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Social media giant Facebook Inc. has launched Facebook Shops, a new way to sell and purchase products on the popular social networking website that’s home to over 2.6 billion users across the world.
As Coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses and shops to come to a standstill, Facebook Shops enables what the company is calling “social commerce” as it lets business owners set up an online storefront where they can list the entirety of their catalogue.
Facebook Shops is aimed towards bringing small and medium businesses online and more than 1 million businesses have already registered for access to the new feature. Creating a storefront on Facebook Shops is free and easy as companies can choose the products to feature on Facebook from their list of offerings and can populate their online stores with images and themes to build their brand. This comes in handy especially for small businesses who often don’t have the kind of budget to splurge on massive advertising campaigns in order to attract potential buyers.
It’s important to note here that Facebook along with Instagram was already helping businesses sell products on their respective platforms with Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Checkout features respectively. Facebook Shops, therefore, is the next step in bringing more brands and shops online and give them the space to function on social media platforms.
“We want to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying. And we want to help small businesses adapt and make it easier for people to discover and shop for things they love,” Facebook said in a press release.
Shopping from Facebook Shops is fairly simple. Users can find online storefronts from a Facebook page or an Instagram profile and also from direct ads. Facebook Shops can also be directly advertised and the company will charge businesses for each purchase made through online storefronts on Facebook.
In the US, Facebook Shops also supports checkout which ensures that the whole shopping experience happens within the Facebook app without the need for users to go to a separate checkout gateway.
If you see something on Facebook Shops and want to get in touch with the company before placing the order, you can connect to the business by sending a message through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct. Facebook also stated that it’s developing Facebook Shops further and users will be able to view and purchase products right within Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram.
Facebook is also testing a new way for users to earn rewards by loyalty programs-like points that will allow users to claim rewards on Facebook Shops.
Facebook also gave a glimpse of an upcoming feature on Instagram that will be released sometime in Summer 2020 starting with the US. Dubbed Instagram Shop, Facebook says that it’s a “new way” to discover products from different brands and the creative community. There will be a separate tab in the navigation bar for Instagram Shop where users can browse through collections of products and filter them based on their preferences.
The company has also revealed a new live shopping feature that will let sellers, brands and influencers list products from Facebook Shops or Instagram Shop and feature it in a live video. The selected products will be displayed in a separate tab on the bottom of the Facebook or Instagram Live. These new features and tools will be rolled out to more regions in the coming months.
Recently, Facebook acquired popular GIF-making platform Giphy for $400 million and plans to integrate it with Instagram in the near future.