With most of the world still in lockdown and more businesses moving into the online world, Facebook has announced that it will be expanding its ecommerce capabilities by allowing businesses to sell products directly from their pages on both Facebook and Instagram.
The social media site stated that it is building new tools in order to make online shopping seamless as businesses look to strengthen their digital presence.
The main Facebook platform will see the launch of Facebook Shops. This is a free-to-use tool that has been designed with mobile-first in mind. This goes for both the setting up of the shop and buying items from it.
When setting up their Facebook Shop, businesses will be able to choose which of their products to feature, with them being able to highlight and showcase certain products in individual sections. Brands will be able to customise their shops to an extent, so that it will feel more authentic to that business as opposed to giving the feel of buying something from Facebook Marketplace.
The Shops will be discoverable through the business’ Facebook and Instagram profiles, as well as though ads and stories. If customers have any questions throughout the purchasing process, they are able to communicate with the business through Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct. Transactions can be fully completed on Facebook or on the business’ own website depending on preference.
Facebook is starting to launch this feature now and it will become more widely available in the next couple of months.
In a similar way to Facebook Shops, Instagram Shop can be used to discover and purchase products without having to leave the app. It will be discoverable through the platform’s Explore section, where users will be able to browse through products from their favourite brands. It will be rolled out during the summer in the US before expanding further afield.
Facebook is also working on a way to introduce shopping in real-time during a Facebook Live stream. Prior to going live, a business page can tag products from their Shop and these will then be shown at the bottom of the page during the live broadcast. Those watching can then tap of the product to learn more about it and complete a purchase. This is currently being tested on both Facebook and Instagram and is expected to be rolled out in the next few months.
To encourage users to shop through Facebook, the company is making it possible for users to earn rewards from the business they regularly use by connecting a loyalty programme to a Facebook account. In the programme, users will earn loyalty points and rewards. Businesses will be able to connect existing programmes to their Facebook Shop or create a new one. This is also still in the testing phase.
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