Facebook has launched a series of updates to its online shopping experience in the wake of Covid-19. With demand for buying products online increasing, consumers will be able to shop more effectively directly from Facebook and Instagram.
The company has unveiled Facebook Shop, which will allow online shoppers to find new businesses and peruse products via the Facebook app. Meanwhile, Facebook-owned Instagram will be opening up new Checkout and Live Shopping features to sellers in the US.
Designed to streamline the online retail experience, the new app features will let consumers browse products, find new items to buy and purchase everything from one location. Businesses will be able to create and add shopping catalogs to their Facebook pages for more selling power.
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"Today we’re introducing Facebook Shop, a new place to discover businesses and shop for products in the Facebook app. Facebook Shop makes it easy for people to find products from businesses they love, discover new ones and make purchases, all in one place," said Facebook.
"We just started testing this in the US and we launched a complementary shopping destination on Instagram in July, called Instagram Shop, where people can discover and buy products from creators and brands, all in one place."
Earlier this year Facebook unveiled a ‘Shops service’, which allows business to set up their own online stores on both Facebook and Instagram. However, the newly launched Shops is different entirely, according to Facebook; businesses get more control over their digital storefront and creating catalogs and collections is easier.
"We launched Shops in May, and in the coming weeks, we’re making it available to any eligible business and adding customization features, messaging and new insights to help businesses measure results. We’re also expanding checkout on Instagram to all US businesses and creators," Facebook added.
Meanwhile, US sellers will soon be able to start using the Checkout feature on Instagram. Businesses need to have Shops and use Facebook Commerce Manager or either Shopify or BigCommerce: two Facebook e-commerce partners. More are likely to be announced in due course.
In a bid to boost fortunes for beleaguered businesses as the pandemic rolls on, Facebook is waiving selling fees, usually based on transactions, for online outlets through to the end of the year.
Adding more usability and convenience to buying and selling online, Facebook has also hinted at a new messaging button and enhanced video tools. The idea is to allow businesses and their customers to connect more easily using the Messenger app or WhatsApp in a bid to emulate shopping in a physical store.
Customers will be able to look at products from within the live chat, share items with family and friends, and then proceed straight to the checkout. Tests are already underway with Facebook trying out the concept within Messenger and Instagram Direct.
Facebook has also been trialling a ‘Live Shopping’ feature for its Facebook and Instagram apps. The supplementary feature will enable businesses to showcase products and let staff and customers interact using Facebook Live video.
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