Facebook is the world’s largest social network; and whatever anyone may say, Facebook is growing, growing by leaps and bounds. And the growth is not just in the user base but also within Facebook. Facebook is doing everything, whether it is to enhance user experience to attract more businesses or enabling free use of apps, everything that can help widen the nets that Facebook is casting for both businesses and users.
Facebook not only allows businesses to set up user engagement channels effortlessly but also enables them to open shops with nominal stakes and of course, being Facebook, the returns are higher than one can imagine. And setting up an online store on Facebook is not that difficult after all.
Here’s how you can create your own little store on Facebook and even allow users to complete their entire transaction on Facebook itself thus letting you leverage the trust Facebook as a brand has built amongst its users.
- Integrating Facebook Shop with your Online Store: This is for merchants already owning an online store. There are apps available that enable you to pull products from your existing online catalog and list them on Facebook. These apps collate the products and customize a shopping tab on your business page where customers can click to view your products and continue to purchase them. When the customer clicks on buy, he/she is quickly whisked to your existing site where the complete transaction can take place and all your customer data is safely logged in one location. An example of such an app is Beetailer.
- Having an all in one Facebook Store: Don’t have an online store yet? Don’t worry. Many apps let you set up a complete shop on Facebook enabling the customers to complete a transaction without having to leave Facebook at all thus creating a seamless shopping experience. Bigcommerce, Shoptab and Ecwid are examples of some apps that you can use to set up shop. While most of them have free versions available, a small amount is charged as transaction fees (charged per transaction) while some charge a fixed cost every month. These apps let you add products by pulling them either from an existing website or marketplace or uploading a csv file and so on. A customer can complete an entire transaction without ever having to leave Facebook, thus making this a standalone store or sorts.
Setting up store was the easier part. Most apps have a very simple and graphical User Interface that requires absolutely no coding knowledge while putting the store together. The difficult part is to market the store and encourage customers to buy from within Facebook. A lot of the apps listed above come with built in marketing tools and SEO capabilities making it easier for you to market your products outside of Facebook, other social networking sites and even Google.
Facebook offers a monstrous opportunity especially for small business owners and here, bad publicity means bad publicity. To promote your store, try offering discounts or time bound promotions to create a hype, ensure all your links are working as they should and the entire experience for a user with every product feels secure, take advantage of other social features by teaming some promotions with purchases (refer an item); the worst you can do is create a store on Facebook and make it look like one you’d find outside of Facebook!
Article written by: Jennifer L Blair