Facebook Launches New Ecommerce Features

Here is the marketplace news that captured our attention this week.

Facebook Launches New Ecommerce Features

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are gaining new features that will help retailers get their products in front of more customers and drive sales. Customers increasingly turn to Facebook as a discovery engine to find new products. The company reports that 74% of people use Facebook platforms to discover brands or products online.

Certain categories of retail perform better than others. Over 85% of people surveyed purchased a fashion, beauty, furniture or electronic product they first discovered on a Facebook platform.

Now there are new ways for customers to discover and purchase products, which means more opportunities for retailers to sell. These updates include:

  • Facebook Shops in More Places - Once a Facebook Shop is set up, products are eligible to appear in the Shop tabs on Instagram and Facebook. Businesses in the US can now choose Marketplace as an additional sales channel. Plus businesses in several countries can showcase their entire Shop in WhatsApp.
  • Customer Reviews on Instagram - Over the next few months, customer ratings and reviews will be expanded to products in Shops on Instagram and will also include video and images as well as written reviews.
  • Personalized Shop Facebook Ads - Facebook is launching new ads to personalize the shopping experience and point customers toward a Shop’s curated collection.
  • Expanded Access to Augmented Reality(AR) Try-On Feature - Facebook is bringing AR to a new ad unit that will automatically show relevant products to people based on their interests, encouraging them to “try it on.”

Tambo's view:

Facebook is investing heavily in its e-commerce offering in an attempt to hold onto traffic that heads to Amazon or other online retailers. Facebook leads the way as the go to platform for spontaneous discovery by carefully curated ads that appear in your feeds based on your browsing behaviour. However, Amazon is what shoppers use for planned discovery because they will get the best choice.

The lines are blurring between social and shopping, as both digital goliaths compete to own the customer transaction.

New "Call Me" feature in Amazon Seller Account Health

Amazon has launched a new 'Call me now' button within their Amazon Seller Account Health page. The button gives Selling Partners the ability to speak directly with a dedicated, on-demand support channel representative with issues relating to their account health.

You can access this by navigating to Performance > Account Health. It is currently only available using a Desktop browser. The new service is being trialled with a selected group of merchants, before roll out to all UK sellers

Tambo's view:

This is a start towards building better communication between sellers and Amazon themselves, particularly over important issues such as Account Health, suspensions and policy violation resolutions. For a long time, sellers have had to go through case support, which has often been time consuming and confusing.

Amazon Live

Amazon Live launched in 2016, but it wasn’t until recently that Amazon began making more investments in the channel. In February of 2019, Amazon launched its Live Creator app, which allows users to sell via live stream directly from their phone. Then, in July 2020, Amazon expanded the app to include influencers who are part of the Amazon Influencer Programme. An Amazon spokesperson declined to give numbers on how many people are using Live but did say that there were over 1,200 live stream shows during Prime Day 2020.

Today, there are about a dozen live streams happening at one time on a dedicated Amazon Live homepage, with one stream as the “feature” video on the page. These video times and placements are determined by Amazon’s ranking system, which includes three levels: “Rising Star,” “Insider,” and “A-List.” Each level offers progressively better video placements on the Amazon Live page. To ‘level up’, sellers must consistently create content to amass a following and drive sales, similar to YouTube streamers looking to build their subscriber base.

Users must either be a brand registered seller, a U.S. vendor with an approved Amazon store, or an Amazon influencer with an active Amazon storefront to use the Creator app and stream. But rather than an easy path to incremental revenue, it takes time and effort for brands to see returns. Amazon recommends streaming for at least an hour once an account is approved.

Tambo's view:

Our Future Shopper Survey highlighted the popularity of Live Streaming amongst young people. The events are a great way to connect with your audience through authentic and entertaining content. It is a great format for communicating product features or demonstrating how to use a product.

Amazon Live is only available in the US at the moment. We are confident it will be live in the UK soon.

Decathlon UK opens marketplace

Decathlon UK has opened a new marketplace, enabling health and sport brands to sell direct to its customers.

The marketplace is launching with UK brands including London start-up Donda Cycling and Pendle Bike Racks, a Lancashire firm founded in 1977, selling alongside international brands including Adidas and Speedo. It is also inviting new partners to join its marketplace, selling alongside Decathlon’s own products on decathlon.co.uk. By doing so, it aims to broaden still further the range that shoppers can buy on its website, including technical and innovative products.

The shift towards selling via a marketplace is a part of Decathlon’s international strategy. Its first marketplace opened on its Belgian website, where marketplace sales now account for 8.5% of sales on the website. Overall, Decathlon expects to see more than a billion euros in marketplace sales within five years.

The site has been created with marketplace specialist Mirakl. Already powering their Belgian marketplace, Mirakl are now bringing expertise and leading technology to Decathlon UK. Decathlon currently sells in the UK online and through more than 40 stores.

Tambo's view:

Vertical marketplaces are now popping up around the world. The scale of e-commerce and the advancement of marketplace technology have made it cheaper and easier for retailers to create marketplaces. Decathlon will be able to dramatically increase their catalogue and sell many new and exciting brands. Lets hope this enables them to compete with the Sports Direct monopoly and drive more competition in the market.

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