(This post was originally published on November 25, 2014. We’ve updated it for accuracy and completeness.)
20% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Facebook.
With more shoppers looking to buy on social media sites like Facebook, eCommerce platforms like Shopify are taking note. They’re make it easier to set up shop on Facebook and integrate it with their webstore.
A few years ago, Shopify released an app called Shopify Facebook Store that allows merchants to set up a fully integrated store on Facebook. Expanding your selling to social media sites can be an excellent tactic to increase traffic to your regular webstore, improve engagement with Facebook fans, and increase your sales.
But, selling on Facebook may not be a tactic that everyone should use.
In this post we’ll dive into how the Shopify Facebook app could help your business, and why you should (and shouldn’t) consider using it.
Benefits of a Shopify Facebook Store
There are three main ways a Shopify Facebook Store can help you build your business. Consider which one is most important in your overall strategy.
- Increase brand awareness using typical social indicators (likes, shares, promotions, etc.).
- Increase sales by putting your products where your customers already are. 20% of U.S. retail shoppers said Facebook led them to buy a new product/service online.
- Create an online store with fewer resources and less time than building out a custom webstore.
It isn’t a good idea to seek all of these benefits equally. You should prioritize them and focus on what you consider as most important. And, remember what is best for your competitor may not be best for you.
Questions You Should Ask
If you’re considering adding a Facebook store to your multichannel retail operations, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you already have a webstore? If so, think about the impact a Facebook Store will have. Will you be distracting your customers from your main webstore or will you be opening yourself to new markets?
If you don’t have a webstore yet, what is your long-term strategy? Creating a Facebook Store can be a low friction way to get started, but what about the future? Where do you want to be one
It’s important to consider the difference between an “owned” and “rented” web properties. If you build your own website, that’s an “owned” property. You call the shots. You decide the strategic direction.
A Facebook page is “rented” (even if it’s free). If Facebook decides they want to shut you down for any reason, that’s their prerogative. Maybe they decide to disable Facebook pages for strategic reasons. Maybe they want to start charging $1000/month for one. Neither are likely, but the point is the same. You don’t own your Facebook store. You are at their mercy.
When considering your long-term strategy, I do not recommend you build a company on borrowed land. Eventually you’ll need to focus on your own web property. That said, a Facebook store could have some significant tactical and/or short-term benefits.
What is your goal for Facebook? Are you trying to increase sales or increase awareness of your brand? A Facebook store can remove barriers to sales (your customer doesn’t even need to leave Facebook). It can also distract them, if you’re trying to ultimately bring them to your website. Be clear about your intentions.
Is the Shopify Facebook Store the best approach for you? Shopify is fully integrated with Facebook so product details, images, and inventory sync automatically with Shopify, much like how nChannel helps you integrate Shopify with your other sales channels.
What other channels are you selling in? If you have a webstore, that’s another channel. What about marketplaces like Amazon or eBay? Do you have brick-and-mortar stores? Like any facet of your multichannel retail operation, your Facebook store will not live in a vacuum. Consider the overall strategy.
Getting Started with a Shopify Facebook Store
Creating your new Shopify Facebook Store is relatively easy, especially if you’re already familiar with Shopify. Look at this quick reference for the necessary steps to set up a Shop on your Facebook Page. Briefly, it looks about like this.
First, check out their Facebook app page on Shopify’s marketplace. Pick the pricing plan that fits you best. Your Shopify Facebook Store can cost as little as $9/month.
Once logged in to Shopify, connect your Facebook account to create the tab on your Facebook page.
Load your product data and use Shopify how you otherwise would (including setting up payment and fulfillment options).
Whether you are a new business, trying to get off the ground quickly, or you are trying to expand what you’ve already built, there is very little friction.
Consider the Future
The long-term benefit of using Shopify, with or without Facebook, is that it gives you a platform for building your business in the future. There’s an eclectic marketplace of apps for improving how you use Shopify. It’s also a highly familiar, highly supported platform.
Be sure to consider what happens when you become successful. You’re going to expand. You’ll likely add new channels. You’ll need to start using platforms like an ERP or start implementing advanced fulfillment options, like drop shipping.
You won’t be able to ride Shopify alone the entire way there.
Continue to Improve Your Shopify Store
Check out these articles on how to further improve your Shopify webstore.
- 3 Ways to Integrate NetSuite with Shopify
- How to Choose a Shopify-ERP Solution
- Top 5 Shopify Shipping Apps
- Shopify Multiple Stores: How to Overcome Common Challenges
- Shopify’s Import Product Features: Why It Falls Short for Multichannel Merchants
- How to Find and Sell Wholesale Products on Shopify
- 5 Shopify SEO Problems & Tips To Solve Them
For even more articles about Shopify, click the “Shopify” tag link below to see a full list.