During the Covid-19 pandemic, Facebook is giving e-commerce a significant boost with the launch of Shops, a tool for quickly creating online stores. It is a free tool that can be applied to both Facebook and Instagram
Stores will feature third-party services, including Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. With this initiative, Facebook wants to become a first-class shopping destination.
In a live broadcast, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that Shops would serve to expand e-commerce and thereby help rebuild the economy as the pandemic continues. “If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and send them to people,” he explains. “We see many small businesses that have never had an online business go online for the first time.”
Facebook launches Shops precisely when orders from home motivated by the Covid-19 pandemic have reached record figures even for small businesses, for which the closure has been devastating. Fortunately, some have been able to resist thanks to online sales precisely.
Now Facebook wants to attract more local businesses to online sales with Shops, thereby also creating great new business opportunities for the platform. And it is that although creating a store with Shops is free, for Facebook the business is expanded through advertising, payments and other services. Companies will be able to buy ads for their stores, and when users choose the Facebook payment option, they are charged a commission.
Zuckerberg explained that stores would be able to enhance the standard web commerce experience by storing users’ payment credentials in one place that they can use at any Facebook or Instagram store. There are currently more than 160 million small businesses using the company’s applications.
Stores can be found on companies’ Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, and can also be featured in stories or promoted in ads. Items that companies make available for purchase will appear inside the store, and users can save or place an order.
Businesses can manage customer support through Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Eventually, the company plans to allow you to browse store catalogs and make purchases directly from the chat window.
It will also enable the purchase of live streams, allowing brands and creators to tag items from their Facebook catalogs to appear at the bottom of live videos. Facebook is also working to integrate loyalty programs with stores.
Facebook introduced in 2016 Marketplace, a space for buying and selling between individuals. Two years later, Instagram started working on a separate shopping app, though it was then abandoned. Instead, last year, Instagram added the payment in the app.
Stores will begin rolling out to Facebook in the United States and will hit Instagram during the summer.