Make no mistake, Australians are spending more online than ever before. Just last year our online sales were forecast to exceed $32 billion – placing us in the top ten worldwide (despite our smaller population).And as our love for online shopping grows, so too does our reliance on social media for inspiration, advice, and guidance on online purchases.A study by AmeriCommerce found that Facebook refers 60% of all social traffic to retail sites. And Sprout Social tells us that 74% of consumers rely on social media to make purchasing decisions.These stats alone prove there are huge number of shoppers using Facebook to guide their online purchases. Just imagine the impact you could have if your customers didn’t even have to leave Facebook to shop.Facebook users spend an average of 20+ minutes a day scrolling through their feeds (much less for those under 25). Simply getting more of your content into customers’ feeds each day will see you well on your way to driving increased sales.Showcasing your products beautifully on Facebook and providing customers with an effortless in-app shopping experience designed for mobile, will almost guarantee an increase in sales. To do all this, though, you’ll need to set up a Facebook Shop. Photo credit: Time.com The Facebook Shop AdvantageOnce your Facebook Shop is set up, customers will be able to view products by navigating to the ‘Shop’ tab on your Facebook page. The shopping experience on here will be much the same as on any website – with images, product information and pricing all clearly displayed when clicking into each product.From there they can search all products, browse through best sellers, view different categories, or even head to your photos to see products tagged, editorial style – which is a really nice way to showcase your products in action.You can easily share products to your news feed or use Facebook ads to promote them to your target audience. This provides more opportunity to reach potential customers, increase awareness and boost sales. Photo credit: BigCommerce.com.auTo amp up the shopping experience another notch, Facebook is rolling out an option to make products available for purchase directly in Facebook. This will make the entire buyer’s journey a lot smoother – going all the way from the initial Facebook ad or post to purchase without having to leave the safety of Facebook.For now, while we’re still waiting for this feature to become available in Australia, setting up a Facebook Shop will allow you to keep 90% of the shopping process on Facebook – only requiring the user to leave to checkout.Considering bounce rates (the percentage of users that immediately click back out of your site) from social media are almost three times higher than any other channel, keeping your customers on Facebook for more of the shopping process is a massive game changer.The advantage is clear, so let’s look into what you need to set up your own Facebook Shop. Set up your Facebook Business PageThere are a only a couple of things you’ll need to set up a Facebook Shop:A Facebook business page. (If you don’t know how to make a Facebook business page check out Facebook’s official guide on how to do it here.)A way to list all your products, accept orders and process payments. The easiest way to do this is through a Facebook-friendly ecommerce platform such as Shopify – more on this below. Photo Credit: Shopify Using Ecommerce Platforms to Sell Items on your Facebook ShopMajor ecommerce platforms, like Shopify, Ecwid, and BigCommerce, act as an organisational tool that help you list and sell products on your Facebook shop. If you’re already set up on any of these platforms, then linking up your product catalogue and checkout to Facebook should be fairly straightforward. Shopify Home Screen | Photo credit: Ecommerce-Platforms.comFor those that aren’t already using an ecommerce platform, there are a lot of benefits on top of helping sync your products to Facebook to be aware of. These platforms also provide order and shipping management tools that will save you a ton of time down the line.They will also allow you to get your products up on just about any shopping platform – such as your website, eBay, and Amazon – without having to manually create new product listings and manage stock across multiple platforms.If you’re serious about selling online, you should definitely consider using an ecommerce platform.The DownfallsSometimes, the best things in life aren’t free. A lot of Ecommerce platforms require monthly subscriptions to use their services, with Shopify starting from about $9/mo. There are a few free providers, though – such as Ecwid and Spreesy – but these tend to come with restrictions.The only other real downfall comes down to whether you’re capable of setting up and managing the ecommerce platform yourself. Shopify in particular focuses on making the whole platform as easy to use as possible, so it should be a good option for most people with basic computer literacy.However, if you’re a little more technically challenged or just don’t have time or patience to figure it out, you’ll likely need to hire some professional help to get you started. Is it Time for You to Set Up Shop?If you’re still up in the air about whether a Facebook Shop is right for you and your business, consider these key points:Will shopping on Facebook work for your audience? Think long and hard about who your target audience is and whether they’re likely to shop products such as yours on Facebook – ask yourself, how much time do they spend on Facebook, what do they like to do on Facebook, do they feel safe spending money on Facebook, what drives customers to purchase your products etc.Are you already using an ecommerce platform that works with Facebook? If so, set up should be fairly quick and painless so you have little to lose from giving it a go. Shopify in particular is our top pick – so if you are on this platform, we’d definitely recommend giving it a go.Do you have the time and skills to promote your products on Facebook? If you don’t have time to plan and upload content or run Facebook ads relating to your products, simply having a Facebook Shop on your page is unlikely to provide a significant boost in sales. So where do you stand on the Facebook Shop feature? Whether you’re ready to get started or are still trying to learn more about it, we’re here to help. Just get in touch if you want to talk more!