If the idea of creating an online store on Facebook has been going around your head for a while, it is possible that some questions have arisen:
- How is a F-commerce created?
- Is it as simple and cheap as they say?
And the most important question: will you be able to sell more on Facebook than in a normal store? If you have thought about using the Mark Zuckerberg’s social network to sell your products and you want those questions to be answered, this is your article.
What’s a Facebook store? Is it worth it?
Surely you have noticed that there is a tab called “Shop” on many Facebook pages. From there, users can see and click on your e-commerce products to buy them.
Is it worth having it? Is it necessary to have a Facebook shop if you already have your own e-commerce?
The truth is that Facebook is the world’s largest social network with more than 2 billion users. Because of that fact alone, turning your back on such a powerful source of income and traffic would be way to risky of a move.
Keep on reading and throughout the post you can draw your own conclusions.
Advantages and disadvantages of a virtual Facebook store
Having a(nother) online shop on Facebook sounds good, doesn’t it?
But is it really profitable to sell your products among viral videos about cats, songs, and photos of family members?
Let’s start weighing it all out.
- Every potential client, or almost all of them, are on Facebook—and we want to be where clients are, don’t we?
- It is free: this is always a plus J.
- It is easy to set up: it will be ready after a few clicks.
- Shareable: once you have created your products and offers, it is very easy to share them as if they were a normal post.
- Marketplace: have you seen the new tab on the App? They started by selling second hand products, but we think that their intention is to create a real marketplace. Actually, they are already begun adding some new products.
- Tagging your products: this is perhaps what we like the most—whenever you publish a picture where one of your products appears, you will be able to tag them so users can click on them.
- It takes time: although it is easy to set up, if you use a native tool you will need to spend some time on updating prices and images. Watch out—it is better not to have it than to have without any updates.
- Little visibility: unless you share and change your products a lot, at least for the moment, only a few people know about f-commerces.
- The payment is made on your website: e-commerces in the USA using Stripe or PayPal can already complete the purchase without leaving Facebook, but it is still not possible in Europe.
Do you see more points in favor or against?
Basically, what wins is that it’s easy to use on a technical level, but the most important part, sales, are still a bit weak. Don’t worry about that for now. We’ll take it slow and deal with that later on.
For now, let’s focus on how you can create it.
How to set up a store on a Facebook page
There are different ways of launching a virtual store on the biggest social network in the world.
- From external apps: services and tools that don’t belong to Facebook.
- From a native tool: integrated into the Facebook page itself.
Let’s see the differences between them.
Creating a Facebook store with native tools
Don’t worry if you consider yourself “technologically useless”—it’s quite easy. Here we explain all the steps to create and set up the “Shop” tab from the Facebook page itself.
1. Show the “Shop” section
If your page is not showing the tab, you have to go to Settings / Edit page. From there you can select the pages you want to be displayed.
You can also choose not to show some or change the order.
TIP: place the Shop in the first position.
2. Configure your page’s template
Though you may have understood that you can modify your page’s appearance, you actually can’t. The only thing we are interested in here is selecting a template that matches the type of business we have and that has the option of showing the ‘Shop’ tab.
From all of the options, the following ones are those that show products by default.
- Sales: aimed at highlighting products and images.
- Services: tries to create a bridge between the supplier and the user.
If you are using another template, such as Business, Restaurants, or Standard, it is no big deal, you just need to change it. Edit the tabs like we mentioned above so that the ‘Shop’ tab is shown and then start the configuration process.
3. Setting up your shop
The first thing you are asked to do is to decide what will happen when users click on your products. Facebook only offers two options for the moment:
- Sending the client to your own website to complete the payment process.
- Opening a chat box to add more details and close the sale.
You can see the options in the image below:
For products, the first option is more appropriate. However, if you offer services, offering more information before selling them is necessary.
It is a lead magnet more than a sale in itself.
Also, services aside, in the case of expensive or personalized products, it’s also a better idea to start a conversation than to directly send clients off to buy the products. Those aren’t the type of sales you can close after just one view of the product.
The next step is to choose the currency for your prices.
4. Add a description
The last step before starting to upload your products is to add a description of your shop.
Try to be original, but don’t run your mouth. What you sell and how it is going to help users needs to be clear in just one line.
After these four steps you will be ready to start adding products to your shop.
Requirements and how to upload products to your Facebook store
Adding new items is very easy and implementation is quick and comfortable. You just need to bear in mind the following:
- Images: they have to be square; at least 1024 x 1024 and on a White background. Images won’t be blocked for now following this rule, but they recommend images being close-up and including just one product. Have a look at this post if you don’t know how to take pictures of your products.
- Variation: they are similar to product attributes, size, colors, etc. You can add up to four.
Remember that like with any publicity image on Facebook, you should not include more than 20% text.
Last tip for adding images: be patient. After uploading one, you will need to wait a few minutes for it to be validated. They are normally published after 5-10 minutes.
