Facebook’s push into e-commerce allows companies to build free stores

Social networking giant Facebook incised on Tuesday to launch a Focus feature that allows companies to set up free stores on Facebook and Instagram,media reported. These storefronts, supported by third-party service providers including Shopify, BigCommerce and Woo, aim to turn social networks into top shopping destinations.

Facebook's push into e-commerce allows companies to build free stores

In a live broadcast, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said expanding e-commerce was crucial to start rebuilding the economy while the new corona outbreak continued to rage. “Even if you can’t open a store or a restaurant in person, you can still accept orders online and ship them to people,” he said. We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that have never had an online business online for the first time. “

Facebook’s launch of the Shops feature comes at a time when isolation from the new crown outbreak has led to record sales for e-commerce companies. The outbreak has been devastating for small businesses, with a third of businesses reporting they have stopped operating in a survey conducted by Facebook and Small Business Roundtable. Another 11 per cent said they could close within the next three months if the current situation continued.

But for small businesses, online sales are always a bright spot. At Etsy, self-employed people struggle to sell products such as knitted masks and baked pastries, and their revenues have doubled from three years ago. Facebook is convinced that getting more local businesses online will help them survive, but will also create huge new business opportunities for Facebook itself.

While online storefronts are free to create, they can create important new business opportunities for Facebook in advertising, payments, and other services. Merchants will be able to buy ads for their stores, and the company will charge them when they use Facebook’s checkout option.

Mr. Zuckerberg said Shops stores users’ payment credentials somewhere, which they can then use in any Facebook or Instagram store, to improve the standard online business experience. More than 160 million small businesses are currently using the company’s app.

Shops can be found on corporate Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, and they can also appear in stories or promote in ads. Merchant-provided items available for purchase will appear in the storefront, and users can save items or place orders. Some businesses can let users shop directly on Facebook, while others take you to the merchant’s website to complete the transaction.

Businesses can handle customer support issues through Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Eventually, Facebook plans to let users browse the store catalog and make purchases directly from the chat window. The company also plans to allow live shopping, allowing brands and creators to tag items in their Facebook catalogs so they can appear at the bottom of live video.

Facebook is also trying to combine loyalty programs with the Shops program. “You can easily see and record your points and rewards,” the company said in a blog post. We’re exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage, and launch loyalty programs at Facebook Shops. “

Facebook has been trying to get involved in business for years. In 2016, it launched Marketplace, the app’s platform for P2P purchases and sales. Two years later, Instagram began developing a stand-alone shopping app and was forced to give up. Instead, last year, Instagram added in-app checkout.

Shops began launching on Facebook in the Us on Tuesday local time and will take to Instagram sometime this summer. Instagram will display its brand on its existing online accounts, which have highlighted what’s available for purchase. Later this year, Facebook plans to add a dedicated shopping tag to its navigation bar.