Facebook announced it's rolling out Facebook Shops for e-commerce. What are they and why should small businesses get excited?

What is E-commerce?

E-commerce is selling or buying products online, through an online shop. The entire buying process takes place online, including payment. (Think buying clothes from H&M’s website, or office supplies from Office Depot.)

Normally, e-commerce happens through a website; a business builds a website with a shop built into it and uploads their products to it.

What are Facebook Shops?

Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that Facebook was rolling out Facebook Shops, which will allow businesses to create e-commerce stores inside of Facebook and Instagram. Instead of “switching [from the app] to a slow mobile web browser where you have to reenter your credit card,” customers will be able to buy directly inside Facebook or Instagram.

Facebook Shops open up huge possibilities for small business owners who don’t have the resources to invest in an e-commerce website. Building a website is an investment, and it can boost small business sales immensely to have not just a free option, but one connected to your Facebook or Instagram business page, where you already have followers and visibility.

E-commerce is especially key during COVID-19, when lockdowns and distancing are forcing businesses to turn to online services. Facebook Shops can help keep small businesses afloat until the pandemic eases.

How to Set Up a Facebook Shop

If you have a Facebook page for your business (which you should), you can set up a Facebook Shop easily and for free. You do have to sell physical items.

To add a shop...

  • You must use a desktop computer
  • Select the Shop tab on your business’ Facebook Page
  • If you don't see this tab, you may need to change the template of your Page to a shopping template.
  • Once you go to this tab, follow the prompts for building your store
  • Click Finish and you are ready to add products!

Once you’ve created your shop, upload your products, choose some “featured products,” and then add a cover image for your product.

Why You Should Still Build a Website

Even with all the benefits of Facebook Shops, it’s still important to invest in a full e-commerce website when you can. Having a dedicated website for your business validates your business and makes you look more professional.

You can more easily incorporate your branding and set up your store to your tastes and specifications. It also allows customers who aren’t on Facebook or don’t want to use Shops to buy from you. Probably most importantly, you can do SEO for an e-commerce website, but not for a Facebook Shop.

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S-FX.com Small Business Solutions is a boutique web design and technology consulting agency geared towards start-up businesses, small businesses and non-profit businesses.  We specialize in implementing low cost technology solutions to maximize efficiency and reduce business operating costs.