One of the best ways for indie retailers to market their products on Facebook and Instagram is through shoppable social media posts. 

But Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, has recently announced a change to how these posts function—and it’s definitely going to affect both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce store owners. 

Let’s review the basics of shoppable social media posts, then dive into this change and how it will impact your retail business going forward. 

What is a Shoppable Social Media Post?

Shoppable content includes clickable ads, videos, images, and social media posts from which customers can make a purchase. 

On Facebook and Instagram, shoppable social media posts have a white dot on them. You’ll see information about a specific product when you tap the dot. If you click on the information that pops up, it will take you to shop and buy the product. 

For many indie retailers, shoppable social media posts send customers directly to our website and our checkout system.

The Three Steps to Creating a Shoppable Social Media Post

In case you’ve not created shoppable posts for your business before, here are the general steps.

1. Synce Your Commerce Catalog

First, you sync your e-commerce shop’s inventory with Meta. The process is slightly different depending on if you use Shopify, Square, or another point-of-sale system. 

2. Tag Your Products

Once you’ve synced your inventory, Meta creates a commerce catalog for your shop that you can use on Instagram and Facebook. 

Then, you can “tag” products from your e-commerce store in your social media posts. Meta will pull the information from your commerce catalog and add that information to the small pop-up that appears when a customer clicks on the white dot on the post. 

3. Followers Click Your Tagged Products

Once a product is tagged, then customers on social media can click on your post or the shop now button on your profile. 

When you go through these steps, you can also choose where customers complete their purchases. Most indie retailers choose to send customers to their website so they can check out through their shop. This increases website traffic and shows customers our site. The other option is for customers to checkout on Meta’s platform. 

Why Shoppable Social Media Posts Are Beneficial

Shoppable social media posts are beneficial for both retailers and customers! These posts are beneficial because they…

  • Meet customers where they are: for most retailers, our customers are on social media—especially on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Are convenient and intuitive: the easier it is to shop, the more customers will buy! Shoppable posts are convenient and easy to use with their intuitive interface.
  • Increase website traffic: not only do we get more eyes on our website with these shoppable posts, but the Facebook Pixel captures data about those customers, too. 
  • Improve the customer service and experience we offer: tagged posts help us answer common questions. The person viewing the post and tapping on the dot can see a price and description of the item, and if they click for more information, they can easily access the dimensions, color, style, and more. 
  • Increase customer loyalty: because these posts are so easy to shop from, customers are more likely to return and shop from us again in the future. 
  • Increase revenue: last but not least, many independent retail store owners in our community have been getting sales and converting lookers into buyers with shoppable social media posts.

What’s Changing With Shoppable Posts in 2023?

Meta recently announced that starting as soon as August 2023, they will begin forcing checkout on their platform only. Retailers will no longer have the option of directing customers to their website or checkout software. 

This change goes into effect in August 2023 for new shops and April 2024 for existing shops. 

In other words, shoppable posts on Instagram and Facebook will no longer send customers to our websites. They’ll have to check out on Meta’s platform. And if we want to continue to provide this convenience to our customers while shopping on social media, we’ll have to set up checkout with Meta. 

Meta will, of course, take a transaction fee—and unfortunately, it’s much higher than the typical transaction fee taken by Shopify or Square. Meta’s transaction fee will be 5%, while both Shopify and Square charge between 2.4% and 3.3% depending on which plan you choose.

Additionally, it’s not clear how shipping, shipping label creation, or local pickup options will work with Meta’s checkout option. 

I don’t even want to mention the frustration, hours of research, and effort some of you have put into getting shoppable posts to work! I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve seen in Master Shopkeepers on this topic.

I have so many questions. And to be honest, I am more frustrated than usual about an announcement like this. Meta’s announcement email stated that “checkout on Facebook and Instagram will make it easier for shoppers to discover, browse and buy from your business without leaving the app.” And while that may be true, it definitely won’t make things easier for small business owners. 

Are Shoppable Social Media Posts Still Worth it for Indie Retailers?

I usually roll with the punches on these kinds of changes. And I completely understand a business making a business-focused decision! But I am concerned about how this will affect indie retail business owners.

And who knows, maybe Meta IS creating a shopping ecosystem that will support small business owners. But honestly, that’s to be determined.

I have until April 2024 to decide if I’ll set up Meta checkout or if I go back to the old-school way of selling when we didn’t have shoppable posts.

I also recently received an email about syncing our Shopify navigation menu with our Meta shop. So I’m guessing Meta is going to continue to add “benefits” or features to make it enticing to make the switch. But the jury is still out for me.

Resources

Timestamps

  • [01:02] What is a Shoppable Social Media Post?
  • [01:48] The Three Steps to Creating a Shoppable Social Media Post
  • [04:11] Why Shoppable Social Media Posts Are Beneficial
  • [07:43] What’s Changing With Shoppable Posts in 2023?
  • [11:54] Are Shoppable Social Media Posts Still Worth it for Indie Retailers?

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