It’s only been a few months, but many ecommerce businesses have already felt the impact of ATT’s limitations on data tracking. Like most people, I’m a fan of privacy protections—but I recognize the challenge this presents for brands that rely on Facebook ads to power part of their omnichannel marketing strategies.
Around this time last year we published 4 Reasons Businesses Should Be Wary of Facebook Shops. I’ve been weighing the tradeoffs ever since. On the one hand, there’s a clear advantage to opting into shops: Facebook and Instagram have made it easy to bring ecommerce to your community. Do it right, and you could see increased engagement, deeper loyalty, and more sales. Enabling Checkout on these apps seems like a simple next step, but it’s actually a significant change that separates you from your customer data, making it harder to build off-platform relationships.
So… is Checkout on Facebook and Instagram worth it?
- It’s a fast, frictionless checkout experience with no need to create a new account. Payment information is stored securely, so customers don’t have to re-enter it the next time they shop.
- Shopping events on Facebook and Instagram aren’t blocked by ATT—all conversion data is tracked in-app. Merchants can gather insights through their Commerce Manager accounts and build lookalike audiences more effectively.
- With Checkout enabled, Commerce Manager provides extra bells and whistles like purchase protection, return processing, and customer communication via Messages on Facebook. On Instagram, you get access to Live Shopping and product launch tools (Instagram Drops).
- Instagram’s upcoming affiliate tool—which will allow influencers to earn commissions on in-app sales they drive—is limited to products available for purchase through Instagram Checkout. Brands can tag Instagram posts with Checkout-enabled products now, before instant checkout launches, so they’ll be ready to take advantage of it from day one.
- To help businesses recovering from the pandemic, Facebook has temporarily suspended its selling fee for all orders shipped through June 30, 2022 (other fees may still apply).
- You can learn a lot from your most engaged fans’ purchase habits. These insights could inform product development or other marketing initiatives.
- Eventually, new ad formats may allow you to drive traffic directly to Checkout-ready products.
- Depending on your demographic, customers might feel hesitant about using an unfamiliar checkout tool. They might also be wary about sharing payment information with Facebook.
- The standard Checkout selling fee could go up at any time, or Facebook could decide to levy additional fees.
- Your Checkout return policy must allow returns within a minimum of 30 days, unless they’re marked final sale. This may differ from the existing policy on your own ecommerce site, leading to confusion or complaints.
- You’re responsible for inventory management, whether you use an existing integration (like Shopify or Big Commerce) or add product details manually.
- Checkout is currently limited to U.S. sellers, and you can only use Checkout to sell items priced in USD.
- You don’t own your customer data. This is worth repeating: You don’t own your customer data. When customers check out on your website, you collect and own that data. You can also use the checkout interaction to promote newsletter subscriptions, referrals, or loyalty programs. Not so with Checkout. And sure, Facebook will provide you with standard analytics reports, but at the end of the day, all your data will belong to Zuck. That makes your business even more reliant on Facebook for marketing to an audience you’ve already acquired.
My colleague Elliott recently made the case for going all-in on Facebook shopping. Facebook prioritizes on-platform engagement, and we all know that what Facebook wants, it tends to get. Besides, as more ecommerce hooks in to the Facebook ecosystem, Facebook’s data power could ultimately benefit brands and advertisers.
I agree with all this in principle, but always proceed with caution before putting all your eggs in one checkout basket. We need first-party data and owned communication channels now more than ever, so we can stay connected to customers despite changing privacy laws. There’s tons of untapped potential in first-party data, and enabling Checkout gives that opportunity away to Facebook in exchange for a (theoretical) marginal increase in conversions.
Still, native checkout may be a viable strategy for some brands. If that’s you, just be sure to consider the impact on the rest of your business, and run tests before committing. Either way, this is a concept that will continue to affect the ecommerce industry as a whole, so it’s worth monitoring, discussing with your team, and thinking through experiments that will help answer questions you have now—and in the future.