Facebook is taking the concept of social commerce to the next level, opening small business pop-up stores for its online merchants.
The social media platform has reportedly opened nine bricks-and-mortar pop-up stores as part of the Market @ Macy’s program. The temporary spaces will showcase products from more than 100 small businesses that sell online through Facebook’s Marketplace, with both Macy’s and Facebook claiming they won’t be taking a share of the revenue generated by the merchants’ product sales.
According to reports, Facebook has even covered the costs of the pop-up spaces, giving merchants a free space to promote and sell their goods in the lead up to the busy holiday season.
The pop-up shops have been set-up to replicate Facebook’s online shopping experience, with each store featuring displays that emulate the look of News Feed posts, with like button images creating an authentic appearance.
“All over the world people are running businesses, big and small, that have inspiring stories and we want to help them succeed. We are thrilled to be partnering with one of the world’s biggest retailers to bring some of those businesses to a physical store this holiday season,” said Facebook’s Director of North America Marketing, Michelle Klein.
The stores are now open and will trade until February 2, 2019, at Macy’s in NYC, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
Spectators believe that both Macy’s and Facebook will benefit from the pop-ups, even though they’re not taking a cut of the sales.
According to USA Today, Macy’s is using its nearly year-old pop-up spaces to woo shoppers with unique concepts, while also generating extra rental income to assist with high overhead costs.
“Larger retailers like Macy’s are looking for innovative ways to use space and are interested in having pop-up concepts utilise it,” Neil Saunders, the managing director of retail consultancy, GlobalData told the news outlet.
“In most cases, pop-ups are a far more cost-effective way of reaching consumers than opening stores, especially if the aim is to capture spending over a limited period of time like the holidays.”
It’s also believed that Facebook is using the pop-ups as a way to encourage merchants to spend more money on Facebook advertising, or to spend money selling goods via Facebook’s new ‘Stories’ e-commerce feature, which is not dissimilar to Instagram’s ‘Shoppable Stories’.
Facebook has taken a number of steps in recent months to try and increase the number of online retailers using its site as an extension of their e-commerce stores. In mid-2018 it filed a patent suggesting it wanted to develop new Messenger tech that would allow merchants to sell products directly via the Messenger app, while 2017 saw the introduction of Facebook ‘Collections’ as a shopping tool.
Facebook is currently running an ad campaign at NYC’s Grand Central Station to promote the pop-up stores over the next three weeks, with 600 ad units and 36 designs set to roll-out across 115 locations in the public transportation hub. Further advertising campaigns are reportedly running across Facebook and Instagram’s apps.