Facebook launches Shops service

Facebook is launching Shops, a free service aimed at making it easier for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram.

Businesses can choose the products they want to feature and customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase their brand.

People can find Facebook Shops via a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile, or discover them through stories or ads. However, for businesses outside the US - which don't yet have access to the in-app checkout service - buying products will have to be done on the business’ external website.

In the future, Facebook stated customers will be able to make purchases within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct. Users will already be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries and more.

"We’re also investing in features across our apps like Instagram Shop, live shopping and more that will be integrated with Facebook Shops to help customers discover products they’re interested in and make purchasing easier," read the statement.

"This summer, starting in the US, we’re introducing Instagram Shop, a new way to discover and buy products you love in Instagram Explore," it continued, adding that users can browse collections from @shop, filter by categories like beauty and home, with a dedicated shop tab soon to be found in the navigation bar.

"Soon, sellers, brands and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase," explained the statement, adding that this functionality is now being tested ahead of a wider roll-out in the coming months.

Facebook is also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses by connecting existing loyalty programs to social media accounts.

"We’re also working more closely with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to give small businesses the support they need," it added.

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