By Eugene Kaznacheev, Product Manager, Ecwid

With online sales estimated to have reached £77billion last year, having the ability to sell over the web has never been more important for businesses to remain competitive.

However, setting up an online store is not always an easy task for small businesses. For some, the investment of time and money that has traditionally been needed to create a sales page may have outweighed the potential benefits, which can leave these sellers lagging behind.

However, as more and more small businesses are creating a Facebook page to spread their brand, smart businesses are finding that, with the right tools, they are increasingly able to use this platform to sell to customers directly, often referred to as f-commerce.

In fact, studies have shown that businesses who sell on Facebook alongside their regular websites generate an additional 15% revenue. So why is f-commerce such a good solution for small businesses? And how can they take advantage of the Facebook boom to generate additional revenue?

The Social Solution

If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest in the world. In addition to providing a vast network of over 800 million potential customers to capitalise upon, setting up shop on Facebook is easy for a business with more limited resources.

Setting up a Facebook page is far simpler than building a website from scratch, and can be done in a matter of minutes, with no financial outlay or demand for technical expertise. Once the Facebook page has been created, the business can simply drop in a shopping cart app, which allows prospective customers to buy with ease.

Aside from enabling them to set up an online store quickly and easily, selling on Facebook provides countless other benefits for small businesses. By providing a platform to enable conversation and feedback from customers, business owners can build better relationships with their customers, making them more likely to provide repeat custom and loyalty. What’s more, with Facebook having made social communities and friendship groups more closely interlinked than ever before, there is also an opportunity for businesses to benefit from personal recommendations between friends.

Getting the Thumbs-up

Satisfying customers with a well-designed f-commerce site not only makes them more likely to come back and buy again, but it also gives them the ability to share their positive experiences with their friends. With just the click of a button, customers can give their personal recommendation to a business they’ve dealt with and share this across their friendship group. With social reviews increasingly influencing customers’ decision to buy, a Facebook ‘like’ helps a business to build a brand community and could potentially make the difference between closing a sale or losing one, and bringing in new customers.

Social Selling Gurus

Small businesses can really succeed in this sales channel by creating a community through the close links that they build with their customers. Receiving a smaller and more manageable number of enquiries and comments through their Facebook page than larger enterprises, small businesses are more likely to be able to respond quickly. Ultimately, these more intimate relationships with customers could turn out to be valuable when it comes to succeeding with f-commerce. Engaging with customers is key, even more important than getting ‘likes’. Better communication with customers will bring a business loyal clients who will not only generate repeat sales, but will also give feedback on improvements, and eventually will become a brand's strong supporters.

In short, what we’re seeing here is the perfect combination of circumstances for smaller business owners. At a time when the popularity of Facebook shows no sign of waning and consumers are carrying out more and more activities on this platform, free and easy to use shopping cart widgets have enabled small businesses to monetise their Facebook brand pages by turning them into fully functional f-commerce sites. Meanwhile, the demand for goods and services online has never been higher. Add into the mix the consideration that smaller businesses are well placed to achieve success and efficiency through f-commerce and the result is that there has never been a better time or place for small business owners to spread their wings and claim their share of the online market.

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