Yesterday Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of Shops – a service that will allow businesses to display and sell products on the social media network.
At launch Shops will be integrated across Facebook and Instagram meaning a shop owner can manage his or her inventory on both social media platforms from one place. The shopping experience will also be integrated with another of Facebook’s applications -WhatsApp. Users will be able to chat to businesses they interact with on Shops via WhatsApp.
For potential business owners – Shops will be free to access with Zuckerberg stressing that the business opportunity for them is still primarily ads:
Our business model here is ads. Rather than charge businesses for Shops, we know that Shops are valuable for businesses. They’re going to in general bid more for ads and we’ll eventually make money that way.Mark Zuckerberg
During the announcement Zuckerberg explained that the launch of this feature was pushed forward because of COVID-19. Facebook felt that the feature could make a difference for small businesses during these trying times:
Obviously, given the current situation, we have accelerated a lot of our efforts. We’re in a unique position to be able to contribute to the survival of a bunch of these businesses.
Given that Facebook has been working on WhatsApp pay for over 2 years now -the launch of Shops is not too surprising and seemed more like a matter of when and not if.
WhatsApp has been earmarked to receive Shops at some point. Given that Facebook has been trying to create a seamless experience between Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram this too is not entirely surprising.
Eventually, the company plans to let you browse store catalogs and make purchases directly from chat windows. It also plans to enable shopping from live streams, allowing brands and creators to tag items from their Facebook catalogs so that they appear on the bottom of live videos.
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