Facebook and Instagram Now Allow Business Profiles to Set Up Digital Storefronts
You can now browse and buy products directly from business profiles on Facebook and Instagram. Both platforms previously allowed a certain level of e-commerce options but are now kicking things into the next gear with their new range of tools that allow businesses to set full-fledged shops on the digital platforms.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic, people have become more prone to spending long hours on social media just to get a glimpse of what is going on on the outside. This has made it an ideal time to turn it into a full-fledged shopping site where businesses can easily advertise their products and people can share their purchases with their friends. This not only helps small businesses deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic but also gives people information on the timings and offerings of their favourite stores and restaurants.
In a Facebook Live session, Mark Zuckerberg said that while this measure won’t undo all the economic damage due to the pandemic, it is an attempt to help businesses out in whatever small way possible. He further added, “I do think we’re going to continue living more of our lives online and doing more business online.”
Instagram VP, Vishal Shah, said that they are testing the new tools on a global scale with around a million businesses already signed up. These businesses get to set up their Facebook Shop for free. All they need to do is upload their catalogue, choose the featured products, and customize it with a cover image and their desired accent colours. Users then get to browse, save and order products from the shop.
While Facebook will charge a small commission on each purchase, the real driving force for the monetisation will be the advertising. Shops can also opt to be featured in these ads and in stories.
The shops themselves will remain consistent across both Instagram and Facebook but how the users discover them will vary with the platform, with Facebook offering its Marketplace and Instagram tagging products in photos. A significant advantage of social media as an online marketplace is that you can directly communicate with the seller through the respective messenger apps.
The company’s future plans include launching a new experience called Instagram Shop where they will create a whole section dedicated to shopping which you can jump to from the app’s main navigation tab. They also propose to create a loyalty program that will be linked to your Facebook account so repeat customers get added benefits.
Facebook will be partnering up with third-party platforms like Shopify, Channel Advisor, Feednomics, Woo, BigCommerce, Tienda Nube, Cafe24 and CedCommerce in order to enable merchants to manage their Facebook Shops. This will allow merchants to have access to a greater degree of customisation and merchandising for their storefronts.