Social commerce is growing faster than ever.
Almost 1 in 5 social media users have made a purchase via Facebook in the past year. Another 11% have purchased through Instagram.
(It’s no wonder why the U.S. social commerce market is projected to reach $84.2 billion in 2024, accounting for 7.8% of all retail sales.)
Facebook, which also owns Instagram, is evolving to capture that spend. They’ve created virtual storefronts for their social media users to shop without leaving their app. Users can view, browse, and buy products without visiting a retailer’s website.
Curious how this impacts your business?
In this guide, we’ll share:
- How to set-up a Facebook Shop
- How to set-up Instagram Shopping
- How to choose which is best for your business
- 5 ways to help you grow using Facebook and Instagram Shops
What are Facebook Shops?
A Facebook Shop is a virtual storefront that’s visible to people visiting your Facebook Business Page.
You’ll have a “Shop” tab on your profile to showcase your products and services. Followers of that Page (and anyone browsing it) can use the Shop tab to view your products and buy items without visiting your site:
Alongside a special tab on your Page, Facebook Shops integrate with Facebook Marketplace—a feature used by 1 in 3 U.S. Facebook users each month. You can show sponsored products in the Marketplace tab, reaching people already in the mood to shop.
While Facebook Shops is a relatively new feature, it’s just the start of Facebook’s eCommerce domination. You’ll soon be able to view a business’ Facebook Shop and make purchases from WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram direct messages.
What is Instagram Shopping?
Instagram Shopping is similar to Facebook Shopping. It works by uploading a product catalog to your business’ Instagram profile; giving followers an easy way to shop your products without leaving the Instagram app.
The main difference is that your products will also be shown on the “Shopping” tab in Instagram’s app (in the same spot as “notifications” used to be):
The Shops feature helps you reach the 60% of people who say they discover new products on Instagram. You can reach new people even if they don’t follow your Instagram page.
How to set-up Facebook and Instagram Shopping
Want to take advantage of these new shopping features? Make sure you’ve got the right things to get started.
For Facebook Shops, you’ll need permission to manage:
- The Facebook Page to host the Shop on
- A Business Manager account
- Access to the product catalog, tied to the Page itself
For Instagram Shops, you’ll need permission to manage:
- The Business Manager account
- The Facebook Page
- The Instagram account you’re hosting the Shop on
Once you have all of those, sign into Facebook’s Commerce Manager and press the “Create Your Shop” option.
Next, choose how customers will checkout products from your Shop. The easiest option is to checkout with Facebook or Instagram, but you can also direct customers to your website or checkout using Messenger/WhatsApp:
Then, choose the Page you want to create a Shop for.
The following screen will ask you to choose the products you want to sell through your Shop. This is where you’ll either:
- Use their eCommerce integrations to pull products from your online store
- Pull products from an existing product catalog in Facebook
(If you need to add or remove products in the future, go back to Commerce Manager and hit “Catalog” to make changes.)
The final step is to preview your Shop. If it all looks good and you’re ready to make your storefront visible to Instagram or Facebook followers, hit “Finish Setup”. You’ll see the new Shop tab on your profile:
Facebook Shops vs. Instagram Shopping: Which should I use?
We’ve already touched on the fact that Facebook and Instagram Shops both work similarly.
They have similar set-up processes, the same integrations (with eCommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce), and are designed to get followers shopping without leaving the app.
However, the best platform to run Shops on depends on your audience and goals.
For advertising: Instagram
Thinking of advertising products from your Shop? You can’t run ads to your product catalog on Facebook without directing them towards your website.
Their platform is also a little clunky since it was built so quickly.
Instagram makes it really easy right now to advertise. Not only is it easier to navigate, but the platform has more advanced features. For example: they’re able to follow a user’s feed with “suggested content” once they reach the end of their new content.
Your shopping ads won’t stick out like a sore thumb; it’ll be a continuation of the content they’re already engaging with. Those are the kinds of social media ads with high ROI.
For customer convenience: Instagram
Because Instagram seems to be more in-tune with the shopping habits of its users, the shopping experience is much cleaner. Users can see your product, hit “buy now,” and checkout inside the app. The entire process just takes a matter of seconds.
Instagram also allows businesses to run ads on the Shopping page itself. You’ll position your products when people are actively looking to buy something—not just when they’re scrolling through their feed.
Speaking of Instagram content, retailers can tag products in their posts all over the platform, including:
- Instagram Stories (with over 150 million daily active users)
- Instagram Reels (in some countries, average time spent on Instagram increased by 3.5% after the launch of Reels)
Instagram users are already using those features when signing into the app. But by using an Instagram Shop to reach them, you’re making it super convenient for users to view products, find details, and buy them—all within Instagram’s own checkout process.
To reach customers of all ages: Facebook
Just like any marketing strategy, you need to go where your target customers are. After all, there’s not much point in dominating a specific platform if your audience aren’t using it, right?
Almost two out of every three Instagram users between the ages of 18 and 29. Setting up shop there is great if you’re targeting millennials. Facebook, however, is used by people of all ages. It’s the better option if you’re reaching a broad range of target customers—including the older generation.
