
One of the most compelling elements of Facebook Shops that you can’t find on other platforms like Google or Amazon is how personable it makes the shopping experience. There’s a relationship that the individual has with your brand that’s just a little bit more intimate. They’re following you for a reason.
Through Facebook Shops, customers can have meaningful social interaction with your brand in the same space they purchase your product, which is invaluable for an ecommerce business. Coupled with the viral nature of Facebook posts, the feature is a goldmine waiting to be tapped.
If somebody’s really happy and they like your product and they share it, it goes to the people that are in their circle of influence, and then if those people life it and they share it, then it goes to their people in their circle of influence. Posts and ads organically take on a life of their own. That really doesn’t happen for other marketplaces.
While there are a lot of exciting opportunities with Facebook Shops, it won’t make sense for every business or every product. Brands that are going to do exceptionally well in the Facebook Shops space are brands that already have a strong social media presence.
A large following with high engagement will pay big dividends when customers have the option to buy your product directly on the app. Without that, the rewards will be hard-earned. If nobody’s following you and you’re starting from scratch, maybe it’s not right for you.
Another thing you’ll want to look at when considering Facebook Shops is the kind of content you’re sharing on social media. Are you producing video content? Are you producing useful content? Do you have someone that can create good social posts, and are you doing that already? If so, then this is something to consider.
When it comes to products, everyday products that consumers can touch, feel, and use will do well on Facebook Shops, but big ticket items may not make sense. It’s hard to sell a boat on Facebook Shops, but you can sell tea. You can sell consumables. You can sell razors.
In addition to products, engagement, and content, it’s important to keep in mind that Facebook Shops is not yet a mature marketplace, and there will be bumps along the way. If you get started and you don’t have immediate success, that’s okay. You’re laying the foundation for future success and I personally believe that Facebook Shops will be a player in the marketplace space.
Once you’ve evaluated whether or not Facebook Shops is right for your business as well as the logistics of things like shipping costs and packaging, you can jump right into setting up your Shop.
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to set up a Commerce Manager account through Facebook in order to proceed. You can learn more about that here.
Once your Commerce Manager account is live, you can set up a shop account by providing information about your business and you can upload your product catalogue. Facebook has provided a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this through Commerce Manager.
After you’ve created your shop, you can add collections of 6-30 products and customize its look and feel before publishing.
One handy thing about Facebook Shops is that a lot of tools have been integrated into it to help your brand get the support it needs to grow. Facebook has partnered with companies like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Freedonomics.
It might be overwhelming to think about entering and managing the Facebook Shops space, but Pattern is here to help you make it work for your business. Pattern experts can give you the assistance you’ll need for growth and success as well as manage your Shop for you. For more tips and resources, contact us below.
Facebook Shops is a new addition to an increasingly busy marketplace, and there are still some unknowns, but the future of this feature is bright, and with the right tools and know-how, it can be a great choice for your ecommerce brand to thrive.
(Psst… Want to learn even more about selling on Facebook and utilizing it for ecommerce? Check out our articles about Facebook Live—Facebook’s livestreaming service—and how it helps increase sales, read more about multichannel selling, and best practices for using Facebook Ads.)
Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.