How to manage your product portfolio on Facebook and Instagram stores?

 

Online stores and product catalogs on social networks are functionalities that are within reach of any company. An entrepreneur or a small business to a large multinational can start selling their products today through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

The exciting thing about social commerce, and what differentiates it from any other type of e-commerce, is the high level of interaction between the user and the company. The social media ecosystem is interactive by nature. Posts, comments, "likes," shared content, tags, hashtags, among others, are elements that, added to payment processors, shopping carts, and digital catalogs, make buying and selling products online natural, pleasant, and intuitive as it has never been before.

Next, let's describe the social commerce features offered by Facebook and Instagram.

How to sell products on Facebook?

On Facebook, you can use three different functionalities to sell products: stores, catalogs, and the marketplace.

Facebook Shops

Also known as Facebook Shops, they are online stores within the social network that can fulfill two functions:

  • If you have your eCommerce site (outside of Facebook), you can use the store only as a showcase for your items and, from there, redirect interested parties to your eCommerce site, where they will have the option to make purchases.
  • If you do not have your eCommerce site, then you can enable the "Checkout" option in your Facebook Shop, which will allow users to purchase your products within the social network itself.

To create your Facebook Shop, you must go to the Commerce Manager (or Sales Manager) and choose the option "Create a store."

Then, you will have to choose a purchase method among the three available, which are:

  • Finalize purchase on another website (when you have an external eCommerce site).
  • Check out Facebook and Instagram (when you want to purchase within the social network).
  • Checkout with a message (you can buy via Messenger or WhatsApp).

Once you have chosen the purchase mode, you have to link your Facebook business page with the store you are creating. Again, you can use an existing page or create a new one. The same thing you must do with your Facebook business account, you must link an existing one or create a new one.

Finally comes one of the most exciting steps: adding the products.

Product catalogs on Facebook

Facebook catalogs serve to show your audience detailed information of everything you want to offer, which can be from a single product to millions, as well as different kinds of services.

However, the catalog works as a kind of showcase, without any option that allows the direct purchase of products. To enable the purchase option, you have to link the catalog with your Facebook store or the marketplace (also from Facebook and explain later).

In this sense, if you don't want to link the catalog with one of these two resources, you can use it to generate traffic to your external eCommerce site.

That said, to create a catalog, you must go to the "Commerce Manager," select "Create a catalog," and then choose the type of catalog you want to publish based on the products or services you offer in your business.

 

Facebook Marketplace

The Facebook marketplace is a place where any user of the social network can buy and sell products. Its operation is similar to that of the most famous marketplaces, such as Amazon. The person interested in purchasing a product must go to the Facebook marketplace, search for the item of interest, compare the different results of those users who have published the same product for sale, choose the most suitable seller and contact him to process the purchase. 

Moreover, the marketplace is designed only to maximize the reach and discovery of products to facilitate the relationship and communication with your potential customers. However, people cannot process payments on this platform, so you must have an external payment mechanism.

That said, to start publishing products, you must go to the marketplace section, click on "sell items," and then select the type of publication you want to make since each category has its characteristics. 

How to sell products through Instagram?

Instagram is the social network developing and presenting more social commerce options during these pandemic times, intending to help all kinds of businesses, entrepreneurs increasingly, and content creators to sell their products.

In this context, Instagram Shopping has been consolidated, consisting of various functions that you can use to sell products, including digital stores, Instagram Shop, Instagram shopping tags, and badges on Instagram Live.

Digital stores

On May 19, 2020, Instagram announced the functionality of digital stores, which users can access by clicking on the "View shop" button, located just below the description of the accounts that have enabled this feature. Users can visit these stores from the stories and feed.

Each digital store is a showcase where the publications occupy the entire screen, thus offering a more immersive experience as users explore your product collections.

The process of creating a digital store on Instagram is similar to creating a store on Facebook, so much of the setup will be through Facebook's Commerce Manager. 

Instagram Shop

This functionality should not be confused with the digital store, which we explained in the previous point, as each has different features.

The Instagram Shop feature was introduced on July 16, 2020, and is a shopping in-app where users can browse and receive product recommendations based on the profiles they already follow.

For your products to appear on Instagram Shop, you need to open a digital store on Instagram, create collections of your products and tag them in the content you post. This way, the contents with the labeled products will start appearing in Instagram Shop.

Shopping tags

Shopping tags serve to highlight the products that appear in your content, whether you publish them in the feed, stories, advertisements, etc. By doing so, these tagged contents can also appear in the Instagram Shop section. In this way, people get to know your products better and even buy them directly on the platform through the buy without leaving the Instagram feature, which works like Facebook Pay (although this feature is only available in the United States).

 

Badges on Instagram Live

The company allows the use of badges functionality on Instagram Live, through which you can sell products during live broadcasts you make on Instagram Live. However, this feature is still in the process of expansion. It is only enabled for some specific brands and will be available to all countries in the future.