Facebook has announced its next evolution in social commerce – a new Shops feature that allows businesses to set up their online stores quickly.
Despite people buying and selling things on Facebook for years, the platform has certainly taken its time to develop full-blown e-commerce solutions. Sure, over time, there have been moves to satisfy the needs of businesses that want to reach customers and sell their wares on Facebook and Instagram, but efforts haven’t been holistic enough to be called “well-rounded.”
Now, Facebook is trying to change that with a new set of features aimed at helping small businesses adapt to the new reality – many businesses are struggling, shutting down their stores, and more and more are looking to bring their business online. Furthermore, more and more people like to both discover and shop online.
As the announcement reads, Facebook wants “to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying.”
Facebook is introducing Facebook Shops, making it easier for businesses to set up an online store so that their customers can discover and purchase their products on both Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Shops are free to use and simple to create, letting businesses choose the products (from their catalog) that they want to appear, and allowing them to customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and colors that represent their brand. Any seller, big or small, can now “bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.”
Facebook Shops can then be found on a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile, and people can also discover them through Stories or ads. From there, people can see the full collection of products, save products they are interested in, and place an order on the business’ website. If a business has enabled checkout (available in the US), customers can buy products without ever leaving the app.
Facebook Shops also offers customers the ability to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries, and more. In the future, customers will be able to view a business’ shop and make purchases within chats in WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct.
Facebook Shops are rolling out this week but will be more widely available in the next few months.
Instagram Shops – a new place to discover products and brands in Instagram Explore – starts rolling out this summer in the US. It will let people get inspired by collections from @shop, browse selections from their favorite brands and creators, let them filter by categories, and shop the looks they love, all in one place.
Later this year, Facebook will add a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so that people can get to it in just one tap.
Live Shopping Features
Live video is an ideal format to showcase products, but Facebook wants to make it easier for people to shop for products in real-time. Soon, sellers, brands, and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and have those products shown at the bottom of the video. People can then tap to learn more or purchase.
Facebook will test this with businesses on Facebook and Instagram first but will be rolling it out more broadly soon.
Connecting Loyalty Programs to Your Facebook Account
In addition to exploring how to help businesses create, manage, and promote their loyalty programs on Facebook Shop, Facebook is testing ways to make it easier for businesses to connect their loyalty programs with their Facebook account.
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