Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is making it easier for small businesses to sell products on its platforms, announcing the launch of Facebook Shops.
In a Facebook post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said small businesses will be able to set up shops to sell directly in-app through Facebook and Instagram.
"I think this is particularly important right now because so many small businesses are moving online to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19," wrote Zuckerberg in the post. "As people are being told to stay home, physical storefronts are having a hard time staying open and millions of people are losing their jobs." By launching Facebook Shops, Zuckerberg said the company hopes to alleviate some of the pressures small businesses are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also could present a new way for the tech stock to make money via e-commerce.
Facebook Shops are free for small businesses to create, living on their existing Facebook and Instagram accounts. Zuckerberg said the feature will soon be rolled out on Messenger and WhatsApp as well. To help promote the shops, Facebook is building a dedicated shopping tab on Instagram and a destination inside Explore where users can search for and buy products. Facebook will add the ability to shop in real-time soon, said Zuckerberg.
Relying on Facebook's artificial intelligence and augmented reality technology, Zuckerberg said in the near future Facebook will tag products in feeds so users can click through to easily purchase the things they see and covet. Facebook is working with Shopify, Bigcommerce, and other third-party services to power Facebook Shops and enable small businesses to access an ecosystem of tools to manage orders, payments, and shipments.