Facebook turns online biz profiles into stores with latest Shops function

Facebook has unveiled Facebook Shops to empower small business owners and global brands to create a single online store for consumers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. This comes as businesses struggle to stay afloat during the pandemic and Facebook wants to help them go online. The businesses are able to choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase their brand.

According to Facebook, this means that any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it is convenient for them. Facebook Shops can be found on a business’ Facebook page or Instagram profile, or are discoverable through stories or ads. From there, consumers can browse the full collection, save products they are interested in and place an order. This can be done either on the business’ website or without leaving the app if the business has enabled checkout in the US.

Facebook Shops also allows consumers to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger of Instagram Direct to ask questions, receive support, and track deliveries, among others.

Moving forward, consumers will also be able to view a business’ shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct.

The new function rolled out recently and will be more widely available in the coming months. Additionally, Facebook is also allowing users to connecting their loyalty programmes to their Facebook account. Through this, they will be able to easily track their points and rewards. It is also exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and launch a loyalty programme on Facebook Shops.

Partnerships are key to Facebook when it comes to the roll out of Facebook Shops. As such, it is collaborating more closely with partners such as Shopify, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to give small businesses the support they require. Marketing has reached out to Facebook for additional information on the potential roll out in Asia Pacific.

Separately, it also introducing features such as Instagram Shop and live shopping which will be integrated with Facebook Shops, to help consumers discover products they are interested in and make purchasing easier. Instagram Shop will be introduced to consumers this summer in the US, offering them a new way to discover and purchase products in Instagram Explore. Later in the year, a new shop tab will be added to the navigation bar to allow users to access Instagram Shop in just one tap.

facebook shops instagram integration

Additionally, Facebook also said it is trying to make it easier for consumers to shop for products in real time, noting that users having been turning to live video on its apps to showcase products. According to Facebook, sellers, brands and creators will soon be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalogue before going live. Those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so users can easily tap to learn more and purchase. The company is testing this function with businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and will roll it out more broadly in the coming months.

Separately, TikTok is also reportedly testing an in-app shopping feature. Last November, Fabien Bern, founder and growth director of UPLAB, a Chinese influencer agency specialising in TikTok, tweeted that the platform has allegedly rolled out a "link in bio" and "social commerce URLs" in videos. Bern added in a subsequent tweet that the function is currently in public beta and is offered to selected creators, such as the best performing ones. TikTok's spokesperson told Marketing previously that the function is being tested in the US.

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