The ability to shop via a company’s Facebook or Instagram store has been around for a while. When it first came out, a lot of big brands utilized it, but then they started moving away from it because of some pretty big limitations it has. Recently, more and more brands are running ads directing people to shop on their Facebook or Instagram store and check out on the platform. While this seems like it would be a good idea, seems like every time we turn around, there's a new buzz in town about Facebook and Instagram checkout. But hang on tight, because we are about to spill the beans on something that might not be too popular – running ads to your Facebook and Instagram stores might be doing you more harm than good.
The Allure of Facebook and Instagram Ads:
Like many of you, we're no strangers to the allure of a good Facebook or Instagram ad. They've become a staple of our digital lives, prompting us to make impulse purchases and explore exciting new products. But what if we told you that ads directing you to complete purchases through the platforms themselves, might not be as beneficial as they seem? Let's explore why.
The Trap of On-Platform Checkout:
Meta is currently offering various incentives to encourage businesses to run ads that lead customers to their on-platform shops and checkouts. The motivation behind this strategy is clear: by keeping the purchase process on their platform, they retain valuable user data, regardless of whether users have opted out of iOS tracking. However, this convenience for the platform may not necessarily translate into benefits for your business.
The Downside for Your Business:
Recently, we encountered a real-world scenario that highlights the potential drawbacks of this approach. While scrolling through Instagram, one of our team members was served an ad that piqued their interest - the SockIt, a handy drink accessory designed to keep beverages colder for longer. Clicking through the ad, they found themselves on the company's Instagram shop. They added a couple of items to their cart, only to realize that they hadn't reached the minimum order value for free shipping.
The Limitations of On-Platform Shopping:
Here's where the trouble begins. Unlike the seamless experience of shopping on a dedicated website, Facebook and Instagram shops lack certain essential features. For instance, in our SockIt experience, our team member was unable to efficiently filter or sort products by price, making it challenging to find a lower ticket addition to her cart to try and get over that free shipping minimum. All she could find were other designs for the same product. This limitation ultimately led her to proceed with a purchase that included shipping costs. She would have spent more money if she had the ability to filter or sort.
Missed Opportunities for Upselling:
Beyond the hassle of navigating limited filters, another critical downside emerges: the inability to leverage post-purchase upselling and cross-selling strategies. While this might change in the future, as of now, these features are lacking within the Facebook and Instagram checkout process. On your website, it's relatively easy to encourage customers to explore complementary products, offer discounts on additional items, or present post-purchase upsells. Unfortunately, the current on-platform setup lacks these revenue-boosting opportunities.
So Here's Our Unpopular Opinion:
Running ads on Facebook and Instagram shops and using their checkout is like leaving money on the table. It's costing you in average order value in the long term. We recommend still driving that traffic to your store and keeping your data where it belongs – with you.
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