02 June 2020

Facebook Shops: it’s time to start thinking about the full purchase funnel

Extracts from this article originally appeared in Econsultancy here

In the last couple of years Facebook has been increasing its commerce activities by rolling out Instagram Checkouts, Facebook Live and WhatsApp for Business. But the current pandemic has accelerated its efforts to consolidate its commerce offering with the launch of Facebook Shops.

What is Facebook Shops?

Its announcement said ‘Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase their brand. This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them’.

Simultaneously, Facebook is also launching a universal product recognition model that uses AI to identify consumer goods, from furniture to fast fashion to fast cars. It’s the first step toward a future where the products in every image on its site can be identified and potentially shopped for. “We want to make anything and everything on the platform shoppable, whenever the experience feels right,” Manohar Paluri, Head of Applied Computer Vision at Facebook explained to The Verge.

The full purchase funnel

Facebook and Instagram have always been powerful discovery and engagement platforms that have traditionally been used by brands and agencies to focus on top or mid-funnel activities. But now, there is a huge opportunity to link it to conversion activities, all inside the same platform.

Historically, ATL activity that would build awareness and visibility would be separate from more conversion led tactics. Yet, in today’s challenging environment, it has never been more important to ensure media and demand-led sales objectives are closely linked. Brands should now aspire to have a full purchase funnel in each channel by making every destination shoppable.

Working with shoppable media tech partners

Indeed, this is now possible with shoppable media tech partners like SeenThis, Shopalyst and Adimo. These partnerships allow brands to go one step further in understanding consumer preferences and shopping behaviour beyond the click-through. This technology combined with retail and affiliate partnerships can create a full purchase journey on a non-DTC channel, which previously had been a challenge because of walled gardens.

For brands who have a DTC platform, they can now attribute every single £ spent on driving traffic to this channel to purchase. In fact, they can connect journeys from Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp, allowing customers to browse and purchase in their desired platform.

Getting the infrastructure right

To make this feasible however, brands need to have the necessary infrastructure in place, like a Digital Asset Management (DAM) or Product Information Management (PIM) system, content syndication partners, payment solutions and assets to suit the Storefronts. These tech solutions are now part of an intricate ecosystem, and brands must manage it in-house or through a partner. Without these solutions, success in DTC is difficult.

Delivering personalised journeys with consistent content 

We know that more and more consumers expect seamless and highly personalised journeys across all the channels and devices they browse on. Brands therefore need to ensure they are consistent with their product content and ensure images are fit for purpose across multiple devices and channels. Additionally, they need to ensure consumers can complete the journey in the same channel as often as possible.

So, whilst Facebook’s current focus is small businesses, bigger brands also need to act now to get their content, assets and processes in shape, to reach and understand their audiences better, in this evolving channel.

Saradha Sethuraman, eCommerce Business Director, OMG Transact

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