Facebook has introduced what it calls a new place to discover businesses and buy products on its app. On Tuesday (Aug. 25), Mark Zuckerberg’s social network announced the rollout of Facebook Shop, designed to make it easier for customers to find items from businesses they love, discover new ones and make purchases in one place. It also provides tools to help businesses sell online.
“We want to make shopping easier for people and empower anyone, from an entrepreneur to the largest brand, to use our apps to connect with customers and grow their business,” Facebook wrote.
Facebook first introduced the free platform in May. It was tested this spring and summer in the U.S. along with Instagram Shop, where people can discover and buy products from creators and brands all in one place, Facebook wrote. The feature allows companies to place product listings on their Facebook pages, Instagram profiles and stories, or in ads.
Previously, the social media company had allowed companies to list items on Instagram and Facebook. Now, Shops gives them a way to put their catalogs online and make them viewable throughout all of Facebook's various apps.
In the next few weeks, Shops will become available to eligible businesses. There are plans to add customization features, messaging and new ways for businesses to measure results, Facebook said. The company is also expanding checkout on Instagram to the nation’s businesses and creators.
The new features aim to give businesses more control over the look of their digital stores and to make it easier to create new collections, Facebook said. Specific offerings include new design layouts, previews of collections as they are created and a commerce manager to help measure results.
Facebook also announced that eligible sellers in the U.S. will soon be able to use checkout on Instagram to make purchases in a few taps.
Fees for businesses will be waived through the end of the year to reduce the cost of doing business online.
Also in May, Facebook helped conduct a survey of 86,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The study revealed that 33 percent of SMBs have failed since the onset of the pandemic, while another 11 percent expect to fail by the end of August if COVID-19 continues. The survey also found that most of the closed businesses don’t know how they will reopen and don’t expect to rehire furloughed staff.
“The numbers are devastating,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s CEO, told Bloomberg. “That’s because they think they can’t, it’s not that they don’t want to.”