I recently helped my wife launch her website for the Christmas season. Her shop is Tiarani Studio at https://www.tiaranistudio.com with a line of her traditional Batik Silk Scarves. They are wonderfully luxurious silk as you can see.
I decided to take advantage of the Shopify Facebook 15 day trial advertised as easy to setup and simple checkout all for $9.95 / month.
Step 1 is to create a Facebook page. You’ll use this page as your shop within Facebook. Simple enough, it’s just like any other page. You can post, put up photos, and other things you normally do with Facebook pages. By all means announce your shop and hype it up.
Step 2 is to create an account at Shopify Facebook page, pretty easy, enter email address, first & last name, your store name and click on “Create store”. You’ll be asked pertinent information later.
Step 3 is to connect your Facebook page created in Step 1 to your Shopify account.
Step 4 is to add products. The usual titles, descriptions, pricing, tags and visibility (make sure it’s set). I use tags as a convenient way to categorize. I have 2 tags, Winter and Spring to categorize by season. I have a 3rd tag Featured to show products that are showcased. The visibility setting determines whether the product is displayed in the shop or not.
Step 5 is to create collections. I create 3 collections, each one is selected by each tag. So I have 3 collections using each tag, one for Featured, another for Winter, the last for Spring. In the collection page there is also a visibility setting (also make sure its set) to display the collection in the shop.
Step 6 is to go back to products page and bulk select all products and do a bulk action of publishing and make sure it’s set to Facebook. Push the Bulk Action button then Publish Selected products. Let it sync!
Step 7 is similar, go back to the collections page and bulk select all collections (except the “Home Page”) I’ve no idea what that does, I only want Winter and Spring collections to display. Push the Bulk Action button and Publish Selected collections. Let it sync too!
Step 8 is pray that the integration goes smoothly. It did the first time for me and here is where trouble can start. Shopify has its own approval process so you don’t sell anything untoward, and also says Facebook has a manual 24 hour store approval stage, so be prepared to wait for a day and call in if your shop hasn’t displayed yet. For me it incredibly happened just like that in 5 minutes and my Facebook page got a “Shop Now” button, a Shop section, and I could checkout a product. Theoretically the money gets deposited in my Shopify account, but I didn’t actually make a payment.
Uh Oh … trouble. The integration worked really well for nearly 2 hours. After which it went berserk. A collection that shouldn’t have displayed (Home Page collection), and one that should didn’t (Spring collection). I sync’ed and sync’ed and they never reset themselves.
Lastly the entire set of collections and products disappeared from my Facebook shop! Facebook points the finger to Shopify.
This is fatal for an ecommerce shop! It can’t make any money. The idea of spending money to make money maybe hasn’t dawned on Shopify. Or at least maybe their idea is to make money for themselves only 🙂
Just to show I didn’t make this up here is my Shopify Facebook collections page that show the collections to show. Shopify points the finger to Facebook.
To add insult to injury, 5+ support chats and some phone calls later they admit that the problem affects a large set of their customers and it’s Facebook’s faulty integration process that is to blame. One chat even set expectation that it might take 3-5 days to approve the shop and that might be the cause. I have email transcripts of the chats. I now rarely see their email updates, what else is there to say?
At the time of the posting I consider my Shopify Facebook shop dead RIP. This close to Christmas there is no more time to market much less to sell (even to friends & family).
I even offered to hand deliver within the Seattle Metro area same/next day free. Plus I ran a very focused Google Adwords ad campaign targeting very specific demographics (affluent 35-50 age group), and area (Seattle Metro). The ad was running well with positioning within 3-4 ranking from the top! No getters though.
But sadly 4 days later, on December 23rd, and about the last 48 hours of promised resolution the shop is still dead.
As a shopper I am extremely annoyed, disappointed, felt cheated, and disgusted with the incompetency of what appears is a serious lack of software development capabilities (Shopify is a startup company residing in Toronto, Canada).
As an interested investor seeing their 86% growth so far as attractive, I must wonder how their stock price is going fare. For the next financial results season, did they give guidance based on expected increased revenue from the Shopify Facebook facepalm or not? If they did, I might wait a while and let their stock drop like a rock and pick it up at near low.
So there you have it. Great promise, deeply troubling execution.
Facepalm on my Facebook page 🙂 Come Shop Tiarani Studio instead!