Facebook moves further into ecommerce with Facebook Shops

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 20 May 2020

Facebook is making it easier for businesses to sell their products across its platforms with the roll out of Facebook Shops.

The new feature allows businesses to set up a single store across Facebook and Instagram for free. Businesses that have the checkout feature enabled will be able to finalise transactions within the app, and Facebook says it will extend the new ecommerce tool to allow users to view a business’ shop and make a purchase within WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct.

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.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg led the announcement of Facebook Shops, which comes as many stores have had to move online due to the pandemic lockdowns around the globe.

“At Facebook serving small businesses is our business,” Zuckerberg says.

“Our mission is about giving individuals the power to bring people closer together. We do that socially by giving people a voice, then we do that economically by empowering individuals, entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“The vast majority of our advertisers are small businesses, they make up the biggest part of our revenue, so we’re uniquely positioned to be a champion for small businesses and what helps them grow and what keeps them healthy.”

Zuckerberg says there are more than 160 million small businesses around the world that use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Setting up an ecommerce platform could boost advertising revenue for Facebook from these businesses looking to reach new customers across its ecosystem.

Facebook Shops also comes as the tech giant develops the digital currency Libra which could be used for in-app purchases.

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