Written by: Danielle Gazda
E-commerce in social media apps has come a long way in the last couple of years. Online shopping in this form was inevitable, but it developed much more quickly than most people expected. The pandemic forced people to stay in their homes and created a demand for more ways to shop online — it also opened a range of possibilities for retailers.
Based on Black Friday and Cyber Monday trends of recent years, online shopping is becoming more and more popular. Making purchases is even easier now that people can shop directly in commonly used social media apps.
Meta’s apps, Instagram and Facebook, have been at the forefront of e-commerce. Facebook even had a leg up with its Marketplace feature, which allowed any individual to sell products or resell items. Instagram and Facebook Shops, however, are more geared toward businesses. Thanks to algorithms that look at what customers are interested in, these shops have helped small businesses gain followers and sales, with or without paid advertising.
Your business can create e-commerce shops today!
Instagram & Facebook
Since these apps are both part of Meta, their commerce policies, community guidelines, and fees are the same. Setting up a shop on either platform is free and done primarily through the Commerce Manager on your company’s Facebook page.
When you set up your e-commerce shop, you will choose whether your customers will check out through the apps or if they will be sent to your website. There are pros and cons to both.
The major pro to in-app checkout is that customers will be more likely to complete a purchase. As people are pulled to websites outside of an app, often they stop and don’t buy. Even if they do browse the website, they are less likely to complete a purchase than if they could just buy through Instagram or Facebook.
The con is that there are fees involved with choosing to do checkout through Facebook and Instagram. While the fees are not ridiculously high, you may want to reduce any money loss if you have a small business. Whichever app a purchase is made in, Meta gets 5% of the total purchase per shipment. There is also an established flat fee of 40 cents if a purchase is $8 or less. (These fees are being waived through June 30, 2022, to help small businesses post-pandemic. It is unknown if this will be extended.)
It is also important to know Meta’s Commerce Policies and Community Guidelines about what businesses are permitted to sell through the apps. There are some restrictions. As an example, companies that sell CBD or marijuana-related products will not be able to sell through the apps.
TikTok & Pinterest
TikTok is in the e-commerce game with its shopping feature now available in most countries. It also presents the option of in-app checkout or website checkout. Fees of 1% to 5% could apply, which seems to be based on where the buyer is located. It would be safe to assume that the standard is 5%, as it is with Instagram and Facebook. If you choose not to create a shop on TikTok, you can still provide a link to your website in your bio.T
Pinterest does not have in-app purchases but is still extremely popular with shoppers. You can link to items or your website directly in the Pins you make. Many people peruse Pinterest for inspiration, and with a business account, you can tag up to 25 items in a single Pin. This is extremely popular for fashion and furniture/homeware sites because you can tag each individual item that you think customers can buy.
Choosing to set up e-commerce shops in popular social media apps is a great idea. It generates more exposure, allows you to tag products directly in your posts, and provides an in-app catalog for potential customers to browse without leaving the app. Whether you choose to do checkout within the apps or through your website, you’ll still be on the right track. You can also pair shops with paid advertising or boosted organic content. This may be beneficial to help garner that early exposure — but do it sparingly so you don’t spread your budget too thin.
E-commerce is the way of the future. So get your foot in the door now.
Contact us to help you get started on your e-commerce journey.