Facebook to give Amazon a run for its money with ‘Facebook Shops’

indica News Bureau-

Introducing ‘Shops’, social media giant Facebook in Tuesday reached out to struggling businesses during the pandemic to equip them with tools to run their businesses on the social media platform and Instagram. In near future, Facebook also plans to weave in the online business into Messenger and WhatsApp chat applications.

Facebook Inc is launching Facebook Shops, a service that will allow small businesses to display and sell their products on the social network’s platforms, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday.

In a Facebook Live session on Tuesday, May 19, Zuckerberg described this as a way to help businesses suffering in the wake of COVID-19, though he acknowledged it will not “undo all the economic damage.”

Tech Crunch reported that while that the platform while being born during the pandemic will remain in function and be useful even after the crisis is over. “I do think we’re going to continue living more of our lives online and doing more business online,” Zuckerberg said.

According to the California-based internet giant, merchants can easily set up shops on Facebook and Instagram, customize looks and display products.

“The primary focus is to ensure small and medium size businesses have presences online and survive the current situation,” Facebook director of product management George Lee said during a press briefing on the new product.

Retail has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has closed real-world shops, disrupted supply chains, and left more than 36 million Americans jobless.

“We really hope that our commerce solutions help businesses not only survive but thrive during coming months, and adapt to new consumer behavior,” said Instagram Shopping product lead Layla Amjadi, reported Live Mint.

Both Facebook and Instagram  already supported a degree of e-commerce — for example, Facebook has its Marketplace and will likely make a bigger push through its Libra cryptocurrency initiative, while Instagram allows users to buy products featured in posts and ads. But the company’s new tools go further, enabling businesses to create a full-fledged Facebook Shop, reported TechCrunch.

Businesses have an option to buy Facebook ads to direct customers to their online shops. Sales can be consummated at websites off the social network.Merchants in the US can use a Facebook checkout service to handle transactions, paying a nominal fee, according to Lee.

“This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them,” Facebook said in a blog post.

Shops will roll out in coming months to some 160 million businesses that already use the social network.

Being in the midst of e-commerce comes with potential for money-making features in the future, and keeps people engaged with a Facebook platform that earns money from online ads.

Facebook is also working on ways to sell products hawked during live video broadcasts, a popular form of content at the social network.

“People have been using live video on our apps to showcase products for years, from shoe stores announcing new sneakers to beauty influencers trying on different lipsticks,” Facebook said. “Now, we’re making it easier to shop for products in real time.”

Facebook has seen a jump in usage as people hunkered down at home turn to the social network to stay connected while keeping their distance from one another. People already find FB as their ‘go-to’ source of information about restaurants, shops, malls etc and look up pages of many people using it as a tool to expand business. The new Facebook Shops will make it easier for all kinds of businesses to grow their business online.