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Facebook already has a ‘Marketplace‘ and lets businesses tag products in their posts. The social media giant, however, is making an even bigger push into online shopping with the launch of Facebook Shops today. It enables businesses to turn their Facebook or Instagram page into shopfronts. Users can then hop in, browse the product catalog, and buy the goods they like without ever leaving any of the social apps.

In its official blog post, Facebook Shops is being billed as an essential feature for small businesses. They’ve been hit the hardest due to the COVID-19 lockdown. “Our goal is to make shopping seamless and empower anyone from a small business owner to a global brand to use our apps to connect with customers,” says Facebook.

Why makes Facebook Shops so useful? One of the highlights of the feature is that you simply need to set up one storefront – via Facebook. The said store will then become accessible to users on your Instagram profile as well. It’s just the first step of the whole gameplan though.

Instagram Shops will be introduced in the US later this summer. A dedicated ‘Shops’ tab will show up at the bottom, enabling a one-stop solution to browse and purchase goods. It will replace the existing ‘Activity’ tab, which could integrate into the Profile tab in the future. Facebook is making an aggressive push into online shopping.

Even Instagram Live will get a live shopping feature in the coming months. Influencers will be able to pin products, possibly in partnership with brands, in their live streams. This will make it easy to draw the viewer’s attention and convert leads into a purchase. Imagine Kylie Jenner going live with here latest nail paint lineup. She simply needs to pin a product link in the Instagram Live and the stock will be off the shelf in minutes – especially since Facebook integrates a checkout feature in its apps. This feature will be available to Facebook Live users as well.

Facebook Shops will start off with Facebook and Instagram. The company, however, is planning to bring it to WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram Direct in the near future. Yeah, you will be able to browse products and shop it from within a chat window very soon. The blog post further says that “you’ll be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries, and more.”

On a side note, Reliance JioMart could be planning to benefit from the Facebook Shops feature in the coming months. It will debut a storefront on WhatsApp, connecting your local kirana shops to you, via the messaging app. A pilot program for JioMart is already live in Mumbai. 

The Facebook Shops feature is rolling out to businesses today. It will be more widely available to all users in the coming weeks, so get your brand assets ready and open shop once the feature is available for you.

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