Facebook Inc is launching Shops, a service that will allow businesses to display and sell products on the world’s largest social network’s platforms, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday.
"We want to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying. And we want to help small businesses adapt and make it easier for people to discover and shop for things they love," Facebook said.
Right now many small businesses are struggling, and with stores closing, more are looking to bring their business online.
Facebook Shops make it easy 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 catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand.
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.
In Facebook Shops you’ll be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries and more. And 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.
Facebook is starting to roll out Facebook Shops and it will be more widely available in the coming months.
This summer, starting in the US, is also 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, Facebook is adding a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.
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. Faceboo is starting to test this with businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and will roll it out more broadly in the coming months.
Facebook is also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses 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 see and keep track of your points and rewards. And Facebook is exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.
Finally, Facebook is working more closely with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, 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.
Facebook’s push into commerce could help boost its advertising business. If retailers believe they can close a sale directly on Facebook or Instagram, they may be more likely to promote products on those apps. But commerce could also offer an alternative revenue stream to advertising. When users buy a product directly through Instagram, for example, the company takes a small cut of those sales. Instagram only works with a few hundred retailers right now for direct checkout. Shops could eventually increase that number by hundreds of thousands, or even millions.
Facebook says that your activity in Facebook Shops will not be shared with your friends or to your profile or feed, unless you choose to share it. For example, you may choose to send an item you’re interested in to a friend via WhatsApp or Messenger or add it to your Instagram Story. When you browse a business’s shop, Facebook shares aggregated insights with the business about shop performance and traffic, but it don’t share information that personally identifies you, such as your name or email address that can be used by itself to identify or contact you, unless you give Facebook permission to do so.
As with other parts of Facebook, Facebook uses your activity from Facebook Shops to personalize your experience on our apps and show you more relevant content, including ads. This means your activity across our apps may influence what you see in Shops, and your activity in Shops may influence what you see elsewhere on Facebook and Instagram. For example, if you look through collections of bicycles in Shops, you might see more content, including ads, about bicycles in feed, stories, Explore and other places across our apps.
If you make a purchase in Shops with Facebook Pay on Facebook or with checkout on Instagram, Facebook will collect information in order to help complete your purchase, such as the payment method, transaction date, billing, shipping and contact details. Facebook promised to securely store and encrypt your payment card numbers. And the payment card numbers you provide will not be used to personalize your experience or inform the ads you see.
When using Shops, you can either purchase from a business on their website or directly on Facebook or Instagram if the merchant has enabled Facebook Pay or checkout. If you use Facebook Pay on Facebook or checkout on Instagram to make a purchase, you can choose whether you want to opt in to receive marketing emails from the business. You’ll also be able to add or remove payment methods and view transactions on Facebook or Instagram.