For events: Facebook
Do you host events on your social media profiles? Both Instagram and Facebook allow you to host live streams, which you can use for:
- Product releases
- Live Q&As with your audience
- Product tutorials
Facebook Live has solid integrations with the Shops feature. You’re able to select any items you’ll talk about in your video before going live. It’ll highlight those products beneath the video for viewers to checkout—without leaving the video.
5 ways to grow on Facebook and Instagram shopping
Are you ready to start taking advantage of Facebook and Instagram Shops?
Here are five smart ways to integrate your products into each social media profile to get more sales:
- Create product collections
- Tag products in your social media posts
- Use product stickers in Instagram Stories
- Partner with influencers
- Tag products in live shopping videos
1. Create product collections
By this point, you have your Shop up and running.
To make it easier for followers to buy items directly from your page, both Facebook and Instagram allow retailers to create product collections. These are groups of 6-30 similar products.
(Think of them like categories on your eCommerce website. A clothing retailer would have product collections for dresses, t-shirts, jeans, etc.)
To create product collections:
- Go back into your Commerce Manager and hit “Shops”.
- Press the “Add New” button.
- Select “Collection”
- Give your collection a name—such as “jeans” or “t-shirts.”
Facebook will pull your entire product catalog for you to mark which items you’d like in that collection. You can choose up to 30 individual items for each collection.
It’s also worth filling out the Featured Collection part of your product collection. You’ll select:
- An image, which is often the first thing a shopper will see when browsing it
- A title, which describes the collection of products
- A description, which gives more information about the collection (optional)
When you’re finished, hit “publish”. Your new product collection will be showcased on your Facebook Shop tab:
To get your product collections on Instagram Shopping, there are few extra steps to take:
- Sign into your business’ Instagram account
- Hit “Edit Shop”
- Choose “Collections” and “Add”
- Select the new product collection you want to add
Now, visitors to your Facebook or Instagram Shop won’t need to visit your website to browse specific categories of product. They can use your product collections instead.
Remember: the easier you can make it for people to buy inside the app, the more chances you have at converting social media followers into paying customers.
2. Tag products in your social media posts
You’ve got your Facebook and Instagram Shops all set-up correctly. How do you find people to actually push towards them?
Both platforms allow retailers to tag products from their Shop in content they’re posting to their profiles. It’ll show a tag icon on the items you’re showcasing, giving shoppers an easy link to click through and buy.
(It’s a smart workaround for Instagram, who only allow one external link from their profile page.)
Product tagging works for most types of content across both platforms, including:
- Live videos
- Text posts
- Image and video posts
- Instagram Stories
- Instagram Reels
Product tags will show the name of the item and pricing details, like this example from MAC Cosmetics’ Instagram post:
However, the unfortunate news is that neither Facebook or Instagram has product tagging on ad properties, so you have to manually link them.
The good news is: while it might take time, you can add these tags to previous posts once you create a Shop. Should someone scroll through your Page, or an influencer repost an old image, you’ll have product tags to direct them towards your Shop.
3. Use product stickers in Instagram Stories
Want to make it easier for people browsing Instagram Stories to buy items from your Shop?
You’re likely familiar with “swipe up” links on Instagram Stories, which work by asking a user to swipe up and visit a link. You can use that feature to direct people towards your Instagram Shop, as opposed to your website:
Instagram also allows brands to use product stickers in their Stories. Followers will see a clickable tab in the Story itself that takes them to the product page on your Shop:
Both of these features only work on Instagram. But when used together with tagged products posted to your main feed, you’re boosting the chances of having a follower see the product—and head to your Instagram Shop to buy it.
4. Partner with influencers (and tag their posts)
Not all of the content you’re posting on social media has to be created from scratch.
In fact, you might be working with influencers to increase your reach, and create a bank of user-generated content that you can repost to your own profile.
(It’s no wonder why 63% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets.)
Weave your Facebook and Instagram Shop into your influencer collaborations by asking them to snap a photo of a product and share on social media. Then, repost their content with the product tag, and get the influencer to re-share it.
Here’s an example of this from Marks and Spencer. They reposted an influencer’s photo to their own feed, tagging the item they’re wearing:
5. Tag products in live shopping videos
Live shopping generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019. It’s an up-and-coming retail tactic that Facebook and Instagram are trying to hop onto.
Anyone with a Facebook or Instagram account can run livesteams. They’re great for communicating with your audience in real-time, building a brand, and increasing engagement. (It’s reported that Facebook Live videos produce 6x as many interactions as traditional videos.)
With a Facebook or Instagram Shop, you can take advantage of that engagement and turn live streams into virtual shopping experiences.
Just before you go live, hit the “enable live shopping” option. It’ll pull your entire product catalog for you to select the items you’ll talk about in your live video. People watching your live video will be able to see the product details, hit “add to bag,” and buy the item—all without leaving the live video:
Ready to set-up shop?
Once you have business profiles for both Instagram and Facebook, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be creating a Shop, too.
They help you capture your existing audience, and push them towards buying your products—with minimal disruption from social media scroll. They can view, checkout, and purchase items without leaving the app.
Create your own Instagram and Facebook Shops, and use these tips to drive social media followers towards them. You’ll soon see why both platforms are evolving to capture customer spend.