Facebook has this week announced a new e-commerce tool, Facebook shops, which will allow business owners to set up an online store on both Facebook and Instagram for free.
Facebook announced the move in a blog post, May 19, which states:
Right now many small businesses are struggling, and with stores closing, more are looking to bring their business online. 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. That’s why we’re launching Facebook Shops and investing in features across our apps that inspire people to shop and make buying and selling online easier.
Facebook shops will let businesses set up a single online store for customers on both Facebook and Instagram. It’s free and features customization options such as cover images and colors to complement your brand. The new Facebook Shops feature can be found either within a business’ Facebook page or on your Instagram profile. They can also be pushed out to customers through stories or adverts, and people can browse, save products, and purchase right from within the app. It also supports messages through WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger if customers need support. Facebook Shops started rolling out yesterday and is due to become more widely available in the coming months. It is currently only rolling out in the U.S.
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Facebook also announced a new Instagram Shop feature:
This summer, starting in the US, we’re 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, we’re adding a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.
In the blog, Facebook also announced new live shopping, which will let people like influencers tag links to products they are using in real-time, so if you see a live video of something you like, you can buy it directly from the live video.
Finally, Facebook announced new testing to help make loyalty programs more connected in Facebook:
We’re also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses you love 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 easily see and keep track of your points and rewards. And we’re exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.
You can read the full post regarding all of these new initiatives here.