Women buying online

Driving rapid business growth with social Shops 

Exploring a new route to market

Social Shops are growing rapidly as a new route to market for brands, accelerated by two major forces. Firstly, as the pandemic took hold, ecommerce as a primary shopping channel became the norm (growing by 46%) and secondly, social media users grew by 9%.

Leading social platforms seized the opportunity to connect ecommerce with social, developing a string of purchase solutions to keep users locked into buying directly through their apps.

Social commerce is forecast to grow to US $3.37 trillion globally over the next eight years and the big bet for brands and businesses in this space has been Shops – an in-app, catalogue-based storefront for discovery and product curation.

Shops was coined and popularised by Facebook and Instagram, but the technology principle is now being incorporated across a broader spectrum of social platforms like Snapchat and Twitter.

Shops is more than just an online showroom – it is a new route to market for brands. As with all new sales channels, it’s critical to understand the role Shops plays within a wider commerce ecosystem. The key is to circumvent cannibalisation of revenue across existing channels, unlocking new revenue by reaching new shoppers with razor-sharp tailored and relevant commerce experiences and product portfolios.

There are several reasons why brands should trial Shops. Advantages include connecting more personally and seamlessly with existing shoppers, trialling new products and services, precise measurement, and identifying new audiences.

A quick set-up

You can set up your Facebook or Instagram Shop in a relatively short amount of time. The platform takes care of the frameworks for data processing, product catalogue integrations and hosting.

This fast execution is gold for businesses that need to shift to online quite quickly (e.g. because of a local lockdown) or advertisers who want to push flash sales, exclusives and limited time offers without having to worry about activating a heavy-to-rollout D2C platform.

Collection-based planning

By organising groups of products into collections – themed around seasonal events, promotions, upcoming launches or trends you’ve noticed from followers – brands will be able to help their customers find the products that are right for them.

A tailored look and feel

To keep a tight connection to a brand’s identity, colours and fonts can be customised and imagery can be constantly updated in line with marketing roadmaps and product availability and supply. Adding to this, the standardised customisation options are also designed for a minimal loading time, which benefits the shopper’s unified experience within the app.

Loyalty and service

While Shops is mainly a visual storefront, smart CX features are available to keep customers looped in. Shops and its products can be bookmarked as favourites. In addition to that, there are customisable opt-in solutions for loyalty programmes. Plus, a connected conversational interface (e.g. Messenger or WhatsApp) can help businesses offer tailored services and support remotely.


Shops is designed to remove friction from the path to purchase. After adding items to cart, in most cases users will be re-routed to the brand’s website for checkout. In the US, it’s possible to pay directly in the app. Facebook is planning to make this option standardised for all major markets by H2 of this year.

Ecommerce integration

To make sure brands of all commerce maturity levels and size can benefit from Shops, ecommerce integration is easy for brands using Shopify, BigCommerce or WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics.

Once set-up of your Shop has been successfully implemented, maintenance and monitoring performance are key. Like building out performance tracking for other digital and commerce platforms, we recommend applying a combination of testing, learning and scaling successes.

For more insights and analysis download VMLY&R Commerce’s Driving Rapid Business Growth with Shops here

VMLY&R Commerce

published on

09 November 2021


Commerce Technology & data

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