Social media giant Facebook is all set to open ‘Shops’, a platform to help businesses struggling to survive the Covid-19 pandemic. Facebook said that the platform will help businesses to open their online stores on the social media platform and Instagram.
The ‘Facebook Shops’ will let small businesses display and sell their products, said chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg. The company said that merchants will also have the option to customise the look of the shop and product display.
During a press briefing on the new product, Facebook director of product management George Lee said the primary focus is to ensure small and medium-size businesses have presences online and survive the current situation.
In the lockdown period, retail businesses have been impacted severely. Instagram Shopping product lead Layla Amjadi hopes that the new product launched by Facebook will help businesses not only survive but thrive during coming months and adapt to new consumer behaviour.
Besides the Facebook Shops platform, the social media giant also has a Facebook Marketplace platform which helps businesses sell goods. But the marketplace is only available at the business pages of Facebook or Instagram.
Companies can redirect users through advertisements to their shops on Facebook and Instagram. Businesses can also redirect users to their own websites to complete the sale there. Meanwhile, companies which want to use Facebook checkout service will have to pay a nominal transaction fee. “This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them,” Facebook said.
Facebook is expecting that 160 Mn businesses which are already using the social media’s platform to promote their products or services will join the ‘Shop’ platform.
Facebook’s New Monetisation Plans
As of now, the platform is launched in the US while the company might be planning to expand it in other geographies as well. The platform is expected to turn into a new gold mining venture for Facebook as the company will be earning through advertising as well as transactional fees.
Facebook is planning to launch the Shops to its Messenger and WhatsApp platform to earn more while helping businesses to sell their products. The social media giant is also looking to sell products via advertisements on live video broadcasts. “People have been using live video on our apps to showcase products for years, from shoe stores announcing new sneakers to beauty influencers trying on different lipsticks. Now, we’re making it easier to shop for products in real-time,” Facebook said.
Amid the ongoing lockdown, Facebook has lost many of its deep-pocketed investors as many have pulled out their campaigns to mitigate the losses incurred from the pandemic. As a result, Facebook’s revenue took a hit in the first quarter of 2020. However, the company might be eying massive revenue plans with the Shops platform.
Besides Facebook, tech giant Google is also making a significant change to help local brick-and-mortar stores create a virtual inventory and connect with consumers online.
The pilot being tested in Google Shopping platform will let these stores create a virtual inventory and connect with consumers online. Google believes that the move will help small and medium businesses adapt to changes in shopping behaviour easily. Meanwhile, Facebook’s WhatsApp is already running WhatsApp for Business application in many countries including India.
Facebook Shops and Google’s upcoming Shopping platform is yet to go live in India. But the advancements of these tech giants towards digitising small businesses has become a new area of interest for many.