Facebook Shops is tech giant's new online marketplace

Shopify partners with Facebook to help more businesses sell online | Venture

Social commerce is about to get a whole lot more social, with Facebook announcing the launch of its business-to-consumer marketplace offering Facebook Shops.

Buyers will be able to message directly with businesses using Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram, all integrated as they are all Facebook properties.

Currently, Facebook only allows people to sell their personal items through Marketplace, so launching Facebook Shops could give it a bigger slice of business' ecommerce activity, potentially posing a threat to other ecommerce players.

The move comes as Facebook expands its core business to accommodate those affected by the pandemic.

Customers in the U.S. will be able to check out within Facebook but this feature is yet to be rolled out in Australia and New Zealand.

The launch of Shops is directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook will roll out Shops to 160 million small businesses from May 20, and said it will be more widely available in the coming months. "Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand".

A loyalty programme of sorts could be on the cards too - the company said it is looking into how customers can earn rewards and loyalty points that can be linked to their Facebook accounts.

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The clearest competitive advantage is price.

Aside from these, you can also have Live Shopping features, Loyalty Programs ad so much more.

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. "Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple". "And in the future, you'll be able to view a business' shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct". One of the highlights of the feature is that you simply need to set up one storefront - via Facebook.

Facebook Shops will start off with Facebook and Instagram.

The Facebook and Instagram Shops are being rolled out in the U.S. first, with the capabilities set to be introduced to other markets in the coming months. For example, Shopify said, "Facebook Shops allows Shopify merchants to get control over customization and merchandising for their storefronts inside Facebook and Instagram, while managing their products, inventory, orders, and fulfillment directly from within Shopify".

Customers will find a company's Shop page on their Facebook and Instagram profiles, as well as in stories and promoted ads.

Users will be able to use the save process to look back at a product they want to buy later.

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