Facebook and Instagram Launch Shops for Businesses
Facebook and Instagram have launched a new Shop feature, allowing consumers to make purchases directly on businesses' Facebook pages or Instagram profiles, reports TechCrunch. The social network's (Facebook own Instagram) new tools go further than its previous support of e-commerce, enabling businesses to create a full-fledged Facebook Shop. The release of the new feature is a global test, with nearly 1 million businesses already signed up. Those businesses will be able to create a Facebook Shop for free — they just upload their catalog, choose the products they want to feature, then customize it with a cover image and accent colors. Visitors can then browse, save and order products.
Facebook’s Vice President of Ads Dan Levy described this as a “build once and render anywhere” solution. What will differ is how consumers discover the shops, whether it’s via the Facebook Marketplace or a product tagged in a photo on Instagram. The company also plans to launch another experience this summer called Instagram Shop, and there will also be ways for merchants to feature and link to products in their live videos from their Facebook Stores, as well as for consumers to connect loyalty programs to their Facebook accounts.
Total Retail's Take: As social commerce continues to grow, it only makes sense that platforms would move to make the purchasing experience more seamless. It stands to reason that by adding more frictionless shopping features, consumers will spend more time in the app discovering and purchasing from brands. Facebook and Instagram are also creating additional advertising opportunities as they move toward being an e-commerce marketplace.
Instagram had already moved in this direction in 2019 when it launched Instagram Checkout, and Facebook has recently placed more emphasis on its Marketplace to compete with eBay and other online re-sale businesses. It appears that Facebook is continuing to innovate in the space with its launch of Shops. However, Joe Farrell, vice president and managing director at PFS, points out that brands selling on social platforms for the first time "can only be successful on this platform if they look beyond the point of purchase" and shouldn't rely solely on new social shopping features to win over customers. "The real test for brands competing online is the journey that follows," Farrell told Total Retail. "The distribution, delivery and after-sales service can make a lasting impression on customers, and will be the key to social commerce success."
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.