With COVID-19 bringing traditional retail markets to the brink of extinction as people have been unable to go out and shop as they did before, it’s time for more companies to embrace the e-commerce space. While this is possible for many large retailers and companies who have been able to make this migration successfully, the cost and technical proficiency to do so for many small businesses is just not possible.
That’s a problem that Facebook wants to try and solve as they launch their next innovation in the form of Shops, with the aim to bring more local businesses online and help them connect with their potential customers through Facebook’s ecosystem. Like Pages, shops themselves are free to create, though if they want to make use of Facebook’s advertising ecosystem, they will need to pay for this with Facebook charging a fee if they use Facebook’s checkout option.
Not all businesses might feel okay to put their shop fronts on Facebook, but with the company handling a lot of the risk around e-commerce and providing free online space, it’s a pretty good option for many shops to start selling their goods online in a way that allows them to still maintain some form of control of their branding, unlike Facebooks Marketplace. Shops will also be available through both Facebook and Instagram, creating a presence across both social media sites and also allowing for payments to be done in a single, secure space across both.
Along with allowing a business to create their own e-commerce space, Shops will also let them handle customer support issues through Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The company also plans to eventually let customers browse store catalogues and make purchases directly from the chat windows and enable shopping from livestreams. Facebook is also working to integrate loyalty programs with shops.
Along with Shops, comes a new feature that will make use of artificial intelligence to identify consumer goods, from furniture to fast fashion and fast cars, making it even easier for people using Shops and Marketplace to upload items and have all the necessary details listed, along with helping consumers find the right goods they are looking for. It is hoped (according to an interview with The Verge) that this technology could even be expanded to become an online fashion consultant or interior decorator in the future, even if that future is still quite far away.
Shops is launching out on Facebook for now, with Instagram’s integration to it coming out later this year. Many companies already have a presence on the social media platforms and now enabling customers to buy directly from these could be a big boost for them. And no doubt Facebook’s coffers too.
Last Updated: May 20, 2020