Small, family-owned businesses have been the lifeblood of the United States supplying goods to its citizens and visitors since the first colonial days. Larger department stores did not start to become popular until the mid-1800s and mega-stores like Wal-Mart came about in the mid Twentieth century. Many of the smaller mom and pop retailers were forced to close as they just could not compete with the lower prices and the variety of inventory that their newly opened counterparts offered. Technology has helped to somewhat level the retail playing field. Along with the invention of the internet, development of do-it-yourself websites has enabled smaller, budget conscious stores to create websites with eCommerce capabilities allowing customers to purchase products online.
What about shops or small farmers or artisans with no online presence? Many of the vendors at the Houston Rodeo, which was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, depend on the rodeo venue to sell their goods and do not have websites that would help to offset any losses incurred due to the unexpected closure. Facebook to the rescue!
In late May of 2020, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Shops which is a tool to help shoppers buy products online as well as provide sellers a way to sell their products. According to Facebook, the Shops feature makes it easy for all small (and not-so-small) merchandisers to sell products directly through their Facebook and Instagram accounts. For a small transaction fee, shoppers will be able to use electronic payment methods as well. Utilizing all the different messaging options that Facebook provides, shop owners will be able to chat directly with customers to help drive sales. For page owners that also have an eCommerce website, Facebook is working with eCommerce website platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce that will integrate product catalogs with Facebook Shops so that you won’t have to enter products manually on Facebook or Instagram.
Facebook shops will be a great way for customers to find the types of shops that they may be interested in. Facebook will make shop suggestions to users who are likely to have an interest in shop merchandise based on the users’ profile. For example, if Jane Smith has an interest in boutique clothing, Facebook might show her recommendations for different boutiques that have a Facebook Shop. The shop owners will also be able to take advantage of Facebook Ads to better target their potential customers. Advertising on Facebook is a relatively inexpensive way to reach your target audience and is much cheaper than other digital platforms, radio, TV, Streaming providers, and print.
Facebook Shops should prove to be very beneficial for retailers with smaller budgets. For a more technically inclined shop owner, set up could take some time but there are articles online that describe the step-by-step process. If you have questions and need assistance setting up and managing your own Facebook Shop, our experts at Brand Ranch Media are here to help. Give us a call at 713-309-6380 or reach out to us via website contact form.