Facebook Shops are Here!

Yolanda Curtis
May 22, 2020

Facebook on has re-enforced its commitment to supporting small businesses with the launch of its new feature called "Shops".

Users can message businesses via Facebook's messaging apps - WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct - to ask questions or get support.

Facebook Shops, which is basically a customizable online storefront, will be available on the Instagram profile or the Facebook page of the business.

The move comes as Facebook expands its core business to accommodate those affected by the pandemic.

In the USA, customers will be able to check out directly within Facebook - though this feature has yet to make it to Australia and New Zealand. But that may not be moving the needle much for artists who weren't already live streaming.

And according to industry firm UBS the drive toward online shopping will only become more important for businesses in a post-Covid-19 world.

Once completing the free setup, businesses can choose the products they want to feature in the store from their catalogue and can then customise their shop with a cover image and accent colours. Helping small businesses benefit Facebook because the company makes money through advertising dollars.

The clearest competitive advantage is price. "And we're exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and surface a loyalty programme on Facebook Shops".

Currently, there are currently more than 160 million businesses using Facebook.

Shares of Facebook rose by 6.4 percent to a record-high of $230.75 on Wednesday after the company's CEO and Co-Founder, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Shops on Tuesday.

"At Facebook serving small businesses is our business", Zuckerberg says.

Later this year, the Instagram navigation bar will also be updated to include a shop tab to allow customers to access the shop in one tap.

Merchants in the U.S. can use a Facebook checkout service to handle transactions, paying a nominal fee.

And while Facebook Shops starts rolling out today, Instagram Shops will make its debut this summer in the US. Similarly, companies will be able to provide customer support through Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, while Facebook wants to gradually ensure the purchase of items in the chat window. For example, Shopify said, "Facebook Shops allows Shopify merchants to get control over customization and merchandising for their storefronts inside Facebook and Instagram, while managing their products, inventory, orders, and fulfillment directly from within Shopify". 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.

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