Social media giant Facebook is stepping into the e-commerce space, as the firm hopes to cash in on the industry’s boom.
This week, the Silicon Valley firm announced Facebook Shop, a new e-commerce platform that it launched with its subsidiary, Instagram. In a Livestream, the firm explained that Shops would integrate with the entire Facebook family of apps.
A Better, More Efficient Sales Platform
The service is free, and it will allow businesses to set up listings for their products on their Instagram and Facebook profiles. They can also like products on their Instagram Stories and via ads on any of the platforms.
While this is the original iteration, Facebook has announced that it will be looking to allow businesses to sell their products straight to customers via the Shops platform. As the firm explained, it hopes to integrate the service into its chat services – Instagram Direct, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
In addition, business owners will be able to tag products during live streams on Instagram and Facebook, thus allowing customers to click on the tags and go straight to the ordering page for the product.
Via the Livestream, company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said, “It’s one simple and consistent experience across this family of apps, which means it is easier for people. That, of course, means there’ll be higher conversions and more sales for small businesses.”
It’s worth noting that Facebook has done its bit to move into the e-commerce market, the firm has a classifieds section, known as Marketplace. However, that service primarily allows users to “boost” their listings and improve visibility to more people across their News Feed.
Facebook also announced in 2018 that it would be launching product ads from businesses that have profiles on Marketplace.
Still, Shops is a more encompassing shopping experience that will allow business owners to work more seamlessly and reach a broader market. Integration with Facebook’s family of apps will also help provide greater ease of use.
Facebook Panders to Customers’ Needs Amid the Pandemic
The move is coming as companies across the country are adapting to the change in the marketplace. With stay-at-home orders still in place across most of the country, the coronavirus pandemic has had significant effects on companies and small businesses the most.
Facebook believes that the new feature can help small businesses remain operational, as it provides them with a robust online service that will help ease their operations. Whether restaurants or retailers, anyone can open a business page on Shops for free and make money.
Most likely, the company will move to monetize the service when market conditions stabilize.
Shops is part of Facebook’s play to meet the needs of people who have been affected by the pandemic. Last month, the company launched Rooms – a drop-in video chat service – to rival Zoom’s gallery view and Houseparty, a spontaneous video chat service that gained massive buzz at the time.
The feature allows anyone to start a video chat and share the link with their friends. At the same time, friends can also discover video chats in a new section above the News Feed.
Also, the firm announced virtual background features for its video call service, while WhatsApp expanded the maximum number of participants on a video call from four to eight. Instagram’s Live feature is also now available to people on the web platform.