Once you have uploaded your products, you need to organize them.
Think about them as e-commerce categories.
Adding your products randomly means chaos, and chaos doesn’t get along well with a good conversion rate. ;)
Grouping your products into collections makes surfing easier, more organized, and increases the chances of clicking—which is our final goal.
In addition to your e-commerce categories, here you have some more ideas for collections that can be used:
- New releases.
- Grouped products.
Any categorization that helps users know what you offer at a glance is a good one. You can even use the ones you have on Pinterest.
Creating offers in your Facebook store
A useful option for your sales promotions is to create offers.
There is a separate tab for this that allows us to create a temporary offer.
This offer will be shown to your followers as if it were a normal post (if you have a coupon, you can add it here).
You have probably heard about the importance of limiting your offers. With Facebook, we set an expiration date right when we create it in order to make sure that we don’t forget.
So far, we have seen options for creating a shop without leaving the Facebook page, but there are many more comprehensive options. These options, for example, allow you to link your e-commerce products with your Facebook store.
By doing it this way, you don’t need to update prices and stock after every change you make.
4 External applications for creating your Facebook shop
Just like with the native tool, launching a Facebook store with an external app is not complicated.
We are going to have a look at the 4 best apps available nowadays
in order to link the most popular CMS to Facebook.
1. Facebook for WooCommerce
The same WooThemes team that created the plugin to turn WordPress into an online shop have made it easy for us again.
Their plugin, Facebook for WooCommerce, comes with an easy setup and you can link as many products as you want to the social shop. Once it has been installed and activated, a new option will be shown on the integration tab of your WooCommerce settings.
A settings assistant will guide you through the process of connecting both platforms without any difficulty.
Beetailer is one of our favourite options. Apart of being a very complete and intuitive app, one of the things that we like the most is that it is in Spanish.
However, the best thing is that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg since it has a free version that will allow you to sell up to 30 products.
What if you go crazy selling your products?
For $40 you can get an upgraded version that allows you to sell up to 500 products. Regarding its functionality, besides the listing of products themselves, you can launch campaigns and promotions.
It also has a wide range of statistics you can use to have everything under control. If you already have an e-commerce with Magento, Shopify or Prestashop, it is even easier: you just need to import your products.
Ecwid is another app for selling on Facebook. Like Beetailer, it has a free plan , although it only allows you to sell 10 products.
If you are interested in selling more, you won’t have to pay a lot either. The first plan only costs €15, and with it you can sell up to 100 products (a good number to start trying it out with).
Another interesting characteristic is the fact that it can be integrated within several platforms. Besides being able to install Ecwid on your website or social networks, you will also be able to sell on eBay, Google Shopping, Yahoo, and Shopping.com.
Palbin is another app that is currently making a strong impact in the online shops market. This tool helps you create an online shop with your own domain and later integrate it in Facebook.
You also have the option of including a payment gateway (POS), more images for your products, and a translation of the shop in several languages. The integration plan for Facebook costs €30 per month.
Does having a Facebook store help you sell more?
If you have never had your products displayed on any platform, Facebook is a good way to start, but it is not a long-term solution. If your intention is to make a living out of your e-commerce, just creating a Facebook store is not enough and it will always fall short.
Here you have the reasons:
1. You depend 100% on Facebook
You have to adapt yourself to Facebook, there are no more options. The owners of the platform will set the rules, not you. Everytime they change the algorithm, you will have to change your strategy. Or even worse, what would you do if Facebook disappeared? It may seem to be a remote option, but it is not impossible.
You won’t lose anything by having it, but don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket, or into any other platform or marketplace in which you don’t have complete control.
2. A social network is not a shop
Neither the behavior nor the mentality of people are the same on a social network compared to in a shop.
When you log in to Facebook, your intention is to tell your friends about your holiday or to see the pictures uploaded by your friends. However, when you go to an online shop, you are looking for a product, there is an actual intention of buying and it is more likely that you end up buying.
Facebook is trying to change that perspective bit by bit and the inclusion of shops and the marketplace proof of that. Despite that, they still have quite a lot of work ahead of them.
3. There are few options to personalize your shop
Here again you are limited by the options that the platform offers you. You won’t be able to carry out all those ideas you have to foster your clients ’ loyalty or to improve the user experience because of different limitations that you find along the way.
4. You cannot avoid paying
In order to be able to sell you will have to use its ad system, Facebook Ads , no matter what.
The whole platform is designed for that purpose, as you know, page posts have an ever decreasing reach. If you want to get traffic, you will have to pay.
So, is it worth it to have a Facebook store?
It’s worth it—it can be a really useful way of supporting your e-commerce in which you can focus some of your efforts.
It is even quite recommended for some sector. If you have a textiles e-commerce, being able to tag some of your clothes in different pictures is a huge plus. Users are just one click away from seeing your product and one more from entering your website ready to make a purchase.
For a well-thought-out marketing strategy on social networks, it is almost a must.