Facebook has announced several new shopping updates across its apps, including the expansion of Shops to WhatsApp and Marketplace.
In a Live Audio Room earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced three big e-commerce updates across its apps – the expansion of Shops to WhatsApp and Marketplace, Shops Ads, and an AI-powered visual search.
The way people shop has changed a lot over the years, and since COVID-19 shut down businesses over a year ago, it has changed a lot more. To help more businesses sell online, Facebook accelerated the launch of Shops last year, but new data about consumers globally shows that e-commerce is still booming.
One in three shoppers globally plan to spend less time in stores after the pandemic, and almost three-quarters say they get shopping ideas from Facebook, Instagram, Messenger. To take advantage of this trend and help more businesses sell online, Facebook is moving faster in this direction with three new e-commerce updates to its apps.
In addition to these updates, Facebook will be making more investments in Shops over time and waiving fees for business sellers through June 2022.
Shops on WhatsApp & Marketplace
In an effort to bring Shops to more people, Facebook will soon be giving businesses in select countries the ability to add their Shop to WhatsApp. Furthermore, in the US, Facebook is allowing them to bring Shops products into Marketplace as well, “helping them reach the more than 1 billion people globally who visit each month.”
Over the next few months, Facebook will also be expanding ratings and reviews to products in Shops on Instagram, and soon users will be able to see photos and videos from the community.
Facebook says that “these changes will help people make more informed decisions on what to buy, and will let businesses know if they are meeting customer expectations.”
Personalizing Shops Ads
In an effort to “offer shopping experiences that are seamless and relevant” as well as personalized, Facebook is introducing Shops ads that give people unique experiences based on their shopping preferences. As part of this, Facebook is testing the ability for businesses to send shoppers where they’re most likely to make a purchase, for example, based on their shopping behavior.
Facebook will also soon look at ways to help brands personalize their Shops ads even further, with special offers or promotions to select shoppers.
The features expand on existing tools like Shopping Custom Audiences or ads with product tags.
Instagram Visual Search & AR Dynamic Ads
As part of its investment in augmented reality and AI, Facebook is working on visual discovery tools for Instagram to help shoppers find new products and visualize products before purchasing them.
Later this year, Facebook will start testing a new AI-powered visual search to help people find similar products by tapping on a product they like. Later on, they will also be able to conduct visual searches with photos stored on their devices.
According to Facebook data, two-thirds of online shoppers want to try on products virtually. To help them “get a better feel for the fit of a product before they purchase,” Facebook will be making it easier for brands to create AR try-on experiences in Shops using new API integrations with Modiface and Perfect Corp.
Soon, brands will also be able to upload AR product catalogs for ads that will automatically display the right products to the right people based on their interests.
Finally, Facebook is also experimenting with Live Shopping on Facebook and a personalized shopping experience – Live Shopping Fridays.
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