Facebook launches online shopping feature

Date : 21 May 2020

Rachel Sibson

Retail Analyst

Facebook has launched a new feature on Facebook and Instagram, Facebook Shops, to help small businesses sell online.

Facebook Shops

The new feature is available for businesses to set up an online store for customers to access on both social media platforms. It is free for businesses to create a store, and they are able to choose their own featured products and customise the look and feel of the shop. Facebook also plans to roll out a live shopping feature on both apps in the coming months.

The stores appear on Facebook business pages, Instagram profiles, or shoppers can find them through stories or ads. Shoppers are able to save products and place orders through the business’ website or without leaving the app through a new checkout feature. Businesses can be messaged through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct for questions, support, and to track deliveries.

The roll out of Facebook Shops was brought forward due to stores closing because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Source: Facebook

Moving into retail

We’re seeing social platforms become more transactional. This will help increase dwell time and also help compete with ecosystem retailers such as Amazon. In order to retain their ad revenues they need to help shoppers discover and buy products.

In April, Facebook also invested US$5.7bn for a 9.99% stake in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms. Facebook’s investment may connect WhatsApp with JioMart, potentially allowing users to find local stores around them on WhatsApp, connect with store operators and place orders from within the instant messaging service.

Looking for more insight?

Retail Analysis subscribers can read our report on The social commerce opportunity to learn how social platforms can be used to generate online sales.