One of the biggest decisions you’ll take as an online seller is to choose a platform for selling your products. You can go for a fully managed service like Shopify or BigCommerce, a completely configurable shopping cart, or a solution like WooCommerce.
Even though these solutions start at $0 or at about $25/mo, their costs add up quickly as you add more apps to extend your store functionalities.
In addition to the maintenance costs of these tools/services, you also need to buy a domain name and an SSL certificate (and any other premium products you might need to build your store). As you can see – you do need some reasonable investment for all of this. Now, if you already have an audience — even if it’s a small, offline one— you can justify all these expenses.
As you can see – you do need some reasonable investment for all of this. Now, if you already have an audience — even if it’s a small, offline one— you can justify all these expenses. But what if you’ve zero people to sell to? And very limited budget? Or … if you’re just ‘experimenting’ with online selling or trying a product?
Well, in that case, you might not be able to afford these solutions. But here’s where a Facebook Shopify store can help.
So what’s a Facebook Shopify store?
A Facebook Shopify store is a store that runs on Facebook and is powered by Shopify.
With Shopify’s Lite $9/mo plan, you can add a store to your Facebook page and start selling on Facebook. By opening an online store like this, you can bypass the costs of building a store website from scratch and investing in pricey eCommerce solutions and products.
Now you might say,
“But Disha, why should I subscribe to Shopify when Facebook lets me add a store to my page already (via Facebook’s Shop app)?”
Well … because when you sell via Shopify, you’ll get all the goodness of Shopify including:
- The ability to sell unlimited products
- Support for 70+ payment gateways
- Orders and shipping management (via Shopify’s ultra-intuitive dashboard)
- Secure and responsive checkout experience
- Sales tracking and reporting
- Global tax and currency support
And much more.
Besides, the Facebook Store App costs $19.9/mo and the setup/configuration process is not so good either (especially when you compare it to Shopify’s slick user experience).
And in addition to Facebook, Shopify Lite also gives you access to Shopify’s ‘Buy Button’. With this feature, you can add a buy button to a host of places, for example, your website. So if you run a blog and would like to enable your readers to buy from it, Shopify Lite covers you.
Let’s now see how a Facebook Shopify store looks like.
Examples of Shopify Facebook stores
BestSelf.co runs a great Shopify Facebook store. Below, you can see how BestSelf.co displays its store products beautifully on its Facebook store.
Putting your product for sale on (or via) Facebook weaves a lot of means of engagement into the purchase process.
For example, when a Facebook user clicks on any of your products, they can 1) like it, 2) share it with their friends, 3) save it for later, and 4) leave comments about any product or buying questions they might have.
Now think about it – if these products were on your store, most of these activities would need the users to sign up. But inside Facebook, they’re already logged in to their Facebook accounts!
Also, they can add the product to their carts too. For completing the rest of the checkout process, you can either bring the visitor to your website or store (if you have one) or simply let the users complete the checkout via Facebook itself.
BestSelfCo, for instance, takes visitors to its website for completing the purchase.
(In your case too, you’ll most probably prefer to do the checkout process via Facebook itself.)
Here’s another example from Master & Dynamic:
To find more Facebook Shopify store examples, check out Shopify’s customer showcase.
Now that you understand what a Shopify Facebook store looks like, let’s quickly go over the steps you can use to create your Facebook store.
How to create a Facebook store with Shopify
To create a Facebook store with Shopify, you’ll first have to create a Facebook business page. It’s to this page that you’ll add a shop section to. So if you don’t have a Facebook page yet, create one now.
(Ideally, you should not only have a page ready but also have a few 100 followers on it before adding a store to it. This way, you’ll have an engaged audience to market to – right from day 1!)
With that tip, we’re ready to start building the store.
Step #1: Visit Shopify’s pricing page and click on the ‘Visit the Shopify Lite Plan’.
In the next step, enter a username, password, and your store’s name.
Step #2: Connect your Shopify account to your Facebook page
After you enter your business information, it’s time to connect your Shopify account your Facebook page.
To connect your Shopify account to your Facebook page, click on the ‘Connect account’ button at Facebook > Account.
