Yesterday, (22nd June 2021) Mark Zuckerberg has announced some fresh new changes coming that will present major opportunity for brands that are quick to act.
In this blog post we will highlight each of these new changes, and, whilst these have been kept brief so far by Zuck, we will be detailing our thoughts on these, and what they could mean specifically for e-commerce brands.
Feature 1: Instagram Visual Search.
“Helps you discover products based on images that inspire you (I’ll use it to find more grey t-shirts)”
In our eyes this is an update which probably solidifies Facebook’s position when it comes to creating a more engaging shopping experience on Instagram. A platform of late which has allowed brands to be uncovered by being fine tuned to a user’s interests, and utilising the ‘explore’ and ‘shop’ areas of the platform.
Zuck hasn’t eluded to much here on exactly how this feature will play out, however if there is an integration whereby users can find products similar to an image they have found, and perhaps a ‘look’ they are seeking to replicate when it comes to fashion, then this could be huge for brand discovery.
Feature 2: Shops on Marketplace: “More than 1 billion people use Marketplace each month, so we’re making it easy for businesses to bring their Shops into Marketplace to reach even more people.”
Again, a great way of developing the current Marketplace feature within Facebook to be more user friendly, whilst also allowing brands to be discovered once again. This has had it’s fair share of negative comments of late, and this still remains an under leveraged area of the platform for both Facebook and brands alike.
Right now, Marketplace is a second hand thrift shop, dominated by users selling their cars, right through to random household items for pennies, so not the right avenue for most when it comes to e-commerce strategy.
For us, this elevated way of curating Shops on Marketplace could allow the smaller brick & mortar, traditional retail outlets to step into the online world in a more seamless fashion if they have found the likes of Shopify and a more strategic play when it comes to e-commerce being too difficult to get traction with. It could allow small companies with low volume stock to do what eBay did with SME’s.
3. Shops on WhatsApp.
“Soon you’ll be able to view a Shop in WhatsApp so you can chat with a business before buying something. Businesses only need to set up their shop once to have it work across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.”
Most definitely the update in which we are taking most note of. If this is rolled out ahead of Q4, this could make for a considerable strategy when it comes to customer nurture, and decreasing abandoned carts for the peak buying phase of the year.
If you have an SMS strategy in place already, or better yet have a live chat system in place which works in tandem with this, the WhatsApp Shops feature could elongate this into new levels.
Oh, and this also means something else to us: ADS!
You can bet that this feature will allow your brand to be advertised on the WhatsApp platform, with direct links for consumers to speak with you directly, there and then. If Facebook gets this one right, it could be huge for e-commerce.