Facebook introduces new Shops feature

Whether it’s tag sale groups on Facebook or Instagram’s handy shopping feature, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg understands there’s a benefit to connecting users to the brands and products they love. That’s why it should come as no surprise Instagram and Facebook are introducing Shops, which allow users to browse and purchase products directly from a business’ Facebook or Instagram profile.

In its announcement, Facebook said, “Right now many small businesses are struggling, and with stores closing, more are looking to bring their business online. 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.”

While Facebook and Instagram already support e-commerce features, the all-new Shops tool makes it easier for brands to choose the products they want to feature in their shops and customize the look and feel to fit their unique brand.

“Facebook Shops are free and easy to create. When you set up your shop, it will appear on your Facebook and Instagram accounts to start and soon on Messenger and WhatsApp too,” Zuckerberg shared in a recent status update. “Shops are native and fast, which means no more app-switching to a slow mobile web browser where you have to reenter your credit card when you tap on an interesting product you see in feeds.”

Facebook is currently testing features to allow businesses to connect loyalty programs to their shops. Shoppers would be able to earn points and track them directly from their Facebook profiles. The social media giant is also exploring ways to help businesses launch such programs, recognizing that loyalty programs are valuable tools for generating business and retaining customers.

According to its announcement, Facebook has also forged partnerships with Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics, all in the name of giving small businesses the support to take full advantage of the new Shops feature.

While Facebook Shops is available beginning today, Instagram users must hang tight until this summer.