Shopify will then seek permission to read your Facebook profile. Click on the ‘Continue’ button.
At this point, Shopify will seek permission to manage and publish content on your behalf. So click on the ‘Choose what you allow’ link.
On the next screen, choose both the options and click ‘OK’.
Finally, Shopify will ask you for the page to which you want to add the store section. So choose the page you just created (or any other page to which you might want to add the shop section).
Now, you might know that you can’t sell a few items on Facebook (For example, things like alcohol, weapons, drugs and more).
Because you’ll be hosting your store on Facebook, in the next step, you’re required to agree to Facebook’s store terms and conditions. So ready carefully and click on the ‘Accept terms’ button once you’re sure.
Once you’ve agreed to Facebook’s merchant terms, a shop section will get added to the page you chose in the setup.
But as you can see, the store you create at this point still won’t be live.
In order to publish the store, you need to go to the Shopify dashboard and give your billing details. Access these settings by clicking on the ‘Go to Shopify’ button on your Facebook store page. Or just sign into Shopify and click on the ‘Facebook’ item on the right panel of your Shopify dashboard.
Now, to enable your Facebook Shop, click on ‘select a plan’.
On the next screen, you’ll see the different Shopify plans.
Choose the $9 Shopify Lite plan and enter your credit card details.
As soon as you enter your credit card details and Shopify verifies it, you’re set.
If you visit your Facebook page, you’ll notice that the shop section is refreshed and it’s published and visible to all your followers.
(Remember that Shopify doesn’t charge you at this point, although it does collect your billing details. You’ll only be charged when the 14-day trial ends.)
Now that you’ve connected your Shopify account to your Facebook page, and the shop section has been added and published on your page, you’re ready to add products to your store. All the products you add to your Shopify account will automagically appear in your Facebook shop.
Step #3: Add products to your Facebook shop via Shopify
To add products, click on the ‘Add your first product to get started’ link.
Adding products is easy with Shopify’s easy-to-use editor. For this walk-through, I’m adding a Feng Shui plant called ‘Lady Palm’ to my Shopify account. (I’ve just quickly whipped up a short product description and added an image from a stock photography site. But you must spend time on this step.)
Anyway, here’s how my product looks in the Shopify editor:
Now, what I was expecting was that the minute I’d add and publish a product on my Shopify account, it would show up on my Facebook store, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, when I clicked on the Facebook channel, I got the following message:
Since I didn’t get any publishing errors, I thought that perhaps creating a collection, marking it visible to Facebook, and moving my product to the collection would resolve the issue. So I did all of this, and yet my Shopify product didn’t show up on my Facebook shop.
So I read up on it, and it appears that when a shop is published on Facebook, the Facebook team reviews it.
It’s only after you get their approval that your products appear on your Facebook shop. In fact, Shopify’s help content says that it could take up to 48 hours for you to be able to publish products in your Shopify Facebook store.
I guess there’s nothing to panic about in here, and you should hear from Facebook’s review team within 2 days. And with that, your Shopify Facebook store should be up and running.
And in case you’re wondering, my store did get approved:
Optimize your product listings for Facebook
Now that the store is “open”, it’s time to optimize your content and images, so they shine on Facebook and appear when users search for them. Facebook gives some useful product listing optimization guidelines here.
And like I said in the beginning, the more engagement you build on your page, the more sales you’ll get. Read these effective Facebook marketing tips to get a head start.
So that’s about it to starting a Facebook shop with Shopify.
Wrapping it up…
While Shopify’s Lite plan is a good and affordable way to break into online selling, I won’t recommend it as your ultimate online selling platform.
It’s ideal when starting out — but eventually — you should start a proper online store with a solution like Shopify … and use your Shopify Facebook shop as an added sales channel, and not as your primary store. (By the way, all Shopify plans include the Facebook sales channel, so you won’t need to purchase an addon or anything.)
So whenever you’re ready, make a move toward a full-blown online store. But for now, if you’ve any questions about how to sell on Facebook with Shopify, leave them in the comments, and I’ll be happy to help!