The rollout will launch earlier than planned to help businesses during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Businesses can now set up a single online store, without paying any fees, to sell products on Facebook and Instagram. Efforts to launch the service have been accelerated, as Facebook realised that demand for a selling platform was growing. A spokesperson from Facebook said: “We want to make sure we’re moving quickly to get these tools in the hands of as many businesses, big or small, to help them survive during this time.” Instagram has also launched an online store.
The shopping feature will also eventually appear on WhatsApp and the company’s other messaging apps and integrate with live streams. The stores will appear on business pages, Instagram profiles and through targeted ads. Buyers can be directed to the company’s website to complete the transaction and can also use Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram to communicate with sellers.
Facebook Shops is part of a wider range of changes planned by Facebook, which include a loyalty scheme and a Shop button on Instagram’s main navigation bar.
Many retail businesses have taken to Facebook as a method of communicating and engaging with customers while closed, or to update them on revised services available during retail lockdown. Many independent toy retailers have told Toy World that the platform has been useful to update customers on whether they are still trading, what stock they have available in real time, and to organise local kerbside, or wider postal, delivery services.
Now customers will be able to complete the purchase process directly from retailers’ profiles. It is hoped that the move will help some businesses survive during the current challenging period for retail.