Facebook Shops: How will they benefit small businesses with e-commerce?
The year 2020 opened Pandora’s box and a chain of mishaps followed. The COVID-19 virus, which was first detected in China, didn’t take much time to achieve the label ‘Pandemic’ and has infected people in 188 countries. Economies around the world have been hit brutally leaving people counting costs and wondering what recovery could look like. Small businesses around the globe have been hit the hardest.
As a measure to rescue these SMEs, Facebook has launched Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops as a way and tool to cater to small businesses. SMEs, on these social media platforms, can scale their businesses by taking them online. This new service is designed to improve consumer’s online shopping experience amid the pandemic while helping businesses get back on track.
In the current scenario, Facebook has tried to unlock the potential of e-commerce and has recognised it as an area of massive growth. The Social Media giant announced the launch of Shops as a way for local businesses to set up storefronts on the platforms for free. Facebook and Instagram shops will be powered by third-party services, like Shopify, BigCommerce and Woo, and are designed to bring the top-tier shopping experience to a virtual front.
The pricing factor will play a crucial role as E-commerce companies have very aggressive pricing policies. But this wouldn’t be a possible scenario for Facebook and Instagram shops as each individual shop takes part in this process. These shops will allow the merchants to showcase their exclusive merchandise in a systematic manner and the sales would be dependent on factors such as Delivery and Customer Service. The platforms are at risk when it comes to managing struggling situations like Returns and distribution of Fake products, as faced by its contemporaries Amazon and Flipkart with their counted number of suppliers. It looks like Facebook and Instagram shops will have to put in some more effort when it comes to controlling millions of shop owners and tackling product returns and distribution of fake products.
To handle customer support queries, the businesses will use Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Messaging and WhatsApp messenger. As the store rolls out, the company plans to let customers browse through store catalogues, and purchase chosen items directly from the chat window. Facebook will also allow brands and creators to tag exclusive items from their catalogue that appear in live videos. The company will also allow customers to shop said tagged items from the live stream directly. Talk about convenience!
Another feature that Facebook is working on is to integrate loyalty programs with Shops. In a blog post, the company said that through the loyalty program the customers will be able to keep track of their point and rewards. Additionally, they remarked, “We’re exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people… We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online businesses get online for the first time.” He believes that in order to rebuild the economy, that is hit severely by the pandemic, the right approach is to expand e-commerce. Especially in the current times, when people are preferring organic and personalised products, local businesses had the perfect opportunity to thrive had the world continued its normal pace. With opportunities like Facebook and Instagram Shops, Ecommerce is coming to the forefront and small businesses are marking their presence in the virtual world. Here’s to hoping this will be a successful push in reviving the economy back to its feet.