Tech giants Facebook are set to roll out a new feature “Shops”, which will be running on their two major platforms Facebook and Instagram as they continue with the bid to help businesses realize transactions on the platform.
Both Facebook and Instagram have already supported a degree of e-commerce — for example, Facebook has its Marketplace and will likely make a bigger push through its Libra cryptocurrency initiative, while Instagram allows users to buy products featured in posts and ads. But the company’s new tools go further, enabling businesses to create a full-fledged Facebook Shop.
After all, the pandemic has probably made consumers even more likely to treat Facebook and Instagram profiles as the go-to source of information on local restaurants and stores. This could probably be the time that Facebook thought best to bring a new product.
The company has already used a no-fees approach in its Marketplace for personal classifieds. “It’s bigger than usual just because we want to make sure we’re moving quickly to get these tools in the hands of as many businesses wherever they are, big or small, to help them survive during this time,” Facebook’s Layla Amjadi said.
Facebook Introduces Shops for Businesses on the Platform
Product manager, George Lee said it had been in the pipeline for at least half a year. “Obviously, given the current situation, we have accelerated a lot of our efforts,” he said. “We’re in a unique position to be able to contribute to the survival of a bunch of these businesses.”
In a Live session, CEO Mark Zuckerberg described this as a way to help businesses suffering in the wake of COVID-19, though he acknowledged it will not “undo all the economic damage.”
He also suggested that this will remain useful after the pandemic: “I do think we’re going to continue living more of our lives online and doing more business online.”
Once a buyer decides they want to spend money, they will usually be directed to the company’s website to complete the transaction. And if problems arise or a buyer wants to ask questions, they can do so through Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram Direct messages, some of which are already used by companies for that purpose.
The roll-out is part of a wider range of changes planned for shopping across Facebook’s products, including a loyalty scheme that will link things such as points from local coffee shops to the platform and a Shop button, where products and brands will be showcased, on Instagram’s main navigation bar.
Anthony Ha, a senior writer at technology news site TechCrunch, said the pandemic lockdown may have worked in favour of the platform.
“After all, if your favourite store has changed their hours, or switched to online delivery or kerb-side pickup, they’ve almost certainly posted about it on Facebook or Instagram,” he said.
“So it makes sense for Facebook to make the purchase process as easy as possible from those profiles.
“From a business perspective, the obvious goal is to drive more advertising.
“But it’s also worth remembering that the pandemic’s economic fallout will likely kill off many small business – including the ones that post and advertise on the platform.
“So the company has a stake in helping those businesses survive in any way it can.”
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.