6 Strategies For Getting Started with Facebook and Instagram Shops to Propel Holiday Success

Many business owners are ready to skip the holidays altogether and jump straight into 2023. Whether due to supply chain turbulence or a particularly fickle labor market, countless variables forced many of our clients to adapt to what appeared to be 2022’s one and only constant—change. 

Last year, eCommerce was booming. But we witnessed a small but significant reversal in 2022, from 16.3% growth in 2021 to 12.2% this year. With Covid-related restrictions relaxed, this year’s consumers preferred services and experiences over physical goods and products.

But this taught retailers something important: when you’re in the business of selling merchandise, you can’t afford to host a clunky buying experience. You need online home bases that obliterate each barrier in your customer’s journey, from encountering your product to clicking “purchase.” We had a chance to sit in on Meta’s Shop Summit and also participate in their Shop Ads beta program. Which begs the question: does Meta’s new Shop platform make the cut? In my view, absolutely.  

Facebook Shops: How They Work, and Why They Stand Out in the Marketplace

There’s plenty of debate surrounding Meta, both as a tech juggernaut and for its profitability as a marketing tool. Sure, the platform still touts the broadest usership and the highest traffic, but how does Meta keep brands from drowning in the echo chamber of that 2.7 billion user-strong cacophony?

According to Meta Commerce and FinTech head Stephanie Kasriel, they’ve historically done it in three primary ways:

  1. Taking advantage of machine learning and automation to make customer purchase routes even smoother
  2. Enhancing cross-channel optimization by retrieving more resilient data about shoppers’ wants and needs
  3. Using Shop ads to create a cleaner, frictionless customer pathway to your online storefront

Even so, businesses know the past year brought some weighty changes that will inevitably affect how Shops function. But Meta is building these tools to help you get in front of more people, improve the customer journey and back up product discovery success on the platform.

2022 started with a spate of legislation that created a considerably colder climate for brands, clamping down on consumer privacy and restricting brands from retrieving user data. In a post-cookie world (to the dismay of Mr. Claus), Meta’s still an ally, but businesses need more proactive strategies for understanding their target audience better. 

My approach would be to start using Facebook’s new Shops and Shop ads effectively to iron out kinks in customers’ journeys—and there’s no better time to do it than before the holidays. 

6 Strategies For Getting Started with Facebook and Instagram Shops to Propel Success This Season

The holidays are one of the busiest times of the commercial year, and consumers are already buffeted by externalities that introduce friction to their buying experience. (For example: Will these boxers be delivered on time for gift wrapping? How do you gift wrap boxers? Does Dave even wear boxers?)

For brands, this isn’t extra noise to cleave through—it’s an opportunity. 

It means the value you offer customers extends beyond the product itself: the buying experience you provide your customer is as valuable as the product. And since 73% of consumers discover products they later buy on Meta platforms, creating that seamless, invaluable purchase experience starts with Meta Shop Ads and Shops.

Ramping up to EOY, we’re recommending our clients prioritize setting up your Facebook Shop and Instagram Shop now. Once you’re ready for your grand opening, these are some of the tactics you’ll want to deploy to drive success into the new year.

#1 Make Your Facebook Shop Sparkle

Fall is the time to start experimenting with “window dressing” your Shop, with the same level of rigor you’d devote to your website.  There are countless elements to play with, like:

  • Layout
  • Photography
  • Ad copy
  • Emojis
  • Product bundles
  • Including user-generated content (UGC)

What’s to be gained by leveling up your Facebook shop’s look? 

51% of businesses saw an uptick in conversion. They also observed a tremendous groundswell of engagement from customers that weren’t previously engaged, with 70% of businesses adding brand-new customers to their audience.

#2 Double Down on Analytics

At this time of year, your primary objective should be ensuring your creative and analytic agenda work in lockstep. Treat Meta’s Commerce Manager as your motherboard. To take advantage of Meta’s customer insights, you’ll need to:

  • Audit all existing content to ensure your product tags match the content at hand (and that ensure future posts deploy them as well)
  • Work with your marketing team to ensure you have a rigorous plan in place for regularly reviewing engagement rates
  • Comparing product-tagged vs. untagged content to gauge engagement

As you’re experimenting with all of these variables—content, product pairings, partnerships, and so on—ensure your team is testing at scale, and leaving experiments that aren’t dialing in engagement by the wayside.

#3 Align Content to Customer

Because you’re providing an experience as much as a product, not all of the content displayed on your Shops must revolve around a product itself. It’s vital to take time to consider your customer’s circumstances—what other information, inspiration, or advice would assuage their pain points or enhance their experience?

Overall, people today want a customized and convenient shopping experience. For enterprises and marketers, this means prioritizing three values in the journeys we support:

  • Fostering an engaging shopping experience
  • Clearing a frictionless path from discovery to purchase
  • Accommodating customer’s own terms

One of the simplest ways to build relationships with customers is to enable email Opt-Ins through Meta. Not only does this keep your brand top of mind and you build your email list, but it clears another avenue for providing content to support their experience and learn more about them. 

Holiday gift guides, fresh product bundles, and refer-a-friend programs can all incentivize purchases in perpetuity.

#4 Spotlight Customer Reviews

Almost 9 out of 10 consumers sift through reviews before going all-in on a purchase. If your website or storefront isn’t already designed to highlight user-generated content (UGC), work with your creative team to keep them front and center (or at least easily accessible). 

Any customer reviews you spotlight should be:

  • Written clearly
  • Free of spelling or grammatical errors
  • Informative and authentic
  • Ideally, compelling to read

Remember, many people judge companies by their existing customers as much as the products or services they provide. After all, if they didn’t, how could influencer culture exist?

#5 Create A Comprehensive Engagement Plan

Fostering engagement in your Meta Shop is crucial, but ensuring the relationships you build flourish takes place beyond that platform.

Before the holidays hit, work with your internal team to create a “connect to customer journey.” According to Meta, people who received a response within 24 hrs were 50% more likely to purchase. Your monitoring and response team ensures accountability and a clear architecture for fielding customer Q&As as soon as they come in (I always recommend within 1 business day, if possible).

Remember, during the holidays, time is of the essence. The more accessible, approachable, and warm your customer service staff can be, the more value you’ll add to your customers’ experience (and, by extension, their purchase).

#6 Test Shop Ads (if eligible and available)

We’ve been invited to Facebook Shop Ads beta program where we had the privilege of getting to explore this new ad format first hand. Shop Ads are a new way to send people to where they are most likely to convert whether that is your website or your shop in order to maximize business outcomes. It is said to shorten the path to purchase but we’ve seen inconsistent success so it is important to first set up your Facebook and Instagram Shops and then test Shop Ads with various product sets. Many customers have seen great successes on average 16% lower CPA for dynamic ads and 23% lower CPA static ads.

As of this writing, Shop Ads are not available to all ad accounts and they are only available with select eCommerce platforms. Check to see if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Gear Up for The Holiday Market with Liberty Interactive

Even though 2022 was a tough year for retailers overall, eCommerce’s growth continues to be stratospheric, and digital ad spend is the highest (by fivefold) it’s been in 10 years. And while the competition is tough (so much for that holiday cheer), there is more than enough room for growth—if brands can strategically leverage social shopping platforms as they roll out.

Meta Shops show that Facebook remains one of the most wide-reaching, intelligent, and friction-free portals for engaging and converting customers online—and, in my opinion, it’s one of the biggest gifts your brand could receive this holiday season. 

If you’re ready to take advantage of social shopping, Liberty Interactive wants to help you stand out in the digital marketplace. Start paving your path to success in 2023 by reaching out to us today.

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