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Facebook Shops looks to help small businesses during global lockdown

(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook has announced a new free marketplace aimed at helping brick and mortar stores to earn and save some money due to the coronavirus-led lockdown.

According to the company, Facebook Shops has been in development for over six months and can provide a digital window for businesses to sell their products via multiple platforms owned by the company. This includes the business's Facebook page, stories, Messenger, WhatsApp chats and Instagram Directs.

While the company has kept the service free for now, Facebook Shops could soon add millions of small and medium-sized business to start selling their products online, boosting Facebook’s ad revenue.

Facebook Shops

While announcing the new feature, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I think this particularly important right now because so many small businesses are moving online to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19. As people are being told to stay home, physical storefronts are having a hard time staying open and millions of people are losing their jobs.”

Facebook Shops, which is basically a customizable online storefront, will be available on the Instagram profile or the Facebook page of the business. Facebook will automatically identify and tag products in the feed making it easier for the users to purchase products. 

As of now, users will be able to browse through the offerings and will have to head to the company’s website to complete the transaction. Facebook is also testing an invite-only platform called Checkout which will let users complete the purchase without even needing to leave the platform. Facebook also revealed that it is working on creating a loyalty program to help small businesses build a loyal user base.

Since it will let businesses use all the available Facebook platforms to display and sell their products, Zuckerberg said, “It’s one simple and consistent experience across this family of apps, which means it is easier for people.” Post the sale is completed on either Facebook or Instagram, customers can reach out to businesses via Messenger or WhatsApp, a feature already being used by many firms.

Via: CNBC