Facebook this week introduced Shops, a Facebook and Instagram feature that enables businesses to set up an online store for their customers to access via the social platforms.
It said in a statement: “For years, people have used our apps to buy and sell things from the early days of posting a photo of a bicycle with the caption ‘for sale’, to selling your coffee table on Marketplace and now shopping styles from your favourite brands and influencers on Instagram. It was the people who use our apps who envisioned social commerce. We’re helping them make it a reality.”
It revealed in a report released on Monday the extent to which many small businesses are struggling to survive and, with stores closing, that more are looking to bring their business online.
A Facebook representative said: “Our goal is to make shopping seamless and empower anyone from a small business owner to a global brand to use our apps to connect with customers. That’s why we’re launching Facebook Shops and investing in features across our apps that inspire people to shop and make buying and selling online easier.”
Facebook provided the following information on Shops:
Facebook Shops make it possible for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a Facebook Shop is free. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and then customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase their brand. This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers when it’s convenient for them.
People can find Facebook Shops on a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile, or discover them through stories or ads. From there, you can browse the full collection, save products you’re interested in and place an order either on the business’ website or without leaving the app if the business has enabled checkout in the US.
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, and track deliveries. 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.
We’re starting to roll out Facebook Shops today, and it will be more widely available in the coming months. You can learn more about how we built Shops with privacy in mind here.
We’re also investing in features across our apps like Instagram Shop, live shopping and more that will be integrated with Facebook Shops to help customers discover products they’re interested in and make purchasing easier.
Instagram Shop: A New Place to Discover Products and Brands
This summer, starting in the US, we’re introducing Instagram Shop, a new way to discover and buy products you love in Instagram Explore. You can 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, we’re adding a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.
Live Shopping Features
People have been using live video on our apps to showcase products for years, from shoe stores announcing new sneakers to beauty influencers trying on different lipsticks. Now, we’re making it easier 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 those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase. We’re starting to test this with businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and we’ll roll it out more broadly in the coming months.
Connecting Loyalty Programs to Your Facebook Account
We’re also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses you love by enabling you to connect your loyalty programs, like the points program at your local cafe, to your Facebook account. You’ll be able to easily see and keep track of your points and rewards. And we’re exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.
Working with Partners
We’re also working more closely with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to give small businesses the support they need. These organizations offer powerful tools to help entrepreneurs start and run their businesses and move online. Now they’ll help small businesses build and grow their Facebook Shops and use our other commerce tools.
We hope these tools can relieve some of the pressure small businesses are facing right now and help businesses of all sizes prepare for the future.