Similar to virtual shops on e-commerce websites, enterprises on social media will now be able to turn their business profiles into storefronts exhibiting all their goods and services for people to buy directly from Facebook and Instagram.
Although businesses have been able to feature and advertise their goods on Facebook Marketplace, the new tool goes further. It allows a business to create a virtual storefront containing all its products with Facebook Shop.
Similarly, businesses on Instagram also received an upgrade as customers will now be able to see all their goods and not just the ones featured in posts and ads. According to the company, Instagram Shop is scheduled to launch this summer.
Facebook’s growing support for social e-commerce
Over the past year, Facebook has rolled out a series of initiatives supporting social e-commerce on its platforms. Now that the economic fallout of the pandemic is seriously affecting businesses, Facebook’s growing support can go a long way in helping them survive.
In March, the company announced a $100 million grant program for up to 30,000 businesses in about 30 countries who have taken a big hit in both revenue and access to credit due to the pandemic.
It also created a Business Hub with tips and resources for businesses trying to survive during the outbreak. Later in May, it rolled out a feature called Businesses Nearby which allows you to find and support businesses in your neighbourhood.
Now, the social media giant has rolled out another tool to allow people
browse and buy products directly from a business’ Facebook page or Instagram profile.
This could help small businesses considerably as the pandemic has made social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram the go-to source of information on local restaurants and stores for consumers.
In a live session, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg described the company’s measures as a way to to help businesses suffering in the wake of COVID-19. He, however, acknowledged that that will not undo all the economic damage.
How to use Facebook Shop
To use Facebook Shop, businesses will first have to create a shop. Then they just have to upload their product catalogue, select the choice products they want to feature, then customize it with a cover image and accent colours for aesthetics.
Potential customers and visitors can then browse, save and order products as they do on e-commerce platforms.
Facebook’s vice president of ads, Dan Levy described ‘Shop’ as a build and render anywhere solution. He further explained that Facebook Shop is consistent but customers will be able to discover it from different places like ads, featured posts, and the Marketplace on Facebook or a product tag on Instagram.
Also, businesses will able to use third-party platforms to manage their Shops, as Facebook has announced that it is partnering with Shopify, BigCommerce, Woo, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics.
For example, Spotify businesses can carry out customization and merchandising for their storefronts inside Facebook and Instagram Shops, while managing their products, inventory, orders, and fulfilment directly from within Shopify.
However, Levy says Facebook will charge small fees on each purchase on the platform.
Facebook also plans to add features that allow users to jump into a shopping experience from the app’s main navigation tab. It will also allow users to browse products directly from Instagram Explore and connect loyalty programs to their Facebook accounts.
Merchants can also link in their live video products from their Facebook Stores.
The Facebook Shop is ready to roll out and the company has said there is a big global test of the feature and nearly a million businesses have already signed up.