Facebook is making a major new push into e-commerce and launches Shops
Facebook recently announced the launch of Shops, a way for businesses to set up free storefronts in the app and on Instagram. The shops, which will be powered by third-party services, including Shopify, BigCommerce, and Woo, are designed to turn the social network into a top-tier shopping destination.
In a live stream, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said expanded e-commerce would be important to begin rebuilding the economy while the pandemic continues. “If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online businesses get online for the first time.”
Introducing Facebook Shops – Mark Zuckerberg’s Launch Speech:
The launch of Shops comes as stay-at-home orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to record sales for e-commerce companies. The pandemic has also been devastating for small businesses, with a third of them reporting that they have stopped operating in a survey conducted by Facebook and the Small Business Roundtable. An additional 11 percent say they could fail within the next three months if the current situation continues.
While Shops are free to create, they could create significant new business opportunities for Facebook in advertising, payments, and other services. Businesses will be able to buy ads for their Shops, and when people use Facebook’s checkout option, it charges them a fee.
Zuckerberg said Shops will improve on the standard web commerce experience by storing users’ payment credentials in a single place that they can then use on any Facebook or Instagram storefront. There are currently more than 160 million small businesses using the company’s apps.
Shops can be found on businesses’ Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, and they can also appear in stories or be promoted in ads. Items that businesses have made available for purchase will appear within the shop, and users can either save items or place an order. Some businesses enable users to make purchases directly on Facebook, while others will take you to the business’s website to complete the transaction.
And just like when you’re in a physical store and need to ask someone for help, in Facebook Shops you’ll be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries and more. And in the future, you’ll be able to view a business’ shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct.
Connecting Loyalty Programs to Your Facebook Account
They’re also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses you love by enabling to connect loyalty programs, like the points program at the local cafe, to the Facebook account. This way it will be easy to see and keep track of points and rewards. And they’re also exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.
Instagram Shop: A New Place to Discover Products and Brands
This summer, starting in the US, they’re also introducing Instagram Shop, a new way to discover and buy products you love in Instagram Explore. Main features: get inspired by collections from @shop, browse selections from your favorite brands and creators, filter by categories like beauty and home, and purchase the looks you love all in one place. And later this year, they are adding a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.