There is absolutely no doubt about the fact,that ecosystems are the future. A good example is Uber®. Uber has only developed a platform and offers it to third party providers to corporate with their expertise and services, like Google Maps, whith which a customer can find the car which is closest and the system recognizes which car is nearest to the customer. Payment is also eanbled by third party providers like PayPal® and Google Pay®.
Facebook® Shops is also an eco system with several thirdy party providers for shipping, customer support and checkout. It’s more convenient for Facebook®, to transfer these features and tasks to experts in their field.
The all-in one solution for every entrepreneur
Like Mark Zuckeberg says in his presentation video, one can start a shop in the living room. No matter how many products or how large yor retail business is. The great thing about this new commerce solution is the fact that it is very easy to build a shop.
In fact there is no expertise needed and there is a lot of information on this website https://www.facebook.com/business/shops. Here you can find all the information about Facebook® Shops and how to start. In this post, I just want to show my enthusiasm and my ideas about this novelty.
One shop multiple apps, endless range & countless customers to engage, and interact with
What I am really excited about, is the feature which offers a shop owner the oppotunity, to interact with his customers on three different apps! One adavantage is the fact, that one can see where a customer is most and what the customer’s user behaviour is. This enables you to get to know your customer and to provide a personalized service. The chat feature, on WhatsApp even a video chat, gives a customer an even more personal connection to the provider.
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In our days and ages markets and customers are changing continuously. I have written about this phenomenon already in another post. Customers want to be regarded as individuals and they want a tailored service which fulfill their needs, expectations and whishes and which solve their pains.
I know, that especially Germans will be extremely sceptic. Germany is quite odd, when it comes to their data. One might say, that they act a bit hysterical 🙂 But the Facebook® Shops are a great chance for the help- and hopeless retailers. The fact, that setting up a shop on Facebook®. I have written an article about how to go online, but the reactions on LinkedIn® have been, that I am mentally disabled 🙂 Well, that’s fine 😀
Online to Offline O2O with Facebook® Shops
E-commerce is not that new anymore when considering that the first online retail transaction was performed in 1994. Ecommerce is a grown-up 27 years old. E-commerce has become a daily part of our lives and the first excitement has gone. Nowadays it is a daily routine to shop online and the rising of mobile, is repsonsible for the fact, that we expect that a shop is usable on our smartphones.
As I wrote before, customers are an ever-canging phenomenon and the expectations,when it comes to shopping, have changed. The not only want an tailored and personalized service, they also want to be entertained when they shop. They want to have fun. Funshopping is a new approach to trigger consumers to leave their laptop and their home, to visit brick and mortar shops. Like ecommerce, the physical stores need to tell a story. I have written about retail storytelling, as I like to call it. I am not sure if that is the correct term, but it came to my mind, when I was thinking about a title for that post 🙂
Local stores will get a new functionality. They will become showrooms, where people can test devices, try on garments or get an advice about which wine they should choose, when they entertain friends with a self-prepared dinner. When they have chosen the products, they wont take them home but buy them on the shop’s device and the items are delivered homw straightaway. An idea that cameto my mind right now: When the people leave the store, they get a goodie bag. A nice sustainable bag with the branding on it and some nice wanna-haves as a little thank you.
People like to show where they buy and what they can afford. I myself am no exception. I confess myself guilty 😉 Shopping is also a kind of vanity fair and a bit Instagram®, on which I love to show my shopping bags, my beard care products or photos when I am in the barbershop. Not to forget my self-produced food porn 😉 And that is a major thrill of Instragram® for the users.
Therefore the shop will be the place to be and to be entertained, to be advised and assisted and to have a pleasant, relaxed time. Quality time during which buying is “not the primary goal”, if you know what I mean. Buying items should happen “incidentally”.
In combination with an online shop line Facebook® Shops, you can offer more convenience to the customer experience. Let’s stick to fashion. I really dislike the follwing situation: I see a great shirt or a awesome pair of shoes, I want to try them on, but my size is not in stock. If I buy at Tommy Hilfiger or Marco Polo and if the sales assistant is alert and agile, he or she will call another branch, to find out it the desired productis availble there.
Than I can choose from two options: or I go to that branch (wich might quite an effort in Berlindue to the desolate infrastructures of public transport), or I let branch deliver to the shop where I am and come back the next day. When I want a new pieceof garment, I want it NOW 🙂 In Germany stores like Tommy Hilfiger & Co. are not offering to buy it online. because their digital infrastructure is not really connected. But the sales assistants don’t even think about it 🙁
Mixing both on and offline is very important. This is what Google® says:
“New reality #1: Digital drives in-store traffic
As it turns out, digital doesn’t just drive e-commerce. It actually gets consumers into local stores. A 2014 study on local search behavior found that 50% of consumers will visit a store within one day of a local search on their smartphone. Scott Zalaznik, Sprint’s vice president of digital, has seen digital’s influence on offline shopping firsthand: “Ninety percent of our customers start their journey online but buy in-store.”
For some shoppers, the local store is still a place to browse and talk to experts, but for others, it’s becoming more like a local distribution center where they can pop in quickly to pick up a product they’ve researched in advance. When asked what information would be helpful to have in local search results, respondents in our Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping study listed “product availability at a nearby store” (74%) and “pricing at that store” (75%). That’s why it’s important to promote and share inventory seamlessly across all channels.
New reality #2: Smartphones are in-store shopping assistants
Thanks to our constantly connected world, we’ve become accustomed to instantaneous answers and a wealth of information at our fingertips, but not all retailers have translated this well into in-store experiences. Shoppers are increasingly frustrated by the lack of in-store information. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they couldn’t find the details they needed while visiting a store. Many, as a result, are turning to their smartphone to fill in the information gap. Of the 42% who research online while in stores, almost half use the retailer’s own site or app. And one in three shoppers actually prefer to use their smartphone to find additional information rather than ask a store employee for help, according to our Mobile In-Store Research study.
Even if shoppers want to showroom, or browse in-store with the intent to buy online later, they’re likely turning to their phone in those moments. So make sure your mobile presence is working on your behalf. Contrary to popular sentiment, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly actually says, “We love being used as the internet’s showroom.” He thinks that once customers are in your store, they’re yours to lose. The key is to give them all the online information they need at their fingertips via your site, app and search campaigns to enable them to make a decision and buy in your store.”
My home country, the Netherlands, is quite digital mature. Parking with license plate and without ticket (data in the cloud), digitized public transport paying cashless with the same card througout the country, digitized parking garage for bicycles and the 2nd largest electric vehicle charging station infratructure. A dutch luxury department store, called De Bijenkorf (wich means beehive) has carried out a digital transformation (which is not the same as digitalisation.This is a subset of a DT).
One of the goals was to design and develop a seamless customer experience. Online and offline! Alibaba calls it a barrier-free consumption as foundation of the new retail.
They have created several experience,s which are activated to certain touchpoints. They have improved payment by using mobile terminals,to enable customers to payon the spot, without standing and waiting in the queue. They have many foreign and Asian customers and when a foreign credit card is inserted in the terminal, the language will switch automatically. As the state “to make the customer feel at home. Did I write about personalized service? 😉
They have developed an, so called, endless isle or kiosk, to be able to help the customer in case an item is not in stock. But have a look for yourself.
And this is another feature I would like to come to Germany. By the way, Adyen is a Dutch company 🙂
And in my vision I regard Facebook® Shops an accelerator for establishing a multichannel online to offline in brick and mortar shops. In this case physical stores will become locations for fun and leisure and the shop will will take over the stransactional function.
Shopping will become exciting and a lot of fun. Let’s see how German entrepreneurs will adopt this great new opportunity…
And, last but absolutely not least, the video of Mark Zuckerberg in which he introduces and explains the new Facebook® Shops.