Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday announced the new Facebook feature, ‘Facebook Shops’, this would allow businesses to easily list their products for sale on both Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Shops comes at no extra costs; it is as free as owning a Facebook account. Businesses will be able to set up product listings on their Facebook Page, Instagram profile, Stories, or Facebook and Instagram ads. This upgraded feature would have direct links to Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct so that customers will be able to directly contact businesses for any of the products. Businesses would also be able to attach links to items listed in their Facebook Shops during a live session. That way, customers will be redirected to the ordering page once they tap on the link put up by a business.
While Facebook Shops would make it easier for businesses to list their products for sale and directly interact with consumers through any of the Facebook Chat options, businesses must have their websites or landing pages where customers would be redirected to complete purchases. For now, it is only companies participating in Facebook’s Checkout (a new invite-only program Facebook is testing), will be able to make transactions on Facebook. Details of the program are yet to be announced as it is still in beta.
Before now, Facebook has allowed businesses to list their products for sale but they were limited to only the main Facebook app. The feature upgrade will allow businesses to upload their catalogs one time, and make them accessible on all Facebook’s apps – Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.
In a Facebook live stream, Zuckerberg said the move is a “simple and consistent experience across this family of apps, which means it will be easier for people.” It would also generate higher conversion rates and “more sales for small businesses.”
As other major e-Commerce stores continue to make waves during the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook through its Facebook Shops intends to help small businesses reach their customers amid the pandemic. According to Zuckerberg, small businesses make up the majority of its 8 million advertisers, that is why the company has decided to make sales easier for them.
In addition to releasing the Facebook Shops to support small businesses, Facebook also announced that it would create a way for small businesses to directly sell gift cards to consumers and launch a $100 million program to support small businesses through grants.
While Shops are free, it would require businesses to engage their Pages more often and use ads to advertise more. According to Zuckerberg, this move could help Facebook drive more ad sales, as that is the core of the Facebook business model.
“Our business model here is ads, so rather than charge businesses for Shops, we know that if Shops are valuable for businesses they’re going to in general want to bid more for ads… We’ll eventually make money that way,” said Zuckerberg.
Facebook Shops will be available from Tuesday in some countries first and eventually made available to all Facebook consumers in the coming months, according to Facebook.