With the introduction of Facebook/Instagram Shops, which give your customers the ability to find, browse, and purchase products right on social media… it’s left many wondering if they really still need their online store.
1. Ease of Use + Brand Visibility 🔎
It’s easy for your customers to find out where to get a product they like - no more searching through the caption or comments and having to go to your online store. Plus, since this is a new feature for Facebook and Instagram, your products will likely get a boost in visibility compared to the products on your online store that require direct or search traffic to be seen.
2. Shorter Buyer Journey 🙌🏼
Checking out on social-media-based shops shortens the buyer journey and takes away boundaries between seeing your products and purchasing your products, which, in theory, should boost your conversion rate.
3. It Seems Trustworthy for the Customer 🔐
Customers don’t have to click off their trusted social media app to check out, so it feels more secure than a website they might not have visited before.
4. It Saves Customer Info 🗂
Once they make their first purchase on FB/IG, it then saves their info for future checkouts. This, again, removes boundaries before completing their purchase and should help to reduce abandoned carts.
5. Promote & Highlight Multiple Products 📌📌
You can tag up to 5 products per image, or up to 20 products in a carousel image post - meaning you could potentially showcase a “look book” of a whole collection!
6. It Feels Authentic 💁♀️
...Especially if you use user-generated content throughout your feed to show how much other customers love your products.
While there are many benefits to having a Facebook/Instagram Shop, the truth of the matter is - it does not replace your current online store - and there are many reasons you should not get rid of your online store just because you have a Facebook or Instagram shop.
1. Owning vs. Renting 🛍
Arguably the most important reason you still need your online store is the concept of owning versus renting online "property." With your online store, YOU own the property. You own the customer data you’re collecting. You are in control of your inventory, your page URLs, your product descriptions, and how your products are presented. With social-media-based stores (like Facebook/Instagram Shops), you’re essentially “renting” this property. You don’t have control over customer data. You don’t have control over many elements of your store. And your store could be stripped from you at any time if Facebook decides to change their methods, remove the feature, or they feel you’ve gone against any of their policies.
2. Distractions 🤔
With a social-media-based store, you’re among a sea of competitors, which can distract your customers. When a potential customer finds your online store, they are there to browse only your products. When a customer finds your Facebook or Instagram Shop, they’ll likely be presented with “similar products” or they may even be distracted by something else - it is social media after all.
3. Negativity 😩
With social-media-based shops, it’s a lot easier for customers to leave comments and reviews - even if they aren’t necessarily customers. If someone thinks your pricing is too high, you’ll probably get a negative comment. If someone ordered one of your products but is upset with the shipping time, you’re much more likely to get a public review than a private email.
Overall, having a Facebook and/or Instagram Shop is extremely beneficial to your online store - but you shouldn’t consider it a replacement for your existing online store. Our recommendation is to get your online store set up and use that to filter your products into your social media catalogs. That way, your online store is the hub of your business, and the social channels are another marketing and sales platform that can help boost your revenue.
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