Facebook is rolling out a new online shopping feature as CEO Mark Zuckerberg touts the importance of online commerce during the coronavirus pandemic.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday unveiled Facebook Shops, a free service that allows businesses to set up online stores to sell products directly within Facebook and Instagram. There will also be support in WhatsApp and Messenger, Zuckerberg said.
Here is his full message he posted on the Facebook.
“I just announced that we’re launching Facebook Shops today – the basic idea is that any small business can easily start a shop to sell things directly across our apps. If you visit someone’s shop, you’ll be able to see that small business’s story, see their featured products, and buy them in our apps.
I think this particularly important right now because so many small businesses are moving online to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19. As people are being told to stay home, physical storefronts are having a hard time staying open and millions of people are losing their jobs. I’ve been personally working with our teams on Facebook Shops every day for the last couple of months so we could accelerate launching it to small businesses who could use tools like this now.
Facebook Shops are free and easy to create. When you set up your shop, it will appear on your Facebook and Instagram accounts to start and soon on Messenger and WhatsApp too. Shops are native and fast, which means no more app-switching to a slow mobile web browser where you have to reenter your credit card when you tap on an interesting product you see in feeds. We’re also working with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics so that small businesses can easily integrate into a strong, open ecosystem of tools to help them manage their customer journey end-to-end, and it’s up to the business to decide what level of integration they want.
On top of that, we’re building a bunch of features across our apps to help people discover things from small businesses that they might want to buy. We’re building a dedicated shopping tab on Instagram and a destination inside Explore where you can find and buy products you might be interested in. Soon, we’ll also be launching new Live shopping features across Facebook and Instagram, which will allow you to shop on Live in real-time.
Lastly, in the near future Shops will use our AI and augmented reality tech to create better shopping experiences. We’ll automatically identify and tag products in feeds so people can easily click-through to purchase when they find things they like. Small businesses will also be able to personalize their storefronts to first show products that are most relevant to you and use augmented reality to let you virtually try on things like sunglasses, lipstick or makeup to see how they might look on you before buying, or what furniture might look like in your room.
This all adds up to something quite powerful. If you’re running a small business or you’re thinking of starting one – even from your living room – you now have a whole suite of tools available that can help you serve people. You can build out your online presence across Facebook and Instagram. You can use Messenger and WhatsApp to communicate with your customers. You can reach new customers through our ads. And now, you can also set up a full online store experience with Facebook Shops. All of these tools are open for business, even when your physical storefront can’t be. Hopefully this helps relieve some of the pressure that small businesses are facing right now and helps them prepare for a more online future. I look forward to getting Shops into the world more widely — let us know what you think!”
This is also the latest new product that Facebook is unveiling amid the coronavirus pandemic after rolling out the 50-person video chat service Messenger Rooms in competition with Zoom.