As retail sales plunge to 19% in April, a new Shops feature has been rolled out on Facebook to enable businesses to reconnect with their customers – particularly important during these times of crisis.
What has been announced?
Facebook has recently introduced Shops, which will give small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to sell on Facebook with no fees.
This will enable their audience to browse, save and order products through their Facebook and Instagram pages. Businesses simply need to upload their catalogue, which can then be customised with a cover image and brand colours.
This new service is free to use, and Facebook will only collect a small fee from businesses that use the checkout feature. Ultimately, Facebook will be driving more ads through the platform, which will be the only profitable aspect of this service.
Why has this feature been released?
Facebook has recognised that some brands and small businesses are struggling during the pandemic and have released this new feature earlier than originally planned to help these smaller businesses survive.
With many businesses making the move online as a result of physical stores closing, Facebook said: “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.”
How can this new feature help businesses?
Facebook Shops is expected to compete with the likes of Amazon and eBay, due to the vast number of users that the platform can channel to these storefronts.
The nature of Facebook also allows brands to connect with their customers on a more personal level, improving the customer experience and likelihood to make a purchase.
These storefronts will benefit from Facebook’s messenger capabilities such as WhatsApp, Instagram Direct and Messenger, where customers can start conversations directly with the business.
This new venture could prove crucial for small or local businesses who are yet to have the right infrastructure in place; through other e-commerce sites such as Shopify, Facebook can provide support with the logistics, payments and metrics involved.