Social Commerce Intro & Requirements (Read This First!)

What Social Commerce Does for You

Social Commerce is an extension designed specifically for use with the WooCommerce plugin. It uses a special shop theme that is designed for use in a Facebook page tab which takes your shop, product category and product content and displays it in a Facebook-branded interface with a custom sidebar, built-in social tools and security functionality. Your main site continues to use your chosen WordPress theme.

There are several reasons Social Commerce is an important part of your Facebook shop strategy:

Compartmentalization

Social Commerce is focused only on your shop and product pages, though it will support static page content such as your shipping policy and so on. This places focus on converting sales and monetizing your Facebook page by putting your visitors directly into your shop experience without distraction.

sc-landing

Continuity

The default look of Social Commerce is Facebook-centric, producing a seamless experience for Facebook users when they land on your shop’s page tab. This Facebook presentation promotes trust in your visitors and increases the chance they will stay on Facebook, shop your products, and not be distracted by links or content that can take them away from that experience – a major downside of using your main site in Facebook.

sc-shop

Functionality

Your main site may be full of neat functionality such as sliders, video, hover menus, popups or shortcodes which will produce unpredictable behavior when displayed inside an iframe on Facebook, secure or not. Facebook rules will stop some scripted elements from working until the user directly interacts with it, or will block it alltogether. Social Commerce accounts for this in its minimal design  to allow for a familiar, smooth browsing experience. As such, it is important to understand that functionality or design elements your main site’s theme may provide, such as shortcodes, widgets and page templates, will not render in Facebook. We will provide tips later in this guide for how you can create Facebook-friendly versions of any content on your main site which uses proprietary functionality.

Security

Security is Facebook’s first concern when it comes to iFrames. Social Commerce accounts for those rules and ensures your shop, product, cart and checkout processes can display and function without controversy, while providing a handoff to your chosen payment gateway outside of Facebook to satisfy any additional requirements from your gateway. For example, Paypal does not allow itself to be used from within an “iframe” or the part of the page tab that displays the shop. When handling payments, therefore we send your buyers to your main site or directly to the gateway’s payment page in a new browser tab. This is explained in more detail in the setup guide.

Dependencies

WooCommerce

Social Commerce is designed specifically for use with the WooCommerce plugin, which must be Active and configured prior to setup of Social Commerce. For information on installing, configuring or using WooCommerce, visit their documentation page. If you are using an Obox theme that supports WooCommerce, theme-specific setup and configuration info is available in your Theme Documentation. We also offer a short checklist of settings required by Facebook in the next article.

SSL Certificate

You will need a professionally signed SSL certificate setup for your domain. This is a Facebook requirement and cannot be skipped!

Additionally, all content you intend to be displayed in the Facebook page must be hosted on the domain your SSL certificate is setup for. If you have cloud-hosted images, for example, your host must assist you in domain masking them and ensuring they are protected by your site’s SSL.

For more information, check with your host or get a certificate at Host Gator

Plugin & Theme Compatibility

  • Social Commerce is compatible with most themes with or without built-in WooCommerce support. Themes such as U-Design that implement WooCommerce support via a plugin will not allow other plugins to theme your shop. You can ask the theme author to provide a child theme instead of a plugin to solve this.
  • Shortcodes, widgets or plugins that depend on your main site’s theme will not work with Social Commerce active, as your main theme is not loaded.
  • Most WooCommerce extensions will continue to work with Social Commerce.

Support

Support for Social Commerce is offered through OboxThemes on this site and includes troubleshooting of the plugin, setup help and basic questions about CSS classes for those who want to manually customize. Issues with WooCommerce functionality, extensions or 3rd Party themes and plugins may be directed to the author for support. For general questions about how to use WooCommerce, including product setup, taxes and payment gateways, refer to WooCommerce support.

 

Ready to setup your Facebook shop? Begin here.