Last week, Shopify and Facebook announced an exciting partnership with the revealing of Facebook Shops.
While Facebook Page Shops has been available for some time, it lacked a deep integration with Shopify. Most notably, the two solutions were unable to synchronize products, inventory, and payments. If we wanted to run a Facebook Page Shop, we would need add products to it manually and manage it's inventory separately. Obviously, this is less than ideal.
Enter Facebook Shops
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many small stores facing uncertain futures (meanwhile Amazon and Wal-Mart are absolutely crushing it), Shopify and Facebook realized it's more important than ever to help small businesses get their products in front of their customers. With this offering, Facebook Shops can automatically list Products, Collections, images, and inventory information from Shopify automatically and allow customers to shop for and purchase right from Facebook. We were excited when we heard about this, so we quickly began working through the process of enabling our Facebook Shops sales channel.
Enabling our Facebook ShopThe process of enabling the Facebook Shop was fairly straightforward, with only one page of instructions required to get it moving. After we clicked all of the required buttons, we buckled up for a review period of up to 48 hours. Happily (and surprisingly!), the approval took less than an hour. That was easy!
Publishing Products to the Facebook Shop
On the administrative side, all of our products belong to at least one Collection ("New", Florals, Sweet/Fruity, Warm/Spicy, etc.). Publishing a Product to our Facebook Shop was as straightforward as marking them as available for sale on that sales channel. But we found another happy surprise: Facebook synchronizes your Shopify product Collections as "Sets" and also allows for fine-tuned editing of a given Collection's availability on your Facebook Shop. This allows us to fine-tune specific collections specifically for our Facebook Shop. Yay!
Two Manageable Downsides
At the time of writing, there are couple small downsides with the integration.
Collection synchronizing is quite slow. Changes to available Collections – or products within a Collection – took up to 20 minutes to be represented in our Facebook Shop. If your like me, and rely on a bit of rapid iteration (read: trial and error), waiting for this syncing to finish is certainly an adjustment. These sync times will almost surely decrease as the integration matures.
Second, while you can specify the order in which your Collections appear on your Facebook Shop, there is no way of sorting or organizing Products within a Collection. To be honest, we're not sure how the those products are currently sorted. This could be an issue if you wanted to feature new products within a larger collection that has some older products.
We Want To Be Where You Are!
As a business owner, any opportunity you have to spread out the availability of your products without increasing overhead is a major win. Shopify's Facebook Shops integration helps do that in a big way and we're excited to see what the future holds for it.
Be sure to check out the shop and as always, thank you for supporting your local small businesses. <3