Starting today, you’ll be able to browse and buy products directly from a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile. Facebook announced on Tuesday, it is launching Shops, a service that will allow businesses to display and sell products on its platforms.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, is positioning Shops as a tool for small businesses, many of which have had to close their doors and move online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Facebook currently allows sales on the platform through Marketplace, which was launched in 2016 and allows users to sell personal belongings to each other, much like Craigslist. Shops will be aimed primarily at businesses, allowing them to sell to customers on the app and potentially posing a challenge to commerce rivals such as Etsy and Amazon, which have profited from the increased online sales that have come with Covid-19 lockdowns.
Facebook Shops will tie at least some of those efforts together, enabling businesses to set up a single online store accessible via both Facebook and Instagram. A checkout feature will enable in-app purchases.
“Our goal is to make shopping seamless and empower anyone from a small business owner to a global brand to use our apps to connect with customers,” Zuckerberg said in a video announcing the new product.
Levy described this as a “build and render anywhere” solution, with Shah adding that “the shop itself will be very consistent, whether it’s on Facebook or Instagram.” What will differ is how consumers discover the shops, whether it’s via the Facebook Marketplace or a product tagged in a photo on Instagram.
The company also plans to launch this summer another experience called Instagram Shop, allowing users to browse products directly from Instagram Explore and eventually to jump into a shopping experience from the app’s main navigation tab. There will also be ways for merchants to feature and link in their live videos products from their Facebook Stores, and for consumers to connect loyalty programs to their Facebook accounts.
As part of this announcement, Facebook said it’s partnering with Shopify, BigCommerce, Woo, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics.
Merchants will be able to use these third-party platforms to manage their Facebook Shops, as well as the ads tied to those Shops. For example, Shopify said, “Facebook Shops allows Shopify merchants to get control over customization and merchandising for their storefronts inside Facebook and Instagram while managing their products, inventory, orders, and fulfilment directly from within Shopify.”
Facebook Shops will be available in some locations starting on Tuesday and roll out globally over the coming months.