Facebook rolls out new platform to help small businesses thrive online

Shopify partners with Facebook to help more businesses sell online | Venture

Amid the pandemic, Facebook is making a push into e-commerce with an initiative named Facebook Shops.

You can browse the full store collection, save products you're interested in, and place an order - either on the business' website or the Facebook or Instagram apps.

The move comes as Facebook expands its core business to accommodate those affected by the pandemic. This feature will be available to Facebook Live users as well. But that may not be moving the needle much for artists who weren't already live streaming.

In a Facebook Live session today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg described this as a way to help businesses suffering in the wake of COVID-19, though he acknowledged it will not "undo all the economic damage".

"The vast majority of our advertisers are small businesses, they make up the biggest part of our revenue, so we're uniquely positioned to be a champion for small businesses and what helps them grow and what keeps them healthy".

Facebook will roll out Shops to 160 million small businesses from May 20, and said it will be more widely available in the coming months.

The platform enables businesses to choose the products they want to feature, and customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that convey their brand ethos.

Facebook is also testing ways of linking existing loyalty programs to customer's profiles.

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The clearest competitive advantage is price.

Meanwhile, Instagram's vice president of product Vishal Shah told me this is a big, global test of the feature, with almost 1 million businesses already signed up.

According to the company, Facebook Shops has been in development for over six months and can provide a digital window for businesses to sell their products via multiple platforms owned by the company.

Facebook has announced a new free marketplace aimed at helping brick and mortar stores to earn and save some money due to the coronavirus-led lockdown.

Facebook just announced Facebook Shops, a new functionality that It will allow stores to sell their products through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

"Facebook has always been about connecting you to what you love", said the company in a statement. 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".

Later this year, the Instagram navigation bar will also be updated to include a shop tab to allow customers to access the shop in one tap.

Facebook's strategy is to build a "strong open ecosystem" of business tools, Zuckerberg said. The company did not comment on when Shops will be launched in India, its largest market for products like Facebook and WhatsApp.

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