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E-commerce on social media: Will social media shops overtake e-commerce sites?

Social media might have started off as a spot to make friends and keep in touch with your loved ones, but it has gone through massive transformation in the past decade. The impact social media has had in our everyday lives is undeniable and this can be demonstrated by how businesses use platforms to reach and engage with their customers.

Social media has forever changed marketing by giving businesses an easily accessible and affordable way to connect directly with customers and build long-lasting relationships. Even small businesses can successfully compete with bigger corporations as long as they implement the right strategies.

As social media platforms continue to evolve to cater to the modern customer, e-commerce features such as Facebook Shops are gaining traction. Social media has always been an integral component for e-commerce as it’s an effective way to drive traffic to your website.

Now, platforms are giving businesses an even better opportunity to showcase their products and take their followers through the entire customer journey right from their social pages.

How Facebook Shops work

Shops (short for Facebook Shops) allow your business to develop a digital storefront across all of Facebook’s family of apps (ie WhatsApp Business, Messenger, Instagram etc). You can create a customised shopping section where your followers can browse your featured products. From there, one can save the products they’re interested in and place an order.

Your followers will be able get support, track deliveries, ask questions and more through Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct when in Shops. Facebook also plans to allow users to make purchases right within these chats in the future.

This feature was introduced as a way to help businesses sell online since most brick and mortar shops have been closed for the past months. Although all kinds of businesses can benefit from this feature, it was especially targeted for small businesses. This is because Shops is free, convenient and easy to develop.

A small number of businesses that had already been using Page Shops were transitioned to Facebook Shops this past May. Facebook is now expanding this new feature so that more businesses around the world can use it.

Facebook Shops Vs Facebook Page Shop & Instagram Shopping

Facebook Shops are essentially an upgrade to Page Shops and Instagram Shopping. These two are how several businesses are able to use Facebook and Instagram for e-commerce currently.

With a Facebook Business Page, you can set up a Facebook Page shop where you list the products you’re selling. Instagram shopping on the other hand allows you to have a similar storefront as Shops where people get to explore your best products. It additionally allows you to add product tags and stickers on your posts and stories respectively. These are used to direct users to a description page where they can find information such as the price and point of purchase for the product from your post.

Why should you leverage social media as a marketplace?

If there’s been a lesson to learn from the rapid changes of social media technologies, it’s that those early adoption yields high rewards. Shopping on social media as a ‘shop’ may soon be the new normal especially when these features become accessible to businesses across the globe. Now is the time to strategise how you can make use of your social media pages as a sort of mini e-commerce site.

Even though you can’t yet make use of all these features, it’s quite clear they have strong advantages:

  • Conversions: With points of purchase readily available on your social media pages, you are able to make your followers customers. You can guide them from the point of interest with inspiring posts that grab their attention.

  • Fast and convenient customer service: Your followers being able to make inquiries then purchase their desired products all on the same platform is a great advantage. You can offer immediate support and help customers make the right purchase decisions.

  • Personalised experiences: Facebook’s e-commerce features will be personalised to your follower’s preferences. Products in your shop will be prioritised according to the customer’s interests. For example, if a customer showed interest in an item but didn’t end up buying it, that’s what will be prioritised in their display.

  • Insights: The capability to track and measure the data obtained from your pages is one of the greatest advantages of social media. You will similarly be able to see how your followers interact with your products. Views, clicks, purchases, queries – all this data will be available to you to aid in your decision-making as a business-owner.

  • Customised shops: Facebook Shops will enable you to customise your shop and group your products into collections. These collections will have a name, cover image or video and a description. Categorising your products into a single theme will make it easier for your followers to find what suits them. You can also customise the look and feel of your shop with a cover image and colours that showcase your brand identity


Social media might already be a major shopping destination for several consumers, but these Facebook features are bound to create even more opportunities for businesses on social platforms. Facebook alone is already working on releasing even more shopping capabilities for business pages such as Instagram Shop and Live Shopping in the near future.

As you plan to diversify your e-commerce channels, just remember a shop on your social media page is useless if the page itself can’t attract followers. With our strong social media intelligence, we can help you elevate your social media pages and get the right engagements.


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