Facebook and Instagram Push Further Into Ecommerce with Shops and Payments

Facebook

Facebook announced today they are launching Facebook Shops, an easy way for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram.

Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand.

This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.

People can find Facebook Shops on a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile, or discover them through stories or ads.

From there, shoppers can browse the full collection, save products they’re interested in and place an order — either on the business’ website or without leaving the app if the business has enabled checkout in the US.

The checkout feature is a new program also launched today on Instagram, but it is still in early beta and limited to select U.S. brands.

Facebook Shops Features Instant Communication

You like when shopping in a physical store and interested buyers have questions, in Facebook Shops customers will be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries and more.

Facebook Shops is rolling out today and it will become widely available in the coming months.

Facebook is also investing in features across its apps like Instagram Shop, live shopping and more that will be integrated with Facebook Shops to help customers discover products they’re interested in and make purchasing easier.

Introducing Instagram Shop

This summer, starting in the U.S., Facebook is introducing Instagram Shop, a new way for Instagram users to discover and buy products in Instagram Explore.

Shoppers can get inspired by collections from @shop, browse selections from favorite brands and creators, filter by categories like beauty and home, and purchase the looks all in one place.

And later this year, Facebook is also adding a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so shoppers can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.

Live Shopping Features

People have been using live video on Facebooks apps to showcase products for years, from shoe stores announcing new sneakers to beauty influencers trying on different lipsticks.

Facebook is now making it easier to shop for products in real time. Soon, sellers, brands and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase.

The company is starting to test this with businesses on Facebook and Instagram and they’ll roll it out more broadly in the coming months.

Connecting Loyalty Programs

Facebook is also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses by enabling buyers to connect loyalty programs, like the points program at a local cafe, to a user’s Facebook account.

Customers will be able to easily see and keep track of your points and rewards and the company is exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.

Working With Partners

Facebook will be working more closely with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to give small businesses the support they need.

These organizations offer powerful tools to help entrepreneurs start and run their businesses and move online.

Social Commerce

Facebook Shops builds on the local Facebook Marketplace by introducing more powerful ecommerce features that mimic marketplaces like eBay and Etsy.

It also brings to the largest social media platform social commerce, popular in many Asian countries, but also popularized in the U.S. by niche marketplaces such as Poshmark who recently added shoppable videos.

The big unknown for Facebook will be privacy and Facebook immediately posted a blog post on its site on how it will protect the privacy of consumers while shopping.

Facebook faces an uphill battle convincing consumers to use its platforms for ecommerce. The eventual adaptions of Facebook as a defacto marketplace for commerce will depend on if it can convince consumers that their information will remain private and secure